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This classic apple pie recipe is hands down, one of my favorites. It’s sweet, tart and delicious and bakes in 1 hour. There are no fancy ingredients or complicated steps. It’s just a classic apple pie that’s loaded with spiced apples. I’ve been making this pie for years without a recipe. The only way to really mess up this pie is by trying to do too much. That’s why I keep this apple pie recipe classic by using only basic ingredients.
What kind of apples should you use for apple pie?
There are many types of apples you can use for this classic apple pie recipe, it just depends on your taste. Firm apples that hold their shape are popular for baking. Is it weird that I like soft apples in my pie though? You’ll also want to select an apple based on the flavor and texture that you’re looking for. Here are my favorite apples for making apple pie:
- Cortland apples are juicy with a sweet, tart taste. They’re not as firm as some other apple varieties, but I really enjoy their texture when baked. They’re soft but not mushy, if that makes sense. I don’t like snacking on them (too soft), but I love them in pie!
- Granny Smith seems to be everyone’s favorite baking apple, for me it comes second to Cortland. It has a firm texture, so it bakes well without becoming too soft. I love the crisp, tart taste of Granny Smith. Using Granny Smith will result in a pie that’s more on the tart side.
- Honeycrisp apples are another one my favorite baking apples. They’re a little firm, even when baked but still juicy and delicious.
- Golden Delicious– a very sweet but firm, yellow apple. I’ve never made pie with Golden Delicious apples, but I’ve heard amazing things about this delicious variety. I actually can’t wait to try these out!
Truthfully, I’m not even sure what type of apples are shown in these photos! The trees weren’t marked at the orchard that we went to! I’m guessing they were McIntosh (not my top choice but also not a horrible choice) because of how soft they were. Feel free to either select an apple from the list above, or experiment with your own choice of apples! Don’t sweat it if you have to use what you have on hand!
Store bought vs. home-made crust:
You know I’m all about shameless self-promotion. Of course I’m going to point you in the direction of my tender, flaky, butter and shortening pie crust. Honestly, though it’s your choice. Using a store-bought crust is by no means the end of the world! There are a lot of store-bought pie crusts that taste good!
I love a good homemade pie crust, but if you just don’t have the motivation or time, I get it! In my early baking days, I couldn’t be bothered with making my crust from scratch. These days I usually make my own but I will use a store-bought pie crust in a pinch.
A few tips before we get started:
- Drain and cook the liquid. I promised there wouldn’t be any complicated steps and I stand by that. Although not complicated, it’s still an extra step but it’s worth it. Let the apples sit for about 30 minutes to an hour after you toss them in sugar. Drain and reserve the liquid. Cook the liquid until it’s thick and reduced to about ½ a cup. This takes a good 10-15 minutes and prevents a runny filling.
- Use a 9 inch glass baking dish, anything larger and you’ll need to adjust the recipe’s measurements.
- Keep your pie crust cold at all times. Even if you are using a store-bought crust, you want to keep your pie dough cold. I recommend keeping the dough in the refrigerator until you need to take it out. It makes it easier to work with.
- Use egg wash and watch that crust! Pies should not be pale in color. Brush the pie with eggwash before it goes in the oven. I don’t cover my pie until the very end of baking (sometimes not at all). Watch the color as you’re baking and cover the pie with foil once it’s reached the color that you desire.
- Bake the pie on a baking sheet. It’s pretty much guaranteed that some amount of liquid is going to seep from your pie. I suggest baking your pie on a baking sheet to catch any spills. Use a silicone baking mat so that the pie doesn’t slide around on the baking sheet.
- Let your pie cool entirely. I get that you want your pie now and that everyone loves warm pie. It is important for your pie to set though before you slice it. I recommend letting your pie cool on a cooling rack for at least 2-4 hours, so it isn’t runny. You can always heat your pie up later after it’s set.
- Turbinado sugar is raw sugar and it’s totally optional. It just gives the pie crust a little added texture and sweetness. I use it mainly for looks.
A list of ingredients for this classic apple pie recipe:
- A lot of apples! I provided some recommendations on which varieties to use above. Don’t be surprised that this recipe calls for a LOT of apples. I usually use around 7-10 apples depending on the size. You can adjust this number based on the size apple that you’re using. I like to cut my apples into ¼-inch thick slices and pile them high!
- Sugar – I use a mix of granulated and dark brown sugar. You can use light or dark brown sugar, it really doesn’t matter. The darker the sugar, the darker the filling.
