Finally, My Apple Pie Recipe – from Crust to Filling

I started searching for the perfect apple pie recipe for the same cliche reason I do most things – my boyfriend. He’d professed that he liked pies more than cakes, and apple pies the most, so that’s what I diligently started working on. Little did he know it would lead to multiple pies a month that he would need to consume.

After quite a bit of research, it became clear that there were trends in the “trick” to making the perfect pie crust. Vodka or no vodka? Butter, shortening, or LARD? (Lard is my favorite if I’m feeling especially spiteful towards my vegan/vegetarian friends for one reason or another.) Handmade or food processed? Apple pie filling seemed a bit less tricky, but what spices mattered most? What thickening agent would be best?

After about a year of apple pie attempts, here’s the recipe I finally settled on.

Luciables Apple Pie Recipe

Zesty Apple Filling

More than anything, what goes into my apple pie depends on what I have on hand, thanks to my very sensible mother. One time we had Jazz Apples and Fujis on hand, so I supplemented those with Granny Smiths – the result was pretty fantastic! Now I go for a mix of apples instead of just the green Grannies to get a bit more flavor.

For the rest, I work off of Ina Garten’s amazing apple pie. The citrus zest makes it smell SO GOOD.

  • 3 pounds of apples (majority/all Granny Smith, with others you like thrown in), diced into cubes
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar (more if your apples are sour)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Ground cinnamon, cardamom, and freshly ground nutmeg to taste (Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice is also fantastic – 2 teaspoons of that please!)

Mix it all together!

Perfect Pie Crust

For the ingredient proportions, I started with Serious Eats’ version, but abandoned it as soon as I had to divide something in thirds (hate math, hate measuring). What I do now is just use less flour to up the fat to flour ratio for something soft, flaky, and buttery.


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra later for rolling out the dough
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats (my butter is usually stored in the freezer, so the food processor makes cutting it in MUCH easier).
  • 4-6 tablespoons of ice water


  • Food processor/something to cut fat into flour
  • Saran wrap
  • Spray bottle (optional)


Step 1: Food process flour, sugar, salt, and butter together until it’s crumbly, with pea-sized chunks of butter.

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats

Step 2: Turn the crumbly mess onto a cutting board covered by saran wrap.

Step 3: Sprinkle drops of ice water over the flour and butter mixture (I usually use about 4 or 5 tablespoons). If you want to be awesome like Alton Brown, put your ice water in a spray bottle and just spray the water on – great dispersal, minimum fuss.

Step 4: Take either end of the Saran wrap, and use it to fold the flour-butter crumbles onto themselves to press it into a dough. This laminates the fat and flour layers to create flakes and keeps my fingers and work surface clean. Between folding, I add in bits of water as necessary. Fold in thirds from side to side and top to bottom about 3 or 4 times.

Step 5: When the dough has come together, but is still a bit crumbly, wrap equal halves of the dough in the saran wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Chilling not only keeps the butter cold, but also allows the water to permeate naturally through the dough without overworking the gluten.

Roll out into 2 pie crusts, and use when you’re ready to fill!

The Assembling & Baking

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Lay one of the crusts in the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, leaving a little over the edge. Fill the pie, then put on the top layer of dough and crimp the edges. Cut slits for venting, and brush with an egg wash (beaten egg with a bit of water).

The pie is done when the top is brown, (you may need to cover it with some foil), and you can see the filling bubbling thickly out of the vents in the top of the pie. It should take about an hour.



I love to cook and eat, but above all, I love to eat with friends and family.