My favourite recipe for homemade apple pie! Made with tender-cooked, caramelised apple fruit filling and a buttery pie dough that always bakes up tender and flaky. Delicious eaten on its own, but super scrumptious with scoops of vanilla ice cream.


A classic apple pie

When apples are plentiful in my home, I love using them in a classic apple pie. This pie is filled with lightly spiced apple fruit in a thick apple syrup cooked down from its juices.

Save for Later:Easy Homemade Apple Pie

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Apple pie filling

By infusing the apples with a handful of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and caramelising it with sugars, lemon juice and a bit of butter into a delicious syrup, this apple pie filling is simply bursting with flavour!

To cook or not to cook your apples? Ah, that is the question!

A warm slice of homemade apple pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

After all, lots of apple pie recipes seem to work just as well without cooking the apples.

And trust me, I know how tempting it must be if we could skip a step and save some time and dishes in the process, right?

However, for me, it’s all about getting reliable and consistent outcomes every time I bake pies.

And pre-cooking apples has certainly given me much more control over how my apple pies turn out.

cooked apple pie filling for homemade apple pie

Why you should pre-cook your apple filling

I always recommend pre-cooking your apples and here’s why:

  • Goodbye to runny pies! I’ve always dreaded a runny apple filling ruining an otherwise well-executed apple pie. With pre-cooked apples, you can cook down the juices to the consistency you want and bake your apple pie with confidence.
  • No more soggy bottom crust. Allowing the apples to release juices in the pan (and not in the pie) and thickening with a bit of flour to a syrup helps prevent a soggy crust.
  • Cooks apples evenly. No more worrying about under-cooked apples in your filling. You can also determine how soft or firm you like your apples before they go in the oven.
A slice of homemade apple pie with caramelised apple filling
  • Makes a delicious apple syrup. Caramelising the natural fruit sugars together with spices, added sugars, lemon juice and a bit of melted butter results in an utterly delicious apple syrup!
  • Adjust sweetness and taste to your liking. Depending on the varieties and batches of apples you use, sticking to a recipe won’t always give you the same results every time. Some apples are sweeter and juicier than others, and even a batch of tart Granny Smiths can be unusually sour. By pre-cooking, you’ll have the ability to taste and adjust how sweet or tart, and how spiced you like your apple pie filling.
  • Avoid the dreaded gap between the filling and pie crust. Uncooked apples will shrink after baking, sometimes leaving a gap between the filling and the top and sides of the crust. This won’t happen with pre-cooked apple filling.

Pie crust

For the perfect apple pie, we’ll need a tender, flaky pie crust that’s dependable and easy to master!

I am sharing with you this all-butter pie crust that’s my go-to, because it’s got that great buttery flavour and bakes up beautifully.

apple pie with lattice crust top

An all-butter pie crust simply means that all the fat in the crust comes from butter, in place of shortening or a butter and shortening mix.

Butter has about 20% water content, which converts to steam in a hot oven.

This is what helps puff up the pastry, creating that wonderful flaky crust.

For best results, you’ll want to work the pie crust as lightly and as little as possible, and chill it before and after rolling it out to shape your pie dish.

This is to ensure that the butter stays cold, so that the pie bakes up flaky when those cold pockets of butter release steam.

How to make apple pie: Step-by-step

Cook the apple filling

Prepare the apples by removing their peels and cutting away the cores.

Cut to your desired thickness, but I recommend about 3 – 4 mm thick so they keep their shape well during cooking, and don’t easily turn to mush.

  • In a large skillet or Dutch pan, combine apple slices with lemon juice, brown and white sugars, ground spices, salt and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the apples thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 15 – 20 minutes, allowing the apples to release their juices.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring only occasionally to evenly cook the apples. Avoid over-stirring so that the apples don’t break up too easily once they soften. Cook for about 10 minutes, until just softened and the juices have reduced ( = more intense flavour!). You don’t need it to be tender as they’ll continue to bake in the oven. Stir in the butter.
  • Taste and adjust – more lemon juice if too sweet or more sugar if too tart. If the sauce is still a tad runny, sprinkle more flour over and stir to thicken. Take the skillet off the heat, and let the apples cool. To cool it super quick, I usually pop the whole skillet into the chiller. Or, spread the mixture onto a baking tray and again into the chiller.

Make the pie crust

To make the pie crust, make sure you start with very cold butter and iced water.

  • In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the cold butter cubes with a pastry cutter. Or rub in the butter with your fingertips until it resembles large, coarse breadcrumbs. It’s okay to have large clumps of butter here and there, in fact, we want that!
  • Combine iced water and vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon to the flour-butter mixture and gently knead in. Keep adding bit by bit, and stop once the dough comes together in a ball. You may not need to use all the water, or may even need more depending on the absorption properties of the flour.
  • It’s okay if the dough is a little sticky, because you can always sprinkle flour when you roll it out. But make sure it’s not too dry – it’s hard to add water at that point and rolling the dough will be tough as it will break apart easily and crumble.
  • Divide the dough into two, one portion slightly more than the other. Shape into discs, cover with cling wrap and chill for at least 30 mins.

