What’s more American than apple pie? Not much (except for maybe this Bacon-Apple Pie recipe… see #4 below). Over the next two weeks, we’ll be counting down to the 4th with some of our best recipes to help you celebrate America the Beautiful, and there’s no better way to begin than with America’s favorite pie.
Here is a round-up of our best all-American apple pies, plus a few tips for making and serving the very best.
Our Top 5 All-Star Apple Pies:
Really, making apple pie doesn’t get much easier than this 5-star skillet pie recipe. Simply toss apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar together, and spoon over a refrigerated pie crust fitted in a cast-iron skillet. Top with the other crust and bake to golden gooey goodness.
The only thing better than one crust is two. A double crust locks in the apples’ natural juices as the pie bakes for full-on apple flavor. Tossing the apples with apple juice keeps them from browning as you peel and slice them, and it adds a boost of apple essence.
#3. Apple Hand Pies
These hand pies stuffed full with diced apples and cinnamon-sugar are adorably delicious. While the process is a little more involved, both the charming aesthetic and pie-on-the-go portability are well worth a little extra crimping. And, as if we needed something to make them even better–check out those star cutouts. We’re gettin’ festive up in here. #murica
#4. Bacon-Apple Pie
This meaty lattice top is certainly an eye-catcher, but hey–it’s surprisingly simple to make. With only 12 minutes of prep time and less than 2 handfuls of ingredients (many of which you’ll like have in your pantry), this sweet-and-savory apple pie is an amazing way to celebrate bacon the beautiful (and America).
In this 4-ingredient dessert, apple pie filling is poured into hollowed apples and topped with an easy lattice pie crust. It’s an easy and playful way to satisfy that apple-pie craving with significantly-less hassle (plus, the kids will love helping you hollow out the apples). These make for super fun personal pies in a party situation.
Not a pie-dough pro yet? Nervous about experimenting with fillings? No worries, keep calm. Just avoid these 5 common mistakes, and you’re halfway to pie perfection.
How to Avoid Ruining Your Pie:
#1. Do not use room-temperature ingredients or warm kitchen tools on your dough.
It’s vital that both your tools and ingredients are cold. Room temperature butter might be what your favorite chocolate chip recipe calls for, but it’s not the ticket to perfect pie dough. Pro tip: Toss your mixing bowl and flour into the freezer a few minutes before you start working.
#2. Do not manhandle your dough.
You need to use a gentle but firm touch when working with pastry dough or a crumb crust. If you manhandle your dough, you’ll prompt the gluten in the dough to go to work too early, and you’ll end up with a tough crust. To seal the mixture to the pan for crumb crusts, use the pads of your fingertips (pressed together) and push with gentle firmness along the bottom of the pan.
#3. Do not whisk, scrape.
When cooking custard for pie fillings, please, oh please, do not whisk on the stove top. Instead, use a rubber spatula to constantly scrape along the entire parameter of the pot using a figure 8 motion. That way, you don’t miss any nooks or crannies and the constant movement will leave less opportunity for clumping to occur.
#4. Do not wait to cook your apple pie apples in the oven.
The secret to keeping your apple slices from turning to mush in your crust is to give them a little pre-baking warm up. In a large, heat-proof bowl, pour boiling hot water over top of the apple slices so it just covers them, and let them sit for 10 minutes before patting them dry.
#5. Do not use an aluminum pie pan.
This one is more of a “try to avoid” tip. If you can, always use a glass pie plate so you can ensure the bottom is browned to perfection and cooked through. You can easily ruin a delicious pie with a pale, undercooked crust.