- Vanilla extract- real is better than imitation but use what you have.
- A couple tablespoons of flour – I toss the drained apples in 2 tablespoons of flour. This will help the filling thicken as it cooks.
- Spices and seasonings: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and salt.
- A few tablespoons of cubed butter. Butter enhances the texture and flavor of the pie filling.
- Pie crust– you’ll need a double pie crust that’s large enough for a 9-inch baking dish. You can use a homemade or store-bought pie crust.
Step 1: Prep the apples
The first part is the most laborious part for sure. Peel, core and slice your apples. I use a an apple slicer to do this step. Since the slicer that I have makes the apples slices pretty thick, I like to slice them down even thinner. ¼ of an inch in thickness is a good size. Beware that if your apples are large, an apple slicer may not work.
Toss the apples in salt, sugar and spices and let them sit for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer you let them sit, the more liquid will drain off. Drain and reserve the liquid and transfer it to a small saucepan. Add the butter and let the liquid cook for about 15 minutes. The liquid should be thick and reduced to about ½ a cup when it’s done cooking.
Toss the apples in ¼ of a cup of flour and set them aside.
Step 2: Roll out the dough and fill the pie
Roll out your bottom pie crust on a well floured surface and drape it over your 9-inch pie plate. Try to work quickly so that the dough doesn’t get warm or too soft. Fill the pie with the apples. The apples will be stacked high, that’s ok!
Pour the cooked liquid over the apples so that all the apples get coated evenly. The liquid will seep down on its own. There’s no need to mix the apples or touch them once you’ve poured the liquid over them.
Step 3: Cover the pie with the top crust
Ok, so you can make this part as simple or complicated as you choose. I was feeling ambitious when I shot these photos and did a lattice pie crust.
To do this lattice design, I cut the dough into about 8-10 1-inch strips. Lay 4-5 of the strips over the pie from top to bottom. The strips should have close to an inch of space between them and run parallel to each other. Fold back every other strip, and then lay a new strip running in a horizontal direction. Unfold the strips back to their original position, and then fold back the strips that are underneath the horizontal strip. Place a second horizontal strip across the pie and unfold the strips back to their original position again. Repeat this process until all there are no more strips and the lattice-design is complete.
If you’re totally confused by my directions, I can commit to updating this post with pictures of this process. In the meantime, head to Google, there are plenty of photos and videos that demonstrate how to do this! If you don’t wish to do a lattice top, just cover the pie with the top crust in tact. Make sure to vent cut a slit in the top-center of the pie to let the heat escape.
Trim the strips and any excess dough, but leave about a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang up over the ends of the strips. Use your thumb to push the edge of the dough between your other thumb and index finger. This will create this scalloped edge in the photo. Continue the scalloping along the perimeter of the pie plate.
If you’re not doing a lattice, fold the overhang under and use both thumbs and your index finger to crimp the edges of the pie. Don’t forget to vent your pie by cutting a slit in the top-center.
Step 4: Bake your apple pie
Make sure your oven is set to 350°F and brush the top and edges of your pie with egg-wash. Sprinkle turbinado (raw) sugar over the top of your pie, and let it sit in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
Bake the pie for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Because we’re not baking the pie at too high of a temperature, I don’t cover my pie to bake it. I also brush the crust with egg wash ma few times during the baking process to achieve a deep golden color. If you feel like your pie crust has reached your desired color before it’s done, cover it with foil at any time. I like to use glass pie plates so I can see the bottom and sides and make sure they’re browning as well.
Cooling the pie is the easiest, yet hardest step, if you know what I mean. It’s hard not to want to dive head-first into this beautiful-looking pie after smelling it bake for over an hour. It’s really important that you let your apple pie cool though. If you try to cut it before it’s set, it will be a leaky mess. I recommend 4 full hours of cooling time.
Step 5: Let the pie cool fully and serve
Let the pie cool for 4 full hours. Yes, 4. Anything less than this and you run the risk of having a leaky filling. Use a metal cooling rack and let the pie cool at room temperature.
When you slice the pie, some juices will run out, but there shouldn’t be a pool of liquid. Use a sharp knife so that the crust and the apples cut cleanly and remain in tact.
Serve this delicious, classic apple pie with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. Scarf it down at your earliest opportunity. Believe me, if there are other people around, it won’t last long!
Don’t forget to snap a few photos to show the world that you created this beauty! (Don’t forget the #crumbsnatched in the caption)! Doesn’t she almost look too pretty to eat?