Top | Beth Howard

Apple Pie

(recipe, Beth Howard)

primary-image, l


Three tips for easy pie dough: (1) Use enough water so your dough is pliable (dry dough cracks and is hard to roll). (2) Don't overwork the dough or it will become too tough to roll. (3) Use flour liberally when rolling to keep it from sticking. But remember, pie is not about perfection! Pie should look homemade. So just go for it and have fun.


    Pie crust
    1. 2½ cups flour
    2. Dash of salt
    3. ½ cup butter
    4. ½ cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
    5. 1 cup ice water (use only enough to moisten the dough)
    6. 1 beaten egg, for brushing on the top crust
    Apple filling
    1. 7 large Granny Smith apples, depending on size of apples and size of pie dish (see Note)
    2. ¾ cup sugar
    3. ¼ cup flour
    4. Dash of salt
    5. 2 tsp. cinnamon
    6. 1 Tbsp. butter


    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Make the pie crust: Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and briefly mix it together. Add the butter and shortening and work them into the flour with your hands until you see marble-sized lumps form. Add the ice water, a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour. When the dough feels moistened enough, do a “squeeze test”: if it holds together, you’re done. (Do not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!)
    3. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a disk shape. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking. Roll one disk out flat and thin enough so that the diameter is about 2 inches greater than that of the pie dish. Put the rolled-out crust into the pie dish and trim any excess dough to about 1 inch from the dish edge with scissors. Roll out the other disk and leave it alone while you prep the filling.
    4. Make the apple filling: Peel and slice half of the apples directly into the pie, arranging to remove any extra space between slices. Cover the slices with half of the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Slice the remaining apples into the pie and cover with the second half of the dry ingredients. Add the butter in a dollop on top.
    5. Assemble the final pie: Cover with the rolled-out top crust, then brush with the beaten egg (the egg gives the pie a nice golden-brown shine). Use a knife or a fork to poke vent holes in the top; get creative here with a pattern if you like.
    6. Bake the pie: Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, until juice bubbles from the vent holes. Poke with a knife to make sure the apples have softened. Do not overbake, or the apples will turn mushy.
    7. Serve warm, with Cheddar cheese, whipped sweetened cream, or vanilla ice cream on the side.


    With more than 7,500 known varieties of apples, the question is: What kind of apples are best for apple pie? That's a matter of opinion and subject to personal taste. Granny Smith apples are a favorite choice for several reasons. They are readily available nationwide and year-round, and they have a firmness and tartness that hold up well in a baked pie. But with many other varieties to choose from — as well as price ranges, geographical access, and seasonality — try whatever you like. Even better, combine them. Start with other popular pie varieties, such as Royal Braeburn, Jonathan, Cameo, Rome Beauty, and Pink Lady.