Truly Scrumptious Apple Pie

September 14, 2010

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This pie is inspired by the recipe Delicious Apple Pie from the Blue Ribbon Pies cookbook, published by Consumers Union, edited by Maria Polushkin Robbins - my all-time favorite pie recipe. I read about the apple layering technique in The Flavor Bible, so every bite of this pie has different textures and flavors of apples. My pie dough is adapted from the recipe for Flaky Pie Dough in the cookbook Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. You'll have enough dough for 2 pies. And one of my favorite movies is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, hence the title. - mrslarkinmrslarkin

Food52 Review: I had so much fun making this aptly named pie! While I was intimidated about making my own pie crust, it came together easily and was flaky, buttery and delicious. (Thanks to Merrill, Amanda and Dorie for the pie-rolling-out tutorials!) I loved layering the different apples, and you could really taste and the layers as you cut through the pie. I will definitely use that technique in the future. My husband and I both loved the pie. It is truly scrumptious and I'm pleased to recommend it as an Editors' Pick. – drbabsThe Editors

Serves: 8


Pie dough (makes enough for two double-crust pies)

  • 630 grams unbleached all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur; about 5 cups)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 11 ounces very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 6 ounces very cold vegetable shortening, cut into chunks
  • About 1/2 cup ice water

Pie (makes one 9” double-crust pie)

  • 2 chilled pie dough disks, or 1 unbaked 9" pie shell with top crust
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for decorating, if desired
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 2 cups Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 2 cups Macintosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 3 wedges of fresh lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream or milk
In This Recipe


Pie dough (makes enough for two double-crust pies)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place flour and salt and blend on low speed.
  2. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the flour looks crumbly.
  3. Add the chunks of shortening and continue to mix on low speed. When clumps begin forming, and the dough holds together when you press some between your fingers, slowly pour the water in while the mixer is on low speed. Mix just until incorporated.
  4. Flour a work area and turn the dough out. Gather it into a ball. Cut it into 4 equal parts. Weigh them out to get even pieces, if you have a kitchen scale.
  5. Gently form each piece into a flat round disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least two hours. Dough can be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days, or frozen for one month. Store in zipper freezer bags.

Pie (makes one 9” double-crust pie)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Place Granny Smith apple slices in bowl, squeeze a wedge of lemon juice over and toss. In another bowl, place Golden Delicious apples, lemon juice and toss. And in a third bowl, place Macintosh, lemon juice and toss. Evenly distribute sugar mixture over apples in three separate bowls. Mix.
  4. If making the dough yourself, roll out one round of dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 11 inches across. Place crust into a 9-inch pie pan with 1-inch high sides.
  5. Roll another round of dough into a circle about 10 inches across.
  6. With a knife or scissors, cut excess dough from bottom layer, keeping about a ½ inch overhang. Set aside scraps.
  7. Starting with the Granny Smith slices, place them in one layer into the bottom crust. Next, layer the Golden Delicious slices over. And lastly, layer the Macintosh slices over. Dot with butter.
  8. Cover with top crust. Tuck overhang of top crust under the bottom crust edge. Flute edges with fingers, or however you like. Vent top.
  9. Gather any leftover dough scraps, flatten out dough and cut out a few leaf shapes with a knife. With the point of a knife, gently make vein indentations like on a real leaf.
  10. Brush top crust with cream. Gently press on leaves and brush them with cream. Sprinkle sugar over the whole pie, if desired. Place pie on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  11. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until juices bubble through vents. Check the pie after 20 minutes, and if you see the edges burning, take two long strips of aluminum foil and wrap edges of pie loosely.
  12. Let the pie cool on a rack for about a half an hour before cutting into it.

