More crust – less filling! Apple pie for crust-lovers.

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See that pie? The one above, the first thing your eyes were drawn to when you opened this page?

I made that pie. And I got the highest compliment on it from Halley, our King Arthur Web director.

Halley: Who made that pie in the kitchen?

Me: I did.

Halley: You’re kidding! I thought Sue made it.

Me: Yeah, really…

Sue Gray, our test kitchen director, is Queen of the Visual Cuisine, a veritable master at preventive imagery disaster. Sue makes plain muffins cute, yeast bread flawless (no mean feat), pie perfect, and wedding cakes that look like – well, like they leapt out of the pages of a wedding planner’s beauty book.

Most of our other test kitchen bakers (except me) can do lovely things to cookies and cake, using icing, pastry bags, tips, and all that other decorating detritus that makes me crazy.

To me, a pastry decorating kit is like Barbie shoes: little bits and pieces rattling around on the counter and crunching underfoot. One tip is just like another – extraneous to life as I know it.

So when Halley assumed SUE had made that golden brown pie on the counter, the one with apple cutouts, pastry decorations, and an artful sprinkling of glittering sugar – it was a good assumption.

But in this single, probably never-to-be-repeated instance, erroneous.

I MADE THE GORGEOUS PIE. And, using one particular tool – all will be revealed below – you can, too.

Here’s how–

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OK, let’s start with the star of this recipe: the crust.

Place the following in a bowl, whisking to combine:

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder, optional

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Add 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese; low-fat is fine.

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Mix till unevenly crumbly.

If you follow the recipe, you’ll see that it calls for you to combine the first four ingredients (up through the cream cheese) all at once. That’s fine, too. Choose whichever method you prefer.

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Cut 10 tablespoons cold butter into pieces and work it into the flour…

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…leaving some visible pieces, like this.

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Sprinkle the dough with the cold water and toss.

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Squeeze the dough to determine if it holds together. If it’s too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time, using just enough so the dough will hold together.

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Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it in two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. If you have a scale, one piece should be about 9 ounces; the other about 10 ounces.

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Flatten each piece of dough into a disk, and roll its edges till smooth. This will help keep the edges of the crust from becoming ragged as you roll.

Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to a day.

When you’re ready to make pie, preheat your oven to 425°F.

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Remove the larger piece of dough from the fridge. If it’s been chilling longer than 30 minutes, give it 10 to 15 minutes to warm up some. Roll it into a 13” circle, trimming the edges so it’s perfectly round. Keep the trimmings; we’ll use those later.

Now you’re going to move the crust onto an ungreased 12” shallow pizza pan, or onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The parchment is there to catch any spills; if you don’t have parchment (and if you don’t, you’re missing a GREAT time-saver), simply place the crust on the bare baking sheet.

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Fold the dough in half…

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…then in half again.

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Pick it up, and put it on the baking sheet.

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Unfold…

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…into a circle.

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Put the crust into the freezer while you prepare the filling. What, you thought our test kitchen was ORGANIZED?!

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Ah, Baker’s Cinnamon Filling, secret to many a tasty cinnamon roll, sticky bun… and “apple pizza.”

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Place 1/2 cup Baker’s Cinnamon Filling in a small bowl with 2 tablespoons cold water.

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Stir till smooth.

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Remove the chilled crust from the freezer, and spread the filling on the crust.

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Like this.

Don’t have any Baker’s Cinnamon Filling? Too bad, you can’t make this recipe.

JUST KIDDING! Sprinkle the crust with 1/2 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. DO NOT add any water.

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Now, prepare your apples. Our handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer makes short work of this task.

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Peeled, cored, sliced…

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…and halved, in under 15 seconds.

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It doesn’t get any easier!

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Lay the apple slices atop the crust.

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You can be fancy and place them in concentric circles. Or not.

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Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a dash of salt, then scatter over the top 2 tablespoons butter, cut in bits.

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Watch out! Here comes the fancy part. You KNOW I don’t do fancy. But this is actually pretty easy. We sell these double-sided pie toppers that cut designs in your top crust. Here’s the apple side…

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…and here are the leaves on the other side.

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Obviously, I’m choosing the apple side for this pie. Sprinkle with flour…

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…and roll out your other pie crust, placing it over the topper.

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Roll a rolling pin over the crust, pressing down. See how it cuts out the apple designs?

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Peel off the crust…

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…and lay it over your apple-topped bottom crust.

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Like this.

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Now don’t get rid of those apple cutouts; arrange them on the crust, to make a pretty design. (I can’t believe I actually did this… SO not me.)

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Brush the crust with milk…

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…and sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.

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Be generous; you won’t break the bank with this stuff.

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Bring the bottom crust up over the top crust, and press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

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Slightly misshapen, but not bad, eh?

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Bake the pie in the preheated 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F, and continue to bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove the pie from the oven.

