Apple Pie: Crust Variations and the Best Filling

by horseradishsauce

This is my favorite apple pie recipe. I haven’t tried the cheddar crust yet, but hopefully next time I will make it. By the way, if you want to make the crust vegan, use crisco. I tried it with the only vegan margarine I could find (most of them use whey), and it came out…I don’t know how to describe it, but suffice to say the rest of us tried to convince the vegan to eat the “face pies” instead (the ones made with ingredients that came from things with faces, of course).

So here’s the crust recipe I like, a variation that’s supposedly awesome, the cheddar crust, and a delicious filling recipe I found somewhere online:

Isabelle’s Crust (stolen from Mamma, stolen from Grandmaman, stolen from Crisco)

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter/shortening
  • 3 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg

Doubled version:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups cold butter/shortening
  • 5 to 12 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1 egg

Combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until it’s crumbly. Toss with cold water until it’s doughy enough to roll.
Clean your counter, you nasty person. Now flour the surface and put the dough (formed into a ball) on the flour, and dust the top with flour. If you’ve got a rolling pin, flour that and roll out the crust. I used a bowl with a smooth bottom all through college and that worked fine. The palm of your hand will also work. Done? Excellent. Put it in the tin. Add the filling, then pull the extra bits of dough over the top of the filling. Prick some holes in the top of the crust. Beat the egg and brush it over the crust. If you didn’t beat the egg thoroughly, there will be the clumps of the albumen that will like to sink into the recesses of the pie. If you leave them there, they will bake into oddly chewy sections of dough, which I don’t like.

Supposedly the Best Pie Crust

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups shortening or butter, in chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar

Combine flour, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl whisk together the water, egg, and vinegar.
Cut butter into dough until large crumbs form.
Add egg mixture, stirring as little as possible until the dough starts to form a ball. Form dough into a ball while working it as little as possible. Dough may be somewhat sticky. Place on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Chill for at least an hour. Roll or use as normal. 1/4 of ball will make one crust – bottom or top.
(This dough is very soft. Roll on a well-floured surface and dust with flour as needed while rolling.)
If baking by itself for a no-bake pie, prick the crust all over – even on the sides – with a fork. This will allow the steam to release instead of it puffing up. Bake in a 350 oven for about 15 minutes, or until the crimped edges are turning golden. Cool compeltely if using a cold filling.

Cheddar Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup (6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 tablespoons water

Heat oven to 425F. Combine flour & salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle with water while mixing lightly with a fork; form into ball. Divide dough in half. Roll one part to 11″ circle on lightly floured surface. Place in 9″ pie plate. Add filling. Roll out remainder of dough to 11″ circle; place over apples. Seal edges of crust & flute. Cut slits in top of pastry. Bake at 425F, 35 minutes.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 6 large apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • probably about 4 tablespoons teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter — cut into bits
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Mix sugar, flour, and spices. Toss with apples to coat.
Roll half of dough into a round and fit into a 9″ pie pan.Fill shell with apple mixture. Dot top with butter. Roll remaining dough into a round large enough to cover top of apples. Place carefully over apple filling and crimp edges of crusts together. Make slits in top crust to vent. Mix teaspoon of sugar with dash of cinnamon. Brush top of crust with milk and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.
Note: even though you think the crust will burn by leaving it in that long, it shouldn’t. The apples will continue to cook and the crust will be the same as if you’d taken it out when it first turned golden. People always ask me whether I cooked the apples first before putting it in the crust :).

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2 Comments to “Apple Pie: Crust Variations and the Best Filling”

  1. Do you have a good recipe for pizza dough? I have an acceptable thick crust one that’s actually a foccacia recipe, but I’ve been using it when I make pizza to cut up and take to work, since it behaves itself beautifully in the microwave. but as a “bake, then eat immediately” dough it’s not so great, and most of the pizza-dough recipes I’ve tried lately have been just “ok.”

    Somewhere I’ve got a pizza dough recipe that uses vodka, supposedly to help the chemistry of the dough (the alcohol burns off, of course, and since it’s vodka it doesn’t leave much of a taste), but I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll let you know if I do …

  2. I did this crust again the other day — forgot how nice and flaky it is!
    I use my fingers to brush the egg on since it seems to work better at keeping the amount of egg down to a minimum and preventing it from pooling. I put in a little too much lemon, and 3 tablespoons was way too much cinnamon …

    this looks worth a shot sometime: Deep-Dish Caramel Apple Pie with Streusel Topping

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