More Great Recipes:
Pie|Apple|Fruit|Milk/Cream|Sheet Pan|Make Ahead|Rosh Hashanah|Thanksgiving|Fall|Dessert

Reviews (117) Questions (4)

117 Reviews

Marilyn L. December 25, 2018
I’m up late making pies on Christmas Eve (it’s 1 a.m. in California) and I wish I would have gone with my trusted version of this Julia pie dough made either in a food processor or bowl/pastry cutter. I don’t understand how people had success with pie dough in a stand mixer. By the time the hard-as-rocks shortening melts enough to incorporate, the butter is overincorporated. I am left with giant chunks of shortening in a dough that is overworked and whose butter has all melted. I’m just going to bake it the way it is because I don’t have enough butter to start over and also my KitchenAid stand mixer started shooting sparks at me (it’s really old) and tonight is not going well. This is my first Food52 recipe and I don’t think I’ll try another.
SPark0101 November 10, 2018
Really delicious - the fruit to spices and flour ratio was perfect and although i used slightly different Apple varieties, the method and mix was tasty. I used a different crust recipe but plan to try this one next time.
Crispy December 26, 2016
Rave reviews from the Christmas crowd at a friend's house. I had to cheat just a little since I don't have a food processor and used a Trader Joe's pie crust (frozen) but look forward to making this crust in the future. Also used a little less sugar and added a dash of Allspice. Will definitely make it again!
Kate S. November 10, 2016
I made this pie last month for Thanksgiving (I live in Canada) and the reviews were great from family and friends. I'm not a pie expert, but I've been told by several friends/connoisseurs, that the pastry is "perfect". I'm making a few more pies this weekend as I've had several requests to repeat the magic. As far as I'm concerned, this is now my go-to apple pie recipe.
RB April 10, 2016
This is a keeper. Made this twice already. At both times, very well received. Thanks too for the reference to the all-butter crust. Added 2 tbsps of vodka to the ice water and the crust turned out super flaky :)
NotTooSweet November 27, 2015
GREAT crust - the best I've made. My husband prefers a tarter apple so I used all Granny Smith. That was the only change I made and it was a delicious pie! This is now my good to crust recipe and apple pie recipe. Thanks mrslarkin!
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 27, 2015
I'm so glad, NTS!!! I love Grannies.
Scarlet November 27, 2015
I made this yesterday, using an all butter crust recipe (Smitten Kitchen). The crust was awesome (very proud as it was my first!). The filling tasted great, but did not get thick & bubbly. There was more liquid than I would like. My assumption is this is caused by the apples used (granny, Fuji, and honeycrisp). I bought the Granny, but the others we already had, my husband is not fond of Golden Delicious or Macintosh. When cooked, do those disintegrate more? Do they have more fiber? I really liked the recipe & taste, but would like to get the filling thicker.
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 27, 2015
Hi Scarlet! Yes, macs and Goldens are a softer apple. Honeycrisps are super juicy; a better eating apple, imho. Fujis are better eating apples, too. I made a pie yesterday using Opals, Cortlands, Pink Lady, and something else. It was delicious! Good luck next time!
Nicole L. November 27, 2015
I have the same issue, the filling is more soupy than I prefer. I added about at tablespoon of cornstarch the second one time around and let the apples sit over night with spices and sugar to loosen then up because the first time they were too crunchy to my liking. Hoping the 3rd time I make this pie the filling would be a thicker consistency. All in all I love this recipe especially the crust
Nicole L. November 13, 2015
How many apples for 6 cups? 12 apples?
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 13, 2015
Hi Nicole! It depends on how big/small the apples are. If they are big, 6 will probably do. If they are small, use more.
Jade October 4, 2015
I'm a complete novice at this. When you say to slice the apples thin, how thin do you mean?
Author Comment
mrslarkin October 5, 2015
hi Jade! if you look at the picture up top (3 of 8) you'll get a better idea. It's about a good 1/4" to 1/2" slice. Or you can do chunks. Doesn't matter, really. It's all tasty. Don't sweat it! (I'm not really sure why I ever specified thin, because lately I've been doing sorta chunky, and it's delish!)
Josie M. January 13, 2015
