The art of making an Old-Fashioned Apple Pie is so special to me. The aroma puts me right back in my Nan’s kitchen. I’ve modified her old-fashioned recipe which is really just an everyday pie.
As one of our many family traditions, we’ve always gone to an orchard to pick apples. I’ve passed this tradition on to my own children. Our family has always preferred orchards that are typically off the beaten path here in Northwest Indiana or Southwest Michigan.
I think of making apple pie as more of a “project.” It takes time to make and roll out the dough, peel and cut the apples, make the filling, assemble the pie, bake and then wait for it to cool—but so worth it! You can find all types of modern gadgets out there to speed up the prep time like apple peelers/slicers. Nan always peeled and cut her apples by hand with a small, old-fashioned wood-handled paring knife. I’ve tried all sorts of fancy apple gadgets over the years, but somehow cutting the apples by hand somehow makes me feel like she’s here in my kitchen today.
Bakers tips for Old-Fashioned Apple Pie:
Use a variety of apples! I use a mix of Jonagold, Jonathan and Granny Smith since they blend well together for a tart and sweet pie.
To save time, you can use a commercial apple peeler/corer/slicer. I’ve used the Pampered Chef version which is fast and simple to use, however it yields spiral, thin slices. If your looking for more diced, chunky filling, then use another method.
I bake my pies in vintage ceramic pie plates which conduct slow, even heat. You can usually find a vintage pie dish at your local antique store, however, there are several quality modern brands like LeCruset or Emile Henry.
apple pie spice:
Many recipes call for Apple Pie Spice which you can purchase, however, I make my own Apple Spice Blend, and sharing it with you. It’s so simple to make and has a variety of warm, bold spices. I start with a cinnamon as the base, and add a higher ratio of nutmeg, cardamom and allspice than typical recipes or conventional brands make.
how to avoid soggy bottom and tough crust:
Always dust your raw crust with a thickening agent (this can be cornstarch, tapioca starch or clear jel) and then brush with egg wash (1 egg+1 T. cream) prior to pouring in the filling. This prevents a soggy pie crust.
work quick/keep everything cold:
Dice the butter into small cubes and put into the freezer prior to making the pie dough. Chill water with some ice cubes before using. After you roll out the crust, place it in fridge to ensure crust from shrinking. Also place assembled pie in the fridge for about 15 minutes prior to baking, so it’s cold going into a hot oven.
Start with hot oven to keep shape of crust and then reduce oven temperature and cover with foil or pie protector to ensure filling is cooked through but that the crust doesn’t burn. Be sure to cut a few slits on the top or place an old fashioned pie bird in the middle which allows steam to escape. Watch to see when pie starts to bubble, then let it bake 5 more minutes.
It may be a long process, but so worth the wait to take that first bite topped with a scoop of all-natural vanilla bean ice cream.
For more pie recipes try our Apple Cranberry Pie
Old-Fashioned Apple Pie
- 2 c. unbleached flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 T. unsalted butter ice cold
- 1 T. white vinegar
- 1/3 c. ice cold water
- 8 c. apples peeled/cored/cut
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 2 T. clear jel or tapioca starch
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. Apple Spice Blend
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 T. unsalted butter small dice
- Place dry ingredients in food processor, add cold butter and pulse until crumbly. Pour into a separate bowl, add liquid (vinegar & water) and hand mix with pastry blender until just combined.
- Pour onto parchment paper and roll into (2) 8" round disks. Refrigerate 20 minutes. If making lattice top, take out one disk and cut into 1" strips or cut decorative shapes. Place decorative top back in fridge until ready to use.
- In a bowl mix together filling ingredients and set aside.
- Roll out pie dough on lightly floured surface about 1" larger than your pie plate. Place in pie pan and dust bottom of crust with thickening agent (clear jel or tapioca) and then brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg+1 T. water or cream)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Pour in filling, top with diced butter and place on the top pastry. Brush top pastry lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with course sanding sugar. Place a few slits in top crust or place pie bird in center to release steam. Place assembled pie in fridge for 15 minutes.
- Bake pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees, cover with foil or pie protector and bake an additional 45-50 minutes. Watch to see when pie starts to bubble, then let it bake 5 more minutes.