Apple Butter Pie

September 14, 2010
4 Ratings
Photo by Jenny Haung
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8-10 slices
Author Notes

Pies have always seemed so labor intensive to me. Because of that I have always leaned towards cobblers, clafloutis and other deserts. Now that I have an apple orchard and many different kinds of berries I felt it was time to explore the world of pies.

I started by pulling out all my baking text books to learn about pie crusts. For me, I think a double crust pies are about the crust to fruit or filling ratio. Think about it, if you have a heaping amount of fruit with a thin crust you may has well have saved the effort and made a cobbler. The other things to consider are flakey, mealy or short dough. I happen to think mealy. Why because it cuts better and in general seems more tender to me. Lastly, to get this crust to filling ratio, I think the pie needs to be baked in an 8 inch tin that is styled after, or just use, the foil pie tins. A couple of reasons, once again it is shallow so the fruit doesn’t overwhelm the crust and vice versa and, finally, because the rim is the proper rim for crimping the crust or even a rope roll like an empanada might have. There is also no reason to refrigerate the dough as long as you roll it out right away.

In this crust I use a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening because for me, unless I am going to use lard, it is the only way to get the right texture and rise to the crust. Yes, the crust needs to rise just a little like a biscuit. If it does this than it will be tender, yummy and delicious just like grandma used to make. *This pie is based loosely on the idea of a Fig Newton and as such should be eaten with coffee for breakfast or as an after dinner dessert served with a nice sherry. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

Using a combo of butter and shortening produces a tender and flakey crust. And making it with frozen butter in the food processor is a snap. The lovely, smooth filling is a wonderful step up from plain, old apple pie. - Stephanie —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the pie crust
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, left in a stick and frozen rock solid
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground salt
  • 3/4 cup Spectrum Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Shortening
  • 6 tablespoons ice cold water (up to 10, if needed)
  • 1 egg white, for glazing the crust, beaten with a tablespoon of water
  • For the filling
  • 2 1/4 cups well spiced apple butter, homemade or bought at the farmers market
  • 3 large eggs, plus the yolk from above
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar until frothy. Add the apple butter and whisk to combine. Set it aside.
  2. Place a rack 1/3 from the top of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Get your mis en place together for the pie crust. Have a 8-inch pie pan ready.
  3. Place the grater attachment into the bowl of a food processor and grate the frozen butter into the bowl. Immediately remove the grater and put the plastic dough or metal chopping blade in place. Add the flour, salt and shortening.
  4. Pulse the mixture until you have coarse crumbs. Start adding the water and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. It will still be partly floury crumbly with some wet cous cous looking dough in the center.
  5. Dump the dough onto the counter. It will be crumbly still. Kneed it until it is smooth and hydrated, adding sprinkles of water if necessary. Divide the dough in half. Flatten it, then dust both sides with flour. Dust the countertop too. Roll out the bottom crust by setting your pin in the middle of a round and roll forward. Pick up the pin and place it back in the center and then roll backward.
  6. Turn the dough 90 degrees and place the pin in the middle and roll away from you and then lift the pin and place it back in the center and roll it pulling backwards. Don't be afraid to dust the countertop with more flour if necessary, remember the counter top side of the dough will be down so the flour will be absorbed by the filling. If you are applying the same amount of pressure on each push of the pin you should wind up with a round dough bottom.
  7. Using the rolling pin as the center gently roll the crust around the pin and the place it onto the pie pan. Gently push, pull and adjust the crust so that you have overhang all the way around the tin. Fill the pie with the filling.
  8. Roll out the top crust just the same.
  9. Brush some of the egg wash around the edges of the bottom crust to act as glue. Unroll the top crust and using the rolling pin gently roll it across the top of the pie to seal it.
  10. Using a sharp knife run it around the outside edges of the pie tin cutting off the excess crust. Crimp the edges of the dough, brush the top with the egg wash and then slice a couple of small vents in the middle of the pie. Slice the vents after the egg wash otherwise you will seal the vents. Let the pie sit for 3 to 5 minutes so the crust absorbs the wash.
  11. Place the pie on a sheet tray in case it overflows and then place it into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
  12. Rotate the pie, turn the heat down to 325° F and then bake for another 35 minutes. Cool completely. Serve and slice.
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51 Reviews

