Recipe: All-American Apple Pie


Mom made apple pie all the time when I was little. It was my brother Damien’s choice for “birthday cake” several years in a row.

He was born in October: it just made sense.

Mom taught us how to cut the butter into the flour, to make a flaky pie crust, and she taught us how to add cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor it. (In her honor, I’ve labeled my cinnamon jar “sin,” just as she did then)


Then I moved to Oklahoma, as far from New England’s familiar orchards as I could get.

Every year about this time I start missing home – I start hungering for the bright, fall taste of apple pie.

Of home.


Use any firm baking apples you’d like.  This time I used pink lady, though many different varieties will do, as long as they are firm. Check with your grocer and see what crop they think would suit you well.

While many insist on adding at least half granny smith, I prefer my pie granny-free.

In the end, I don’t think it matters. Not as long as you end up with a big bite of ‘delicious.’



For the pie dough:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 sticks cold butter, cubed
ice water, as needed

For the apple filling:

4 lbs firm, baking apples like Pink Lady
zest and juice of one lemon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbsp cornstarch (optional, for thickening)

egg white, beaten, for wash


Make the pie dough by pulsing together the flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor (or by using a pastry cutter, or two knives as my mom taught me). When the butter is pea-sized, drizzle in ice water while pulsing, until it comes together into a dough.


Pat into two discs, one a little larger than the other, and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the apples into a large bowl. Drizzle with the lemon juice and zest, then toss with the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch.


Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the pie dough to be a couple of inches wider than your baking dish. I like to roll the dough between two sheets of parchment paper so I don’t have to worry about sticking or any real mess. Place the first round of dough on the bottom of the pie dish, fill with apples, the top with the second rolled out dough.

Note: You can cut things out of the top of the dough for vent holes, or you can just use a knife.

Crimp the edges to seal, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar.


Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325F and bake another 20-30 minutes.

Let cool at least 2 hours before slicing. This gives the pie time to set up a little.

Oh, but when you do slice it?


Delicious… especially with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream (Thanks, Tina!)




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  1. aunty eileen says:

    Yum… warm apple pie or blueberry pie topped with vanilla ice cream, would be my favorite treat/desert. 99% of the time when I would make an apple pie, I would use wonderful firm Cortland apples. If I couldn’t get firm Cortland, I would use wonderful Granny Smith apples. I am not sure if it is still easy to find great Cortland apples.

  2. Janet Goodell says:

    One of my sophomores brought an apple to me yesterday (yes, that still happens). It was from a tree on the side of school. I took it to my mom who has been baking pies for over 70 years. She agreed it was perfectly ripe and ready and yummy. Her. own are not ready yet and this had worried me. Thanks to Jake, I will be picking apples at lunchtime today. Should I share a piece of pie on Monday?

  3. Apple Pie has always been my choice for my Birthday cake (including yesterday’s birthday!) My Grandmother used to make me one every year along with one my Mom made.

  4. Celeste Childress says:

    Ah – there is nothing in the world that says, “Fall” like a good crisp apple, and my favorite is Jonathan. Granny Smith is good, but Jonathan is better – much better. The season is short and you may have to look for them, but it is so “worth it.”

    • aunty eileen says:

      When we went apple picking and I was looking for the Cortland apple tree section, my daughter in-law brought me to Macoun apple tree…. really great tasting and very crisp and juicy Macoun apples are a cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black varieties. They are my new favorite now. The only problem is, their season is shorter than many of the other varieties… but that is ok, then I have the Cortland. Of course, Red Delicious are one of my favorite too. But, not for baking. We have quite a few apple and vegetable farms within a ten mile radius where we live.

  5. That is a beautiful pie! It also looks like a very festive gathering. I am curious. . .how did you happen to move to Oklahoma from New England? Do I have to wait for your book to find out. . .many questions?!

  6. A pie making tip that I picked up a few Thanksgivings ago was to add a bit of the dominant spice from your filling (cinnamon or ginger or what have you) to the pie crust when you’re mixing the dry ingredients. You can’t really taste the spice as a distinct flavor, but it just pulls everything together. I like to add powdered ginger to my crust for apple pie, because I always add cranberries and some candied ginger to my filling to make it more festive (and to add a bit of color to the finished pie).

  7. Brian Schwartz says:

    An appropriate dish because of the phrase “as American as apple pie.” I wondered how old that phrase was, I’ve heard it all my life. One website says it originated in the 1960s. Skeptical, I used Google book search and found it used in a magazine published in April of 1920.

  8. I love apple pie. But unfortunately here in Australia we don’t eat much

  9. …you used more than twice the amount of sugar – surprised at that…and never in the crust.

    The reason for “cutting in ” the butter is to minimize handling the dough so gluten is kept at bay (gluten makes for tough crusts [but great bread]).

    Also, did u roll out on MARBLE (vs wood) to keep the dough on the chill and the butter specks solid…then you would not have to worry about the dough sticking when rolling out…I keep a special marble for “pastries”

    Just a few little tricks of the trade…definitely a tart apple is best…

    Really came out beautiful and looks delicious, Sash.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Yes, you do love a lemony pie. This one still seems tart enough to me. I don’t have a marble surface, though that would be a plus in Oklahoma.

  10. Oh my goodness! Your baby picture is so cute- your daughter looks just like you!

    I am actually not much of an apple pie fan, but this looks really good.

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