I’m not really sure where the expression “easy as pie” came from.
Because – let’s just be honest here – pie isn’t the easiest dessert to make. Pie crust can be temperamental, and learning to roll out the dough does take a little bit of practice. The only truly easy pie is the one you pick up at the supermarket, but I’ve never met a store-bought pie that came anywhere close to rivaling the deliciousness of a homemade pie.
So today, just in time for Thanksgiving, we’re making homemade apple pie from scratch. And – as far as pie goes – this recipe makes it pretty easy. I will admit that it’s still not the easiest dessert ever, but this recipe – made with easy-to-roll-out dough and 5-ingredient filling – is a sure-fire way to have kitchen-temper-tantrum-free homemade pie this Thanksgiving.
Let’s get to work!
Perfectly Easy Apple Pie from Scratch
1 pie crust, refrigerated
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T lemon juice
Prepare the pie crust dough in advance. The dough will need to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours. You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to assemble your pie.
Peel the apples using a vegetable peeler or a small, sharp knife and slice each apple into 16 wedges. Place the apples in a large bowl and add sugar, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Stir until the apples are well coated. Place the bowl in the fridge.
Remove the two disks of pie crust from the fridge and place on a cooling rack. Allow them to sit for about 15 minutes so they come to a cool room temperature. The dough should still be slightly firm, but not so cold and firm that it cracks significantly when rolled. (Note: If the dough feels soft or mushy when held or pressed with your thumb, it has become too warm and will need to be re-refrigerated and cooled down before it can be rolled out.)
Generously sprinkle flour on a pastry cloth or counter and onto your rolling pin so that the dough won’t stick when rolled. Place the first disk of dough onto the floured surface and roll the dough into a circle until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. While rolling, be sure to alternate directions and roll your rolling pin beyond the edges of the dough to ensure an even thickness throughout. The circle should be a few inches larger than the diameter of your pie plate. Carefully lift the rolled out crust by sliding your arms underneath it and gently place the crust into the pie plate.
Remove the bowl of apples from the fridge. Arrange apple slices around the crust until the bottom of the plate is covered, and then pile the rest of the apples on top.
Next, sprinkle more flour onto your pastry cloth or counter and roll the second disk of pie crust. Again, your crust should be 1/4 inch thick and a few inches larger than the diameter of your plate. Carefully lift the dough and gently place it over the apples. Fold the edges of the top crust under the edges of the bottom crust around the edge of the plate. Seal the edges of the crust by either pressing down all around the edges using the tines of a fork or by crimping the edges, as I did here. (Note: To crimp the edges of the pie crust, gently pinch the edges of the dough between your ring finger, index finger, and thumb to create and rippled effect. Work your way around the edges of the pie.) Make three small slices in the center of the top crust so that air can escape while the pie bakes.
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Bake the pie at 450°F for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake the pie for 20 more minutes, until the crust is a dark golden brown. If your crust browns quickly while baking, carefully but quickly place tin foil around the edges of the pie to keep them protected as the pie continues to bake.
Serve the pie warm. If not eating immediately, allow to cool completely, cover with foil, and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*For the tastiest pie, I recommend a mixture of apples. You’ll want to use mostly sweet baking apples, plus a few tart apples. For this pie I used a mixture of jonagold, mutsu, and idared apples.