I've been baking apple pies with my grandma's recipe for almost 30 years since I was a little girl. My sister and I even baked dozens of pies on our summer breaks when our apple tree was ripe every August. We walked around our neighborhood and sold them door to door and each summer they would ask us when we're going to have our pies ready again. I've used this recipe so much that I know it by memory, like my childhood phone number or the pledge of allegiance.
When I gave it to my mother-in-law, she called me the next week saying that she's never received so many compliments before. The filling is the perfect combination of flavors, not too sweet, not to raw, but it's the perfect flaky crust that brings it all together! I've been holding onto this secret recipe forever, purposely not giving it out to anyone because I love the idea of having THE BEST KEPT apple pie recipe. But as you get older you realize that life is worth sharing the GOOD STUFF so that others can enjoy it anytime too.
I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone else. But whenever you make it or share it, instead of pawning it off as your own, please use the honor system and honor where it came from. Let them know where you got it, to give credit where credit is due. Thank you.
Below is my Grandma's recipe for The Best Apple Pie in the Universe
I've made my own healthier updates to this recipe; which don't include using any butter. At All. Yes, it can be done! Let me know what you think, especially with my healthier additions. Enjoy!!
BEST APPLE PIE IN THE UNIVERSE
Turn the oven on to 400 degrees and let it heat up while you're making the pie. This will help the pie bake consistently by having an evenly heated oven. (The pie will need to bake for 50 minutes, so be sure you won't need the oven for other things during this time.)
PIE FILLING INGREDIENTS
3/4 - 1 cup Sugar
(reduced sugar: 1/4 cup Brown Sugar + 2 tbsp Sugar)
2 tbsp Flour, sifted
1/2-1 tsp Cinnamon (I use 2-3 tsp for extra health benefits)
2 tbsp Butter, room temp
(substitute butter with same amount of Coconut Oil for healthier fats)
6-8 Granny Smith Apples
My Healthy Add-Ins (optional):
1 - 2 tbsp each Ground Flaxseed and/or Chia Seeds
1/2 - 1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 - 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 cup Pecans, finely grounded
(I double grind them once and then put them back in and grind again, but if you'd like it a little extra crunchy then just grinding them one time will leave a little crunch)
PIE FILLING DIRECTIONS
Peel the skin from the apples. Soak the peeled apples in a salt water bath for 10 minutes, use a ratio of 1/2 tsp salt per cup of water.
Pat and dry the apples. Pour out the salt water bath and dry out the bowl so you can use the same bowl. Slice the apples into bite sized pieces. You can use an apple slicer, but I prefer to rough cut them with a paring knife and just slice off bits of apples until you reach the core.
Once you cut up all of the apples into the bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients to this bowl and stir it all together. Put this bowl in the fridge while you're making the pie crust.
2 cups Flour, sifted
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
(substitute vegetable oil with same amount of Coconut Oil for healthier fats - this will make the crust crunchier & flakey instead of soft & flakey, but it's still delicious and better for you)
PIE CRUST DIRECTIONS
Mix the Flour and Salt together in a medium bowl. Then mix the Vegetable Oil and Water together in a measuring cup. You might be saying "Wait a minute....Oil & Water don't mix!" You're right, at least not immediately. So this is the most important step to making the best crust; which we all know is what makes the pie. So follow this step carefully!
Once you have the oil and water in a measuring cup, they will separate. If using Coconut Oil it will be thick so I microwave it for 10 seconds to help it liquify. Get a fork and stir vigorously to make a temporary emulsion. This works better if you have a glass jar with a tight lid, like an old mayonnaise jar. Pour the water and oil inside, tighten the lid and shake vigorously as you would a vinaigrette. But if you stop stirring and let it sit for even just 20 seconds, they will separate again.
As soon as you finish mixing them and you have a temporary emulsion, immediately pour it into your flour/salt mixture and stir it quickly. If your oil and water separate, mix it vigorously again until they are consistent before adding to the flour/salt bowl. Remember this is the most crucial step to getting the perfect crust!
Mix the dough together and cut this in half with a knife. Sprinkle some flour on your counter top, put half of the dough on it, smash it down with your hand and then sprinkle some more flour on top. Get your rolling pin out and start rolling it into a circular shape to fit into your pie dish. Roll it out to 1/8" thickness. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, sprinkle more flour on the dough to keep it from sticking.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Spray or rub a light layer of oil on your pie dish, then transfer this dough carefully into the pie dish. If the dough breaks or separates, you can patch it up by pinching the dough together. Get a knife to trim the dough edges that overhang the pie dish. Use these scraps to make any patches to your pie crust or set aside and use to make a cinnamon/sugar turnover. ;)
Get the apple pie filling out of the fridge and pour it into the pie crust. You may have extra that won't fit and that's ok. Use the extra pie filling to dice it up finely and add it into pancake batter, oatmeal or muffins!
Put the pie dish in your fridge to keep cool while you're rolling out the other half of the dough. Otherwise the filling will start to melt and get drippy and could moisten the dough; which would make it soggy.
Once the other half of the dough is rolled out, take out the pie dish and carefully transfer the rolled dough on top. Make sure it's not too tight or too stretched out on top or it will tear. You'll want to gently pat the dough into the divets of the apples.
Once the top dough is how you want it, get a knife and cut the excess dough hanging over the pie dish. Set the scraps aside. Pinch the two ends of the dough together at the edges. You can make fancy shapes doing this with your fingers, I prefer to use a fork to make fork indentions all around. This will seal the dough together so pie filling doesn't leak out the edges.
Next use a knife to cut some slits all around to let the steam escape during the baking process. You can also create "holes" in your top crust for the steam to escape by using a Lattice Crust (below) or it's fun to cut out small shapes using a cookie cutter.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top and put it in the oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.
USING THE EXTRA PIE CRUST SCRAPS
Bunch them up together, roll them out using flour as needed so it doesn't stick to the counter or rolling pin. You can rub a little butter or coconut oil on it, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar all over and then fold it in half. Bake at the same time as the pie, but only for about 10 minutes. I loved it when my mom did this for my sister and I; and now my boys love it when I do it for them.
If you still have apple pie filling leftover, use it to make these Apple Raisin Muffins