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One Great Apple Pie, Six Sensational Variations

One Great Apple Pie, Six Sensational Variations used with permission of Ken Haedrich, the “Dean” of The Pie Academy at thepieacademy.com



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 4 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening in tablespoon-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water


  • 6 to 7 cups peeled and sliced apples
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juicem
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Milk or light cream for glaze


Dad's Pastry

  • 1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the machine once or twice, to mix. Scatter the butter over the flour. Pulse 4 or 5 times, breaking the butter into coarse pieces. Add the shortening and pulse again, 5 to 7 times, until the fat is cut into small, pea-size pieces.
  • 2. Remove the lid and sprinkle the water over the flour mixture. Pulse again, repeatedly, just until the mixture forms clumpy crumbs (like those pictured above.) The dough should not ball up around the blade.
  • 3. Dump the crumbs onto your work surface and pack them together like a snowball. Place on a long piece of plastic wrap, flour dough lightly, and flatten into a disk about 3/4” thick. Wrap in the plastic and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours before rolling. Makes a single crust for a 9” - 9 1/2” deep-dish pie.


  • 1. If you haven't already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate. Prepare it twice if you're making a double crust pie.
  • 2. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the dough into a 13” - 13 1/2” circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9” deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, letting the edge of the pastry hang over the pan. (NOTE: If you're making a crumb-topped pie and don't need a top crust, trim the overhang to an even 3/4” and shape it into an upstanding rim.) In either case, refrigerate the shell until needed.
  • 3. Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 400°. Combine the apples and 1/3 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir well, to mix. Set aside for 5 minutes to 10 minutes, to juice. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Mix the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar with the cornstarch. Add to the fruit and mix well. Set aside.
  • 4. To make a double crust pie, roll the other pastry into a 12” circle on a sheet of lightly floured wax paper. Turn the filling into the refrigerated pie shell, smoothing the apples with your hands.
  • 5. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell with a wet finger or pastry brush. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center it, and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened edge. Using a butter knife, trim the pastry flush with the edge of the pan. Use a large fork to crimp the edge and make several steam vents in the top. Lightly brush the top pastry with milk or cream.
  • 6. Place the pie in the center of the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375° and bake another 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and you (most likely) see juices bubbling up through the vents. Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


    Apple & Pear Pie

    • Replace 2 cups sliced apples with 2 cups sliced fresh pears. Add 2 teaspoons minced, candied ginger if desired. Everyone likes this spin on apple pie.

    Five Spice Apple Pie

    • Omit nutmeg or cinnamon. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons five spice powder to the apples. Gives your apple pie an exotic twist.

    Boiled Cider Apple Pie

    • Omit the 1/3 cup sugar. Increase cornstarch to 2 tablespoons. Bring 1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider to a boil in a medium, nonreactive saucepan. Reduce (boil) to about 1/4 cup (pour into a glass measure to check.) Stir into apples. Adds a nice appley kick!

    Date Nut Apple Pie

    • Replace 1 cup of the apples with 1 cup chopped, pitted dates and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

    Caramel Apple Pie

    • Bring 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup light brown sugar and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter to a boil in a smallish saucepan over medium-high heat. Continue to boil for 8 minutes, stirring, until the sauce coats a spoon thickly. Cool to room temperature. Drizzle over any crumb topped or double crusted apple pie.

    Oatmeal Crumb Topped Apple Pie

    • Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup old- fashioned rolled oats, 2/3 cup finely packed light brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Scatter 1 stick unsalted butter - cut into pieces - over mixture. Pulse again to make fine crumbs. Dump crumbs into a large bowl and rub till evenly buttery. Refrigerate. Make a pie shell (up through Step 2.) Add filling and bake for 30 minutes. Slide pie out and carefully spread most of the topping over the apples (there's enough topping to save some for muffins or a quick bread; freeze.) Reduce heat to 375°. Bake 25 minutes longer, until bubbly.
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