Extra Thick Apple Pie

Also called mile-high apple pie, this extra thick apple pie is stacked high with apples, not overly sweet, and has a buttery crust. The problem with baking thick apple pies is that the apples shrink as they cook, leaving a gap between the crust and the apples, which usually collapses upon cooling. The trick is to gently cook the apples first, so that they do their reducing before they go in the pie.

  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 to 6 Tbsp nonfat milk, very cold
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk

Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar (white granulated)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 lbs of mixed apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, Pippin, Braeburn, Cortland, McIntosh), peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Method

1 Start with the crust. In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture solidifies into a ball. Remove dough from machine and shape into 2 discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2 While the dough is cooling, start cook the apples. Mix 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Add the apples and lemon zest and toss to combine. Transfer apples to a large, thick-bottomed covered pan or Dutch oven and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender when poked with a fork, but still hold their shape - about 15 to 20 minutes (but not so long for the apples to turn into applesauce, put apples in a colander over a bowl to drain excess liquid. Drain off as much juice as possible.

3 Preheat oven to 425°F with a baking sheet on a rack on the lowest rung of the oven.

4 Back to the crust. While the apples are cooling and draining, remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

5 Add the filling to the pie. Add the apple filling to the dough-lined pie pan. Sprink on 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Dot with butter.

6 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape. Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

7 Set pie on preheated baking sheet (to catch any juices that may escape from the pie while cooking). Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375°F and cook for an additional 50 minutes, until filling bubbles in the center and crust turns golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 1 1/2 hours. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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Comments

  1. Elise

    Hey Jeanne! I was thinking about you today; I’m here in Red Sox nation, out in Carlisle. Went apple picking in Acton today with my goddaughter and her two sisters and will make some apple sauce and another apple pie a little later.

    Regarding skin on or off, I guess that depends on the apple. The granny smith skins are I think too thick and tart. We’ve almost always skinned the apples for pie, cobblers, or sauce. But mom makes her baked apple slices with skin on. But then she usually uses mostly golden delicious – I don’t think the skin is as tart.

  2. foodcrazee

    dats a huge pie. Wont be a dessert anymore. *chuckle*

  3. Sarah

    Hey Elise,

    I have your feed on my customized Google homepage at work, and I look forward to seeing all your new recipes! If you keep posting recipes like this though, I think you’ll ruin my diet! ;-)

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  4. Elise-

    Love your recipe! But can you refregiarte it, and eat it when it’s cold? Does that cause any problems?

  5. tea

    This looks great! Some of the pies I`ve seen have discoloured apples in the filling and it looks not so nice. Was there any special trick you used to keep the filling looking nice? I`d like to try this for the weekend.

    tea
    xo

  6. Mary

    Can an apple pie be assembled today and baked tomorrow without sacrificing quality?

  7. Hali Beckman

    I have a 70 year old apple pie expert. Can not wait to try this one on him.

    The Carbonnade beef is out of this world.

    Thanks,
    H.B.
    P.S. Have you ever seen an apple pie with a slight cream between the layers?

  8. Agota

    Hi Hali and Mary,

    Hope you don`t mind me answering your questions instead of Elise. Yes, you can definitely assemble the pie one day and bake it the next, no problem. It will not affect the quality at all.
    And yes, I bake my apple pies with a custard base (cream if you like). You can easily find the recipe on http://www.letscookfrench.com
    under “creme patissiere”. Without this base I would find my apple pies “naked”…
    This is my second time baking this wonder, and I have to tell you: this is a great recipe! Thank you so much, dear Elise for sharing!
    And Happy Holidays to All of You!

  9. Nikki

    Dear Elise,

    I just tried this apple pie recipe for a dinner party of 10.. it was a BIG HIT and it was amazing. Instead of placing the second crust directly over the pie, I cut it into strips and did a simple weave. It was heavenly both to look at and to eat. You are the best. I can’t wait to try all the recipes on your site.

    Happy thanksgiving to you and your family.

  10. oomgsoo

    I am a first time pie baker and the pie is the oven right now…looks like the I made it extra extra (too many apples) thick because the side crusts fell off and I can see the filling on the sides. I hope it taste good it smells great…

  11. Aaron

    I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to let the filling cool for awhile before assembling the pie, as I’m afraid adding the apples whilst they’re still hot may melt the butter in the dough prematurely. Just a thought.

    p.s. this is by far the best cooking blog I’ve found on the web.

    –aaron

  12. Cassie

    Elise,

    I have made this apple pie for the last 4 Thanksgivings…awesome! This year I am pressed for time and would like to make it ahead of time and freeze it uncooked in the freezer, do you think the quality will be diminished? Do apples get soggy in the freezer?

    Thank you,
    Cassie

    Hi Cassie, I haven’t done it, but I have a friend who frequently freezes uncooked apple pies in the freezer, without any problems. Just takes longer to cook. ~Elise

  13. Jessica

    When I made my apple pie I cut it open and there was so much water! I ave no idea what I did wrong.

    Some apple varieties have more moisture than others, and some have more moisture depending on the time they were picked. It’s usually a good idea to mix up the varieties of apples for apple pie for that reason. ~Elise