This pie was great, however I made a few changes. I used lard instead of vegetable shortening, used 100% goldrush apples (highly recommended), and left out all but a dash of the nutmeg. Fantastic!
Jelena December 29, 2014
I was wondering what is the benefit of using butter and vegetable shortening in the crust vs just butter?
Shelly May 29, 2015
butter alone will cause the crust to burn quickly or brown to fast. Nobody wants a burnt crust yuck!
Christie October 27, 2015
That's not exactly true...I've used a 100% butter pie crust for years, and have never had burning problems--not even once. If you keep the butter cold, the crust will be flaky and taste delicious. Smitten Kitchen has a good tutorial.
Vick November 24, 2014
I've had the pleasure of eating mrs Larkins apple pie. We ordered one for Christmas dinner last year and it was a hit! This is THE quintessential apple pie.
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 23, 2014
I'd like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone making this pie this week. Hope you all enjoy!
Ian November 17, 2014
When making the pie crust should I use frozen butter that I always have stored in my freezer, or would it be to hard and won't work in when using the stand mixer.
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 18, 2014
Ian, take the butter out of the freezer for 5 minutes or so, or transfer to fridge the day before. Then it will be just right.
terrytj November 13, 2014
How can I best make the crust if I don't own a food processor?
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 13, 2014
You can cut the butter in with a fork, or a pastry blender, or two knives. Or your fingers, even, then chill the flour/ butter mixture before adding water.
terrytj November 14, 2014
Thanks mrslarkin. I have successfully made pie crusts using a fork. Just needed some reassurance.
terrytj November 14, 2014
ps If water is added after chilling, could that cause the dough to be handled too much? or is a flakey crust the result of not over mixing fat & flour?
Author Comment
mrslarkin November 14, 2014
Hi Terry, I don't think adding the water to the chilled flour mixture will cause the dough to be handled to much. I do think the best advice is be gentle with your mixing when adding the water, regardless of method used. The food processor is great because it cuts the butter in super fast. I sometimes use the stand mixer with great success - again, aiming not to overmix. You want to see bits and bobs of fat, so the general idea is to not fully incorporate the fat into the flour. This is what makes the dough flaky. As the bits of fat in the dough melt when the pie is baking, it creates pockets, or layers, sort of, of air, and that's what creates the flakiness. What I sometimes do is, after laying the crust into the pie pan, stick the pan with the bottom crust in the fridge to firm up the fat a little. Then, fill your pie, top it, and bake it. You can also chill the whole assembled pie. This will also help to keep the pretty shape of your crimping. I know some folks who successfully freeze whole unbaked pies, and bake them from frozen. I have never done this, however. I hope this was helpful. Good luck!!
terrytj November 14, 2014
Thank you so much. My mother (& her mother) made perfect pie crusts & I am still somewhat of a novice pie baker but I am determined to learn to make good crusts. These tips will help. Thanks!!
Christine O. November 5, 2014
seriously, who eats pie after 11pm you are goin' to get chubby!

sounds soo good I'll let you get fat!

Javi October 20, 2014
I pulled this pie out of the oven about an hour ago...and I just had a slice. SO GOOD! SOO SOO GOOD!!! and so easy! xo
Christine O. May 3, 2014
who doesn't like apple pie? I know that's a stupid question.
Marianna April 7, 2014
I know, this might sound as a stupid question for an inexperienced person, but this is what I am. I would like to make all-butter dough. What is your suggestion Mrslarkin? Do I just replace shortening with butter and put 11+6 oz butter? Thank you
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 7, 2014
Marianna, I've never tried this recipe with all butter, so I'm not sure. But here's a good recipe for all-butter crust from lapadia, a trusted cook on the site:
drbabs April 8, 2014
Marianna, when I tested the recipe, I used all butter in place of shortening and it was great. Have fun! It's truly scrumptious.
Leah D. March 6, 2014
can you make the night before or do you think it is best made the day of?
Author Comment
mrslarkin April 7, 2014
You can definitely make this the day before.