Apple pie. It’s in a league of its own. And for such a highly revered dessert, it’s very forgiving. There are thousands of recipes and renditions of “traditional” apple pie being celebrated all over the country. From the type of crust, to the variety and cut of the apples, to the spices and toppings — apple pie lends itself generously to adaptation.
I’ve always enjoyed this dessert simply because it heralds the coming of fall. And as if a buttery, flaky crust filled to the brim with ripe, cinnamon apples wasn’t enough — the smell! When an apple pie is baking, everything, and I mean everything…is right with the world.
But I have a confession. When there’s a steaming slice of apple pie on a plate in front of me, there’s only one thing going through my mind: do I save the crust for last and power through the filling, or do I go straight for the crust, scoop up some of the filling for a perfect crust/apple ratio and toss the leftover mush? I know…terrible.
This dilemma has had me tweaking apple pie recipes for years. I’ve sliced the apples thinner, dried them before baking, topped them with crumble instead of a second crust to let more moisture escape during the bake — the list goes on. The thinly sliced apples definitely improved things, and minimizing the amount of butter and sugar I added to the filling kept the goop-factor fairly low — but there was still something missing. I wanted that golden, savory crust all throughout the pie. I wanted every single bite to have that flaky, toasty layer just like the prized edges I always saved for last. I also didn’t want to keep compromising the filling. I wanted sweet, tart apples cloaked in a rich, smoothly spiced sauce — and I wanted that marvelous blend to exist in a thin layer between beautifully golden crusts. Multiply that delightful little combo by three, and you get what I’m calling the Crust Lover’s Layered Apple Pie. You could also call it Lasagna-Style Apple Pie — if you’re able to shake the image of tomato sauce mixing with apples and pie crust.
This pie has 3 crusts and 3 thin layers apple filling. It’s literally everything I dreamed it would be. I topped it with a scoop of homemade spiced vanilla whipped cream — and it was incredible.
This is my new go-to apple pie recipe. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did!
Do I have any fellow crust enthusiasts out there? Anyone suffering from the same filling-overload-dilemma? I would love to hear about all of your apple pie woes and delights! Please share in the comments at the bottom!
Where to buy…
the Handcarved Acacia Cake Stand (small) / Anthropologie
the white Latte Bowl / Anthropologie
the Emile Henry Artisan Ruffled Pie Dish / Williams Sonoma
the Red Railroad Stripe Napkin / Ortolan Organic
Crust-Lover’s Layered Apple Pie
For the Crust
75g, or a scant 2/3 cup rye flour
175g or 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 oz. or 1 cup salted butter
1/3 cup or 80 ml cold water
Follow this method for making the crust. It yields such a beautiful flake, and the dough is a dream to work with.
For the Filling
5 medium sweet-tart apples (I used Braeburns)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground clove
6 tbsp. salted butter, chilled and cubed
For the Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cardamom
First, make the crust! Follow this method.
While the dough is chilling, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter your pie plate.
Remove one of the chilled discs of dough from the fridge and divide it in 2 equal parts. Roll them out on a lightly floured surface into two rounds that will fit inside your pie plate. These will be your internal crust layers.
Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightl golden and puffy.
While the internal crusts are cooling, adjust your oven temperature to 475 degrees F.
Core, peel and thinly slice your apples (I use this nifty little gadget to do it all at once), put them in a large bowl and add the sugar and spices. Stir with a wooden spoon or toss with your hands until the apples are evenly coated.
Remove the remaining disc of chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. Keep it as round as you can!
Transfer the dough to your pie plate and trim the edges, leaving about 1/2 inch of overhang that you can fold under and press to make a perfectly smooth edge.
Spread a layer of apples, about 1/2-3/4-inch thick, on the bottom of the pie crust. Dot this layer with 2 tbsp. of cubed butter, and top with one of your pre-baked crust rounds. Repeat this for the next 2 layers. The very top layer will be apples dotted with the last 2 tbsp. of cubed butter. Make sure you use enough apples on that top layer to hide the crust layer beneath it.
Place your pie on a rack positioned in the bottom third of the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Start checking the pie around the 25 minute mark to make sure the crust and apples aren’t browning too quickly.
When the pie is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
While the pie is cooling, make the whipped cream. Combine the cream, sugar, vanilla and spices in a medium bowl and beat with a hand mixer on high for about 2-3 minutes until the cream thickens enough to hold its shape. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. I suggest adding a healthy scoop to each slice of pie as you serve them.
If you try this recipe and take a picture of it, please share it on Instagram or Steller and tag me @tifforelie so I can see! I would love to know how it turned out for you! Find me on IG here, and on Steller here!