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Let it cool for at least an hour before cutting. If you cut it immediately, the filling might ooze out.

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Look at that flaky crust!

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One more shot of my FANCY pie. Warm individual slices in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds (if the pie has cooled completely), and top with vanilla ice cream. Be still, my heart!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Crusty Apple Pie.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Nancy Paine

    PJ, this pie is DIVINE! I am in love with how easy this crust is to make, roll, and EAT! I put cinnamon sugar on the top, because pie crust scraps with cinnamon sugar are my fave. I used Honeycrisp apples, and oh, my gosh, love them so much more than Granny! I will be using this crust for my regular crust from now on. Where has this been my entire life??? I will also try hand pies, and other delightful things. If I gain weight, it’s all your fault. Thanks, really, for this recipe!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Nancy, great idea with the cinnamon-sugar on top; my mom always did that with the leftover scraps and I do, too. Now I have to try Honeycrisp apples (though I confess, so far Northern Spies are my favorite). As for gaining weight — do as I do — giving almost all of it to friends and neighbors, and walk, walk, walk… 🙂 Cheers! PJ@KAF

  2. bean

    Apple pie is my favorite of all pies! I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this web site since I discovered it this year. The banters are so helpful when you might be in doubt about something you are deciding on to bake. I will be making this pie after my next trip to the grocery store to get what I need very soon. Also, I’m going to get that apple peeler too! Thank You for providing such a helpful and interesting website.

    Our pleasure – you’re going to love this pie! 🙂 PJH

    Reply
    1. Andrea

      This the Apple Pie I have been looking for all of my life! If I were an Apple Pie, this is the one I would want to be. 🙂
      I’ve used this recipe over and over and it is always requested. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Maria

    I would like to say THANK YOU for finally making my quest in finding a “more crust less filling” pie recipe. My partner is very picky over this and over the years I have never found a recipe that met the needs of “picky eaters”! I made it last week for the first time and I used my KitchenAide mixer, with the flat-blade attatchment (trying to recreate your process) and it worked out well. I did have to convert the weights due to Australia not selling butter in “sticks”, whereby measuring out 10 tablespoons may be easy. I made this recipe again just two days ago – a double batch…and made individual pies so Porky Partner can have two for dessert!!!

    Thank you again…!

    Reply
  4. John Graham

    I have a problem with the top crust cracking in a ring about one inch inside the outer edge. I have had this same problem with the last four or five fruit pies I have baked. Any ideas why? The top crust does not crack while I am sealing the top to the bottom crust so I don’t think the crust is too cold when I am sealing. I have slits cut for venting but the slits are placed more towards the center of the pie. I roll out the crust using sizer rings on the rolling pin so I know the crust is even thickness.

    John, I’ve forwarded your question to our Baker’s Hotline folks – someone will get in touch via email to discuss this with you. Thanks for connecting – PJH

    Reply
  5. Karen

    I invested in the apple slicer/corer/ peeler! Wish I would have had that twenty years ago! The cinnamon filling is the easiest pie filling I have ever used. I made 5 of these and put them in pizza boxes. Everybody loved them! The coarse sparkling sugar is the best crunch and makes the whole pie!

    Reply
  6. Lisa Evko

    Hi PJH!

    How would you do this pie with frozen blueberries or frozen cherries – and would you still do cinnamon (I am new at pies…)? I have been making the apple and everyone who has tried it loves it!

    Hi Lisa – I’d thaw the blueberries or cherries, and dry them off as much as possible. Use cinnamon for blueberries, a touch of almond extract for the cherries. Add a bit more thickener, too, as they’re liable to be juicier than the apples. Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  7. Ariana from Chicago

    I was looking forward to making this, as I am intimidated by regular apple pies. When I put my pie in the oven, I soon saw a pool of melted butter around the crust edges. I used a rimless baking sheet and soon enough, the smoke alarm went off! A drippy burned butter mess on the bottom of the oven! Should the butter melt like that? I always though the cold butter in the crust is supposed to “steam” at that initial high temperature. I did have big pieces of butter in the crust though. I also wonder if my oven temp is off. Could that be the problem? This is the 3rd apple pie recipe I’ve made in the last few months and I have had this happen (melted butter pool, not so flaky crust). The resulting pie wasn’t bad, but I suspect something was off.

    Ariana, I’m not sure what’s causing this. First, though, bake on a baking sheet with a rim next time, OK? Just in case it happens again, you’ll want to avoid the mess in the bottom of the oven. Are you using King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour? If not, it may be that the lower protein flour you’re using simply can’t absorb the amount of fat in the recipe. The other two times it happened, were you using different crust recipes? Are you using regular butter (not “light”)? And you’re using butter, not margarine, right? Try cutting the butter in more finely, so you don’t see the big chunks. Readers, does anyone else have anything to offer here? PJH

    Reply

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