Mom November 22, 2019
Dear Mr Hirschfeld,
I am sorry to say that, though it sounds as if it would be delicious, I haven't made this pie, and I won't. Why? Because the writing and proofreading in this article would be flunked by any 6th grade teacher worth her salt! If I can't trust you to spell "knead", you can bet I'm never going to trust your baking knowledge. I counted 16 spelling and/or grammar errors, most of which my second-grader granddaughter also identified. This is thoroughly unprofessional, and that destroys your credibility as an "expert" on anything.
Repair and republish this, and you'll have something great.
blake T. November 22, 2022
This is hilarious. My mom would totally do the same thing!
Kyle G. November 26, 2018
This is fantastic! Made it for Thanksgiving 2018 and even non-apple pie fans loved this. I used Erin McDowell's Apple Butter recipe (which she used to coat a ginger cake) because it was very simple and had a nice tangy bite to it. BUT THE CRUST. Seriously wonderful recipe!
Nan G. October 14, 2018
I don't know why but nobody in our household liked this pie!
Maybe they're spoiled?
Susan October 2, 2018
Every Fall I make about a half dozen mini apple pies, and freeze them to bake later. This recipe sounds AMAZING and I’m wondering if it’s freezer-friendly. Anybody?
HRH December 2, 2017
Tom, I made this pie for Thanksgiving, and it was a YUUUUGE hit! I made the roasted apple butter recipe: and my standard pate brisee crust, and it was all scrumptious. <3
thirschfeld December 2, 2017
You just made my weekend
Carolina December 22, 2013
Wow. No one has commented on this in 3 years! This was absolutely perfect. Your comments were spot on, regarding the crust to filling ratio, and I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of mealy vs flakey. I have never found the "perfect" apple pie, much less made one. But this... this comes oh so close. Thank you!
Midnite B. October 10, 2010
Have never heard of apple butter pie before. Will be giving it a try after I make the apple butter. Thanks for the recipe.
theicp September 19, 2010
This looks like a little slice of Shangri La.
thirschfeld September 16, 2010
Hey now, I have been busy working on a plum butter and LTC I have been looking at you very nice plum butter. Here it is
aargersi September 16, 2010
you have to know that we want the plum butter recipe too right? Do NOT make me sic LizTheEnforcerChef on you!
aargersi September 16, 2010
Allright pal, we asked nicely, now it's thumb bending time. Cough up the apple butter recipe. (was that scary? :-) HOOK 'EM!!!! ps love the pie!!
Lizthechef September 16, 2010
I'll hold him down while you grab his thumbs ;)
thirschfeld September 16, 2010
by the way thumb bending is fine just no hog bites or Dutch rubs.
mrslarkin September 16, 2010
Glad someone asked thirschfeld for the super-secret apple butter recipe! what's a dutch rub? is that like a noogie?
thirschfeld September 17, 2010
Mrs L a Dutch rub = noogie and it isn't a super secret recipe I was just being lazy. Like when I tried to copy and paste my pie crust recipe and it took twice as long to get the right result.
MyCommunalTable September 16, 2010
I have actually used the Spectrum shortening before. I really liked it. If it is the one I am thinking about, it is the one that I used that was safe for my son's dairy allergy. I have also used Earth Balance., which I like and I feel so much healthier then lard. Great recipe.
Sagegreen September 16, 2010
Love your headnote and recipe! Thanks, thirschfeld.
thirschfeld September 16, 2010
thanks sagegreen
TiggyBee September 15, 2010
This looks wonderful!
thirschfeld September 15, 2010
thank you TiggyBee
Hilarybee September 15, 2010
This might be blasphemy- but is there a substitution for the shortening? (even if it is the "healthier" version, I don't want to use it). Coconut oil maybe? It is a solid at room temperature- but it might impart a coconuty flavor on the crust. Any other suggestions?
thirschfeld September 15, 2010
I might just try doubling the butter but I would cube it cold and not grate it frozen. I don't think the crust will be as tender but the idea of a mealy dough is to coat the flour with fat so it doesn't develop gluten and to protect the crust from absorbing the filling. No worries, it isn't blashpemy, we all make choices when we cook and none of them are wrong.
AntoniaJames September 15, 2010
You have to reduce the liquid used in making the crust when substituting butter for shortening or lard because the butter is only 80% fat (the rest is water), whereas the others are 100% fat. I don't have a precise formula, but there might be one out there if you look hard enough. I would think that the coconut oil would work. I've heard too that the coconut-y flavor isn't that pronounced when cooked, but I have never tried it. Good luck! ;o)
thirschfeld September 15, 2010
What AJ is saying about the butter is right but if you double the butter it would be less overall fat than originally called for and therefore the same amount of liquid would be appropriate. To be on the safe side go with 5 tablespoons of water. The other day I made this crust and it took six tablespoons of water but I have made it where it takes all 10.
Sunchowder September 15, 2010
Beautiful recipe!!! I will be posting this for my customers to use with my Apple Butter, can't wait to try this!
thirschfeld September 15, 2010
Thanks Sunchowder and I am honored.
testkitchenette September 15, 2010
thirschfeld September 15, 2010
thanks testkitchenette
cheese1227 September 14, 2010
I love the way you made the apple butter into a custard. We've got loads of apple butter around here -- as well as pumpkin butter. I am thinking this will work for my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie!
thirschfeld September 14, 2010
thanks cheese1227. I am guessing pumpkin butter would be great, or plum or pear.
monkeymom September 14, 2010
Wow! Would love to try this but I'd have to hunt down apple butter...something that sounds like fun to make! Might you have a recipe for apple butter? And what is the difference between apple butter and apple sauce?
thirschfeld September 14, 2010
I hope you do try it. I do make apple butter but I didn't post the recipe because I always felt people have their favorite, either home made or store bought. It is much easier to find than you think. Apple sauce is looser and not as thick and apple butter is generally heavily spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.
adamnsvetcooking September 14, 2010
I always like your pictures and recipes! This one is no exception! Great recipe :)
thirschfeld September 14, 2010
thanks adamnsvetcooking
nannydeb September 14, 2010
That looks tasty!
thirschfeld September 14, 2010
thanks nannydeb, how is life in Austin, Hook em'