Assemble the apple pie

This would be a good time to start pre-heating the oven to 190°C (375°F).

  1. Dust the worktop and rolling pin liberally with flour. Roll out the larger disc to about an inch beyond the rim of your pie dish. I find that using a metal scraper to run around the edges and under the dough makes it easier to lift the dough off the worktop.
  2. Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and off the worktop. Then unroll it over the pie dish. Make sure the dough fully covers the base and up the sides of the pie dish with about an inch of over-hang.
  3. Brush the base and sides with egg white. Fill the pie shell with the cooled apple filling.
  4. Again, dust the worktop and rolling pin liberally with flour. Roll out the second pie disc till large enough to cover the top of the pie.
  5. For fully covered crust: Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the top of the pie. Cut 4 – 6 slits or prick holes all over with a fork.
  6. For lattice top crust: With a sharp knife, cut 12 strips of even width (1/2 – 3/4 inch), starting from one edge to the opposite edge. Here’s a great post on how you can make a lattice pattern (I promise, it’s a lot easier than you might think!)
  7. Brush with egg wash. Place your pie on the center rack in the oven, and put a baking tray one rack down to catch any drippings.
  8. Bake at 190°C (375°F) for 20 mins, then lower temperature to 175°C (347°F). Bake for a further 45 to 55 minutes or until you see the filling bubbling around the edges and/or through the vents.
  9. Let the filling bubble for at least 5 minutes before removing the pie from the oven. Halfway through the baking time, tent the pie with a sheet of aluminium foil once the crust is nicely browned to prevent it from browning further.

Which apples work best for apple pie

The varieties of apples you have available to you may vary, depending on where you live.

Here in Singapore, we don’t get quite the same varieties as in the West but there are still excellent apples that are well suited for making apple pie:

  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Golden Delicious
  • Gala
  • Koru
  • Fuji
  • Jazz
  • Empire
  • Envy

Pie crust tips

  • Why does the amount of water in the pie crust vary? This is because different flours produced in regions around the world have different absorption properties, even if it’s the same type like all-purpose, for example. The altitude and environment where you live also affects the characteristics of the flour.
  • How much water is enough? The good news is that there’s a fairly easy way to recognise when you’ve added enough water to the dough. Once the dough comes together, pinch a small amount between your fingers. If it holds together and barely cracks at the edges, you’ve added enough. If it easily breaks apart or crumbles, it’s still dry and you can add more.
  • Why add cold butter and iced water? When you rub in cold butter, don’t over work it otherwise the butter will start to melt due to the warmth of your fingertips. Preferably, cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or use a stand mixer and dough hook. It’s perfectly alright to leave some clumps of butter unmixed.Similarly, iced water helps keep the butter cool.
  • Chill the pie crust as needed. Keep the crust as cold as possible, by chilling before and after rolling the dough out. If you are going to take more than 5 minutes to work on something else while the crust sits outside, then it’s a good idea to quickly pop it into the chiller.
  • Shape the pie crust into discs. By shaping into discs before rolling, it will be easier for you to keep it circular when you roll it out. Also, you’ll get nice, neat edges.

How to store and re-heat apple pie

A fresh-baked apple pie made with caramelised filling (no custard or dairy) will keep well at room temperature for up to 2 days.

To keep it from drying out, wrap the pie loosely with aluminium foil once it’s completely cooled.

Place it in a cool, dry area of your kitchen or pantry. After which, you’ll want to store it in the chiller for another 2 days. That gives you a total of 4 days.

You can either store the pie whole, or cut into individual slices. Then wrap each slice in aluminium foil or cling wrap, and chill.

Fresh baked apple pie with a golden brown crust and caramelised apple pie filling

Apple pies also freeze well, where they’ll keep for up to 4 months.

Wrap individual slices securely or cover the whole pie in several layers of cling wrap, and a final layer of aluminium foil. Then place in the freezer.

To re-heat a room-temperature apple pie or individual slices, be sure to remove all the wrapping.

Pre-heat the oven to 95°C (200°F). At that temperature, a whole pie will need about 25 – 30 minutes, and individual slices, 10 – 15 minutes.

To re-heat a frozen apple pie, allow the pie to thaw to room temperature, and warm for 30 to 35 minutes in a moderately hot oven preheated to 175°C (350°F).

Easy Homemade Apple Pie

4.86 from 7 reviews
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Yield: 10 servings
Made with tender-cooked, caramelised apple fruit filling and a buttery pie dough that always bakes up tender and flaky. This apple pie is wonderful eaten on its own, but super scrumptious with scoops of vanilla ice cream. It’s the perfect treat for any day or occasion!

