Once upon time in a college town called Towson, Maryland; an angelic culinary student worked at ice cream store named Moxley’s. She developed this Apple-Cinnamon Pie with a Lattice Crust that our customers raved about. They’d often order it with their favorite scoop of our full fat ice cream- a la mode; but the majority of the time it was ordered alone.
When it came time for the gorgeous baker to leave for basic training, she and the owner argued over whether or not he owned the recipe. The baker reasoned with the cruel owner that since she had brought the recipe to the store with her, it was (and would stay) hers. He figured since his customers loved it, it should be his. She told him he could buy it. He refused. The baker told him to kick rocks because he didn’t pay
me her enough to begin with, and it wasn’t in my her contract that she had to leave my her recipes. He got mad, she kept her recipe, and she lived happily ever after.
Now I serve this fairy tale Apple-Cinnamon Pie at least once a month to my family, but during the holiday season it’s especially on heavy rotation.
Which Apple to Use?
I make my Apple-Cinnamon Pies with only one type of apple: tart Granny Smiths. McIntosh apples, to me at least, are too sweet to be baked into this pie’s sweet cinnamon syrup. Even if you are a fan of super-sweet desserts, I wouldn’t recommend using McIntosh in this recipe because of the sweet cinnamon filling.
Gala, Honey Crisp (if you’re rolling in dough, no pun intended), or Jonagold are as sweet as I would go in this recipe. Golden Delicious will break down a bit too much for the bake time of this pie, so avoid those for the sake of structure. Give Granny Smiths a chