Sunday, January 31, 2016

How To Make a PERFECT Apple Pie

This apple pie is simply delicious. There are obviously lots of different and yet perfectly good ways to make an apple pie. But the results of this recipe are particularly exquisite, and make the perfect culmination to a special meal. More than 20 years ago, when I lived in England, I learned an excellent pie recipe from a professional chef, which I then further developed and improved into the one I am sharing here. The key to a really good pie is the crust. It is made from milk, flour and butter (at least 80% fat). You can make this crust for any fruit pie. If the fruit in the pie is of a kind that is juicier than apples are, simply use more corn starch (see the recipe below).

For the crust you need:

1 stick butter (125 g)
8 oz all purpose flour (240 g)
2oz (50 ml) cold milk
a pinch of salt

Place the flour, butter, and salt in a bowl, and with your hand crumble the butter together with the flour until it is all like a sandy mixture. Add the cold milk and mix it for few minutes until the dough is sticking together. Divide it in two unequal parts (1/3 in one ball of dough and 2/3 in the other).

Leave the dough at the room temperature while you cook the apples.

You need 2 lb (1kg) apples (Granny Smith, Jonathan, or any hard and tart variety)
1 1/3  cups of sugar (300 g)
1 Tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of cinnamon powder

1 Tbs corn starch

Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces. Place them in a pan together with the sugar and lemon juice. Turn the heat on medium. Stir it until it leaves a little juice, then place the lid on and leave it to simmer for 3-5 minutes until the apples soften just slightly. 

Then add the cinnamon powder and stir it once or twice. You do not want the apples mushy, so try not to stir them too much. Now they are ready to be put into the pie crust.

Turn the oven on at 425° F (230°C). 

In the meantime, on a floured surface with a rolling pin stretch the bigger ball of dough into a round shape and put it on a 9 1/2 inches oven-proof glass dish. Put the corn starch onto the unbaked pie crust in the dish and spread it evenly over the bottom. Then gently pour in the apples. 

Stretch the second ball of dough and place it on the apples. If you have a pastry cutter you can make holes in it first, as I did, or you can just simply poke it with a fork so the steam can get out. With your fingers, stick together the bottom and the top sheet of dough. Sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp of sugar on top of the pie.

Place the pie on the top rack of the oven at 425° F (230°C) and bake it for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350° F (150°C) and bake it for another 20 minutes. 

Turn off the oven and let it stay there for another half an hour. When it is ready it should look like this:

Serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


  1. Custard! A brilliant pie spoiled without custard!

    1. I had Dutch friends who made apple pie with custard powder sprinked into it before the top crust was place on the pie for baking, and as a result the liquid from the apples was absorbed and turned into custard. A very delicious variation!

    2. Yes, I had apple pie with custard in England, and it was delicious (when the custard had lots of cream or butter in it). I always wondered if this variation is because it is hard to find a good ice-cream in the U.K ?