Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune

Recipe of the Day: Apple Pie

A dessert you can count on year after year
Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune

Apple pie is like the dessert version of America's sweetheart. It's the quintessential Thanksgiving treat and makes appearances on holiday dinner tables in the White House and throughout the country. The sense of tradition that comes with a slice of apple pie is what makes it so great. Forge your own tradition with this perfect apple pie recipe — it'll be your go-to dessert for years to come. 

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Pies are a great holiday dessert because they're relatively easy to make. For this recipe, you'll be making the crust from scratch, but even for that all you really need is a few common pantry staples. Also, be sure to give yourself time to let the pie crust chill. 

To make the filling, start by slicing and coring your apples. Then melt butter in a wide skillet and add in the apples. Toss the apples in the butter and let them cook for about seven minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and salt. Once a syrup forms, let the apples cool them scoop them into the pie shell.

Drape the top pie shell over the filling and bake until golden brown and the center is bubbly. You'll be left with a crisp crust and a filling loaded with the best autumnal spices. Not a fan of apples, or just need some more dessert options? These incredible pie recipes will get you through the holiday season, stress free

Perfect Apple Pie 


For the crust:

8 (about 1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour such as Gold Medal, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Crystal Diamond kosher salt (half as much if iodized)
2 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups granulated sugar (optional)

For the filling:

3 pounds (about 6 large) tart apples such as Granny Smith, Albemarle Pippin or Gold Rush
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cups (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons tapioca flour (aka starch)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch of kosher salt

For the egg wash:

1 egg
1 tablespoon heavy craem
1 pinch of kosher salt


For the crust:

Sift flour into a medium bowl.

Whisk in sugar and salt.

Toss butter cubes with flour.

Roughly smash each cube flat — nothing more!

Stir in water and knead briefly into a ball.

Transfer to a floured work surface, sprinkle with flour, and roll into a 10-by-15 inch sheet, positioned vertically.

Fold top edge down and bottom edge up to meet in the center. Fold left edge to meet right, as though closing a book. Fold top to meet bottom, forming a thick block.

Cut the block in half.

Dust with flour and roll one portion into a 13-inch round.

Brush off excess flour, drape over a 9-inch pie plate.

Trim to a 1 1/4 inch overhang; fold under to create a 3/4 inch border that rests on the rim of the plate.

Wrap in plastic and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Roll remaining dough into a 13-inch round, rest on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and chill 2 to 24 hours.

Pastry is ready to be filled and baked, or it can be frozen for up to 3 months and thawed in a refrigerator. 

When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat to 350 degrees.

Line the chilled pastry with foil, draping it loosely over edges.

Fill with granulated sugar (alternatively, use baking beans). Set on a baking sheet.

Bake until pastry is set and golden, about 1 hour.

Lift out the foil.

If pale, continue baking until lightly colored, 5-10 minutes. Let cool. (Roasted sugar can replace granulated sugar in other recipes; it offers a hint of caramel flavor.)

Cool, seal and store.

For the filling:

Peel, core, halve and slice apples crosswise into ¼-inch thick half-circles. (An apple peeler contraption makes quick work of the job.)

In a wide skillet, melt butter over medium heat.

Slide in apples and toss to coat.

Cover and cook, stirring regularly, until apples lose their snap, about 7 minutes.

Uncover and stir in brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon and salt.

Cook until syrup begins to thicken, 1 minute.

Let cool.

Scrape cooled apples into cooled pie shell.

Drape the top pastry over apples, trim edge to ¾-inch overhang.

Fold the overhang under itself, covering the parbaked edges (no need to unite baked and unbaked pastry, they will join forces in the oven).

Chill firm, 30 minutes

For the egg wash:

With rack still in lower-middle position, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together egg wash, and brush over chilled pie.

Cut in a starburst of vent slits.

Set pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake until top is golden brown, center is bubbly and 195 degrees, about 1 hour. (Pull out pie before it reaches 200. That’s when apples break down to mush.)

If top is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

Cool at least 1 hour before serving.

To restore crisp crust later, reheat at 350 for 10 minutes.


This Leah Eskin recipe was inspired by Stella Parks and appeared in the Chicago Tribune.