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Happy Thanksgiving: Christina’s Perfect Apple Pie

November 24, 2010

Hi All!

I love apple pie.

It is by far my favorite pie of all pies.  There is something comforting about the smell and taste of it.  Perhaps it is because it reminds me of my childhood.  My mom always made apple pie and all other types of apple desserts.  The smell brings me back to her kitchen, learning about baking at her loving side.

Sadly, I am highly allergic to apples in their raw form – in fact, my throat closes up if I ingest them and I even break out in hives if raw apple touches my skin.  The allergy has worsened over time, so much so that my children have learned to wash their hands and faces before coming near Mommy after eating apples.  My husband, Tim, acts as my sous chef when I need or want to make an apple dessert so that I don’t have to handle them, and this Thanksgiving is no different.

Here is another little known fact about me:  for a very long time, I was deathly afraid of any type of dough.  It intimidated me because it was so temperamental, and so for many years, I avoided making any kind of pie that required crust; if I did make one, I “cheated” and used refrigerated dough (my mother will kill me when she reads this)!

Finally, last fall, I decided to conquer my fear once and for all, inspired by an episode of “Good Eats” on the Food Network in which Alton Brown, one of my favorite chefs and science geeks, broke down this scary food for me.

Inspired, I took Alton’s recipe and tried it as is.  It was okay, in my book, but then again, I am very specific about my apple pie.  I like a flaky, buttery crust and a filling that is both sweet and tart with a good, thick consistency.  (Have you ever had a Kings supermarket apple pie?  If you have, then you have had the king of all apple pies, in my book.)  So I tried recipe after recipe, finding tons of variations on-line as well as in “Apple Pie Perfect” by Ken Haedrich.  My husband patiently peeled, cored, and sliced dozens of apples for me, consoling himself with the promise of endless taste testing.

Finally, I hit success.  The result was an apple pie that was all that I wanted and more, so this year I have decided to share my labor of love with you, devoted reader and friend.  It definitely takes practice and guts to make, and perhaps after it is all said and done, you might not like it because it doesn’t suit your tastes – apple pie is a very personal thing.  However, I challenge you to try it and then set out to tweak it to make it your own.

May you enjoy a wonderful, satisfying Thanksgiving, wherever you may go.  I am off to my parents’ house to share the holiday with them, my husband, and our three children.  I am thankful for them, for the rest of my extended family, my beloved friends, and for you, our faithful readers.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy baking!



Christina’s Perfect Apple Pie


– 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

– 1 tablespoon sugar

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt

– ½ teaspoon baking powder

– 1 ¾ cups (3 and ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces

– 2/3 cup ice-cold water

– 2 tablespoons sour cream

– 1 teaspoon vinegar

1.     In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

2.     Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients; replace the cover.  Pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut in the butter, leaving chunks the size of peas.  Remove the lid and fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting from the bottom of the bowl.

3.     Combine the water, sour cream, and vinegar in a separate bowl, and then add liquids all at once to the flour mixture.  Pulse 5 or 6 times; do not over mix.  The dough should be slightly crumbly.  Let dough rest in the refrigerator right in the food processor bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight.

4.     Divide dough into three portions (the finished dough should break, not stretch); shape into a ball, packing as you would a snowball.  Make one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be the bottom crust.  Flatten into a ¾-inch thick disks on a floured surface.  Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 hour before rolling out, or wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days.  (Note:  You can also freeze the dough up to 1 month, making sure to thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen.)


– 8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples – 2 of each of the following:

  • Braeburn
  • Gala
  • Golden Delicious
  • Honey Crisp
  • Granny Smith

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup more

– 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

– 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

– 1 ½ teaspoons apple pie spice

– 3 tablespoons flour

– ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

– 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


– Milk

– Granulated sugar

1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter the apple pie pan.  Set aside.

2.     Combine apples, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar.   Toss to coat apples, and then place in a colander over a bowl for 1 ½ hours to allow apples to drain most of their juices.  Once this is done, proceed!

3.     If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate at least an hour, until firm enough to roll.

4.     On a slightly floured surface (or on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, if you prefer – makes transferring easier!), roll the larger portion of pastry to 13 ½-inch circle with a floured rolling pin.  Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.  Center it and gently tuck the pastry into the buttered pan without stretching it.  Refrigerate the pan.

5.     While the crust chills, combine the remaining ¼ cup white granulated sugar, lime juice, apple pie spice, flour (3 tablespoons), and salt with the drained apples.  Toss well.

6.     In prepared pan, arrange apples in concentric circles, beginning at the edges and working toward the center, being sure to make a mound in the center (this will cook down, so don’t worry if it seems high); dot the filling with the 4 tablespoons of cold, cut butter.

7.     On floured surface, roll the other half of pastry into 11 ½-inch circle.  Lightly moisten the rim of pie shell with a wet finger.  Invert top pastry, center it, molding it to the mound of the fruit beneath, and press top and bottom pastries together along dampened edge.  Crimp edge as desired.

8.     Cut 4 small slits on top crust to allow steam to escape.  (Note:  At this point, you can use left over dough scraps to make decorative designs, if desired.)  Lightly brush pastry with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

9.     Place pie pan on foil-lined baking sheet and place directly on the center oven rack.

10. Bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.   When the pie is done, you should be able to see the juices bubbling up onto the crust.

11. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 17, 2010 11:37 AM

    great post, thanks for sharing

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