This homemade apple pie not only has twice the apples of most apple pies, but it also has a more intense apple flavor, avoids ‘tall crust, low fruit’ syndrome, and cuts beautifully into even pieces. Seem unlikely? Or maybe difficult? Well, you are in luck because it’s all true and I manage it with one easy, extra step.
Apple pie is a dessert I have made many, many times over the years. It is by far my husband’s favorite dessert to the point that he has told me that my apple pie is the reason he married me. I’m okay with that because, not only do I love making pies and enjoy making apple pie, but I make a darn good apple pie. And an apple pie that has become even better since I began making this deep dish apple pie.
I started making apple pies with my mom years ago. I was in charge of the filling while mom took care of the crust. These days my daughter is in charge of the filling, and I make the crust, though this pie I made all myself since she was at school. (This is my anniversary apple pie that I made last week.)
A few pointers before we get to the secret of this pie: First, use a variety of apples. That way you’ll have some soft and some firm, some sweet and some tart, and thereby create layers of apple flavor. Second, fill a large bowl with water and a bit of lemon juice. Peel the apples and put them in the water and then slice them and put the slices in the water. Less time in the air = less browning for the apples. Third, don’t be shy with the cinnamon. Yes, is such a thing as too much of anything and that includes cinnamon, but most recipes use way too little.
Did you see those apples up there? There were 10 of them and some of them were pretty, darn big. Those apples amounted to about 12 cups of apples. That is twice the amount you can usually put in a 9-inch pie. Hence, the name. 🙂
And that jellied stuff on top of the apples in the pie crust? That is intense apple flavor. Yum!
So what’s the secret to this deep dish apple pie? I’ve probably teased you long enough. The secret is that you cook down the apples before putting them in the crust and then, and this is key, strain out the juice from the cooked apples and cook that down too.
Cooked apples + cooked juices = twice the apples, twice the flavor, and a pie that is packed with fruit.
Okay, there is one other small secret. And that is bourbon. Bourbon added to apples is a very good thing. A dessert basically doesn’t get any more American than apple pie with bourbon and which makes this pie even more appropriate for Thanksgiving. I will certainly be making another of these pies for Thanksgiving next month, though that one will probably be a 10-inch pie so there is enough for everyone else once my husband snags his share.
One thing I haven’t talked about here is pie crust. And that’s for two reasons. First, pie crust is a broad topic and really needs its own post. Second, everyone who makes pies has a crust recipe or two they love, and I recommend you use whatever crust you feel comfortable with for the pie. I will say that my current favorite is One Pie Dough to Rule Them All. Not only does it have an excellently geeky Lord of the Rings reference, but it’s the one all butter crust that works for me without it tearing or causing me to tear my hair out. If you need some general tips and pointers for crust, here is a nice tutorial. Though I would like to note that I have made a fair number of pies over the years (not just apple, I love all the pies), and my crust has never, ever looked like those beautiful process pictures she has in the post. And yet it all seems to work, so don’t be discouraged if your crust looks a bit shaggy.
I have a few product recommendations before we get to the recipe.
- I find a tapered rolling pin to be the best and easiest way to roll out a pie crust. My husband made me mine, so you can’t buy that one, but this maple rolling pin is almost exactly the same as mine. (Ignore the description. It’s a solid piece of wood and has no bearings or handles.)
- I use this pretty, deep dish pie plate with handles on it for making pies. I like how handles make it so easy to transfer the pie to the oven and then to the counter.
- Something I find exceedingly useful for all baking is a bench scraper. I love this one for its all-metal construction, making it easy to clean without any parts that will degrade, and for its little ruler which I use to check sizes all the time, and for its rounded edges so it doesn’t scratch up my working surface.
- And up above, you can see my KitchenAid apple corer and slicer. I don’t like the machines that both peel and slice since I find the slices are too small (though I haven’t tried them all – one I might love), so I peel first and then core and slice. I like this corer since it’s nice and sturdy and has a wide grip.
- 10-12 medium (5 lbs) apples a mix of types, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1 recipe pie dough for a two crust 9-inch pie
In a large cooking pot, mix together the apples with the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Cover the pot and cook the apples over medium heat until they are soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Some may be a little oversoft before the firmer apples are ready. This is okay since the firmer apples will provide the structure for pie.
Once the apples are done, scoop them out with a slotted spoon into a colander set over a bowl, leaving the juices behind in the pot. Add the bourbon to the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Pour any more juices that have collected in the bowl into the pot. Reduce the juices to a thick syrup, about 7-8 minutes.
Let the apple and juices cool to room temperature, about an hour. You can do this part the day ahead if you wish.
Preheat oven to 425F.
Roll out the bottom crust of the pie. Once it's large enough, about 12 inches around, press it into the pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch.
Fill the crust with the cooled apples and syrup.
Roll out the top crust and place over the top of the pie. Trim it to match the bottom crust and pinch it all the way around to seal the edges. Add some vents in the top crust.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375F. Place a baking pan below the pie to catch any stray juices that bubble out. Continue baking for about 30 minutes more, or until the juices are bubbling out of the top and the bottom is well browned.
Let the pie cool for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before slicing it.
- Cooking the apples down may take a bit longer than 20 minutes, depending on how quickly your pot heats up and what sort of apples you use. When they are done, even the firmest apples should be a bit soft. Don't even worry a minute if the softer apples have become mush.
- One thing about this pie (so long as the apples are sufficiently cooked down) is that it cuts like a dream. Ever wanted a perfectly sliced piece of apple pie? This is the recipe which I use to achieve that.
- Since I posted this recipe, I have changed my favorite pie crust recipe. I now have a super easy, super flaky pie crust which is almost impossible to screw up. It is so forgiving and it rolls like a dream.