Ingredients

For apple filling

  • 8 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 50 g white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 – 3 tbsp plain flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter

For pie cust

  • 340 g plain or all-purpose flour
  • 250 g unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
  • tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp iced water, (you may need less or more, depending on the flour properties)
  • some egg white, for brushing, (save the yolk for egg wash)

For egg wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk

Instructions
 

Cook the apple filling

  • In a large skillet or Dutch pan, combine apple slices with lemon juice, brown and white sugars, ground spices, salt and flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat. Stir occasionally to cook the apples evenly. Cook for about 10 minutes, until just softened and the juices have reduced. Stir in the butter. Taste and adjust. (Note: add more lemon juice if too sweet or more sugar if too tart. If the sauce is too runny, sprinkle a bit of flour over and stir to thicken).
  • Take the skillet off the heat and let apples cool. To cool it super quick, pop the whole skillet into the chiller, or spread the mixture onto a baking tray and into the chiller. 

Make pie crust

  • In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the cold butter cubes with a pastry cutter or using your fingertips, rub in the butter until it resembles large, coarse breadcrumbs. It's okay to have large clumps of butter here and there, in fact, we want that!
  • Combine iced water and vinegar. Add 1 tbsp to the flour-butter mixture, and gently knead in. Keep adding bit by bit, and stop once the dough comes together in a ball. You may need less or more, depending on the absorption properties of the flour. It's okay if the dough is a little sticky, but make sure it's not too dry.
  • Divide the dough into two, one portion slightly more than the other. Shape into discs, cover with cling wrap and chill for at least 30 mins. 

Assemble the pie

  • Pre-heat oven to 190°C (375°F). Have a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish ready, do not grease.
  • Dust the worktop and rolling pin liberally with flour. Roll out the larger disc to about an inch beyond the rim of your pie dish. Tip: use a metal scraper to run around the edges and under the dough to lift it off the woktop where needed.
  • Roll the dough loosely around the rolling pin and off the worktop. Unroll it over the pie dish. Gently ease the dough into the dish, until it covers the base and up the sides of the pie dish with about an inch of over-hang.
  • Brush the base and sides with egg white. Fill the pie shell with the cooled apple filling.
  • Again, dust the worktop and rolling pin liberally with flour. Roll out the second pie disc till large enough to cover the top of the pie. 
  • For full cover top crust: Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll over the top of the pie. Cut 4 – 6 slits or prick holes all over with a fork. For lattice top crust: After rolling out the dough, cut 12 strips of even width (1/2 – 3/4 inch), starting from one edge to the opposite edge. Proceed to make a lattice pattern as desired.
  • Stir the egg yolk and heavy cream or milk together with a fork. Brush the top with egg wash.
  • Place your pie on the center rack in the oven, and put a baking tray one rack down to catch any drippings.
  • Bake at 190°C (375°F) for 20 mins, then lower temperature to 175°C (347°F). Bake for another 45 to 55 minutes or until you see the filling bubbling around the edges and/or through the vents. Let the filling bubble for at least 5 minutes before removing the pie from the oven. Halfway through the baking time, tent the pie with a sheet of aluminium foil once the crust is nicely browned to prevent it from browning further. 

Notes

Apple Pie Tips

  • Combine different varieties of apples. By mixing them up, you’re getting several flavour profiles and not just one. You’ll get so much more breadth and depth, taste-wise.
  • How tender should I cook the apples. This is a matter of preference, bear in mind that the apples will continue to bake in the oven. Generally, once the apples have softened but have still got a bit of bite to them, about 10 minutes of cooking and you’re done.
  • Adjust sweetness and taste to your liking. Some apples are sweeter and juicier than others, and even a batch of tart Granny Smiths can be unusually sour. You may need to adjust the amount of sugars and thickener (flour) to your taste.
  • How to cut in cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or stand mixer attached with a dough hook. Once the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, stop. You’ll want to have clumps of unmixed butter. You can also rub in with your fingertips, but be careful not over work the butter or else it will start to melt. 
  • How to add water. Always use ice-cold water and stir in the vinegar. Start with 1 tbsp, gently knead in. Then add 2 tsps at a time as you go along until the dough comes together.  Pinch a small amount between your fingers. If it holds together and barely cracks at the edges, you’ve added enough. If it easily breaks apart or crumbles, it’s still dry and you can add more.
  • Pie dough is a little sticky. It’s okay if the dough gets a bit sticky, you can sprinkle flour when you roll it out. But make sure it’s not too dry – it’s hard to add water at that point and rolling the dough will be tough as it will break apart easily and crumble.
  • Chill the pie crust as needed. Keep the crust as cold as possible, by chilling before and after rolling the dough out. If you are going to take more than 5 minutes to work on something else while the crust sits outside, then it’s a good idea to quickly pop it into the chiller.
  • Shape the pie crust into discs. By shaping into discs before rolling, it will be easier for you to keep it circular when you roll it out. Also, you’ll get nice, neat edges.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 536kcal, Carbohydrates: 67g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 421mg, Potassium: 228mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 1235IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American, Western
Course: Desserts, Tea
Author: Celia Lim
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a review in the section below, and tag @foodelicacy on Instagram and hashtag it #foodelicacy so I can see!