My family loves apple pie. So I make it a lot. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to make. But in case you’ve never made apple pie, here’s how.
Pie Plate. I use a plain, glass, smooth sided pie plate I’ve had since I got married (32 years ago). It’s my favorite. I also have a deep dish pie plate with ridges around the edge but I don’t like it as well. And I never use aluminum. I don’t like cooking in metal.
Filling. I use 3 apples. Some people like more apples for a fuller filling but my family thinks a filling made with 3 apples is perfect. I usually use Granny Smith but I don’t really care. Once you add sugar and cinnamon, they all taste great.
Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices. Put the slices in a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup flour and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir gently so apple slices are coated. Set aside.
Pie Crust. You can use a pre-made pie crust if you want to – they taste fine. But if you want to make your own, it’s really easy once you get the hang of it – and it’s cheaper!
I always make pie crust in my Kitchen-Aid stand-up mixer. If you don’t have one, you can also use your hand held mixer or a large food processor.
In the mixing bowl, add 2 cups flour, 2/3 cup Crisco and 1 teaspoon salt. Do not use lower fat Crisco. I did that once accidentally and messed up two pie crusts before I finally figured out what was going on. I’m not sure why it doesn’t work, but it doesn’t. Stick with the old-fashioned stuff. If you don’t want to use Crisco, there are tons of other pie crust recipes out there that use other types of fat. This recipe, though, is my recipe of choice.
Mix the flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Then add about ½ cup water (you may not use all of it), one tablespoon at a time, until mixture holds together. You want it to be soft but not wet. If it’s too soft, the crust can be soggy. If it’s too dry, you won’t be able to roll it out without it falling apart. I have on occasion pulled it out too soon and had to put it back in the bowl with a little more water. It’s not great to do that but it still works.
Once the dough is ready, separate it into two balls – one for the top crust and one for the bottom crust.
I ALWAYS use a pastry cloth to roll out pie dough. It makes it a LOT easier. Lay out the cloth and dust it with flour. Set one of the balls of dough in the center, sprinkle the top with flour and start rolling.
You’ll have better luck if you roll gently and slowly. It minimizes cracking and tearing. I roll from the center out. The first roll is straight up (12 o’clock), the second roll is to the left (9 o’clock), the third is straight down (6 o’clock) and the last is to the right (3 o’clock). Then repeat until the crust is big enough to fit in your pie plate with a little bit of overhang.
Place your rolling pin gently on the crust and roll it around the pin just a little bit. Lift it up and lay it in the plate. Unroll and gently put it in the plate. Using scissors, trim off overhang (I usually trim the crust at this point but on this day, I trimmed it later). Set aside.
You can see how messy the crust was. It was dry so the dough cracked when I pushed it down into the plate. If that happens, you can either re-mix with a little water or just press the broken parts back together.
Repeat the process with the second crust but before placing crust on plate, pour filling into crust and stir it around so it’s evenly distributed. Use a rubber spatula to get every bit of sauce out of the bowl. Then place the second crust over the top.
Trim the edges so there’s just a little bit of overhang. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust edges. Then create a decorative edge. The easiest edge is to use a fork and make an imprint around the edges.
Cut x’s in the top of the crust so the steam can escape. Sprinkle crust with sugar.
Set pie plate on a pizza pan in case the pie overflows. Fruit is one of the worst things you can spill in your oven. It smells terrible and is SO hard to get off. So I always set pie plates on a pizza pan to prevent having to deal with burned fruit.
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Serve with ice cream or cool whip.
If you don’t want to toss the extra pie dough, you can re-roll any leftover pie dough and turn it into another sweet treat. Roll it out, cut it into squares, brush each square with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 375 for about 12 minutes or until edges are starting to turn brown. Or you could make cinnamon roll cookies. That’s what my grandma always did.
By the way, the pie crust in this article is not my best work. I’m not sure if it was the Crisco or if I was just out of practice but I usually make a prettier pie. However, I decided to use the photo anyway so you would see that a pie doesn’t have to be perfect to still be delicious.
So if you’re scared to try making apple pie, don’t be. Give it a shot and see what happens. Even if it isn’t gorgeous, it’ll still taste great and that’s all that matters. And the truth is, the more pies you make, the better you get.
Do you make apple pie? What are your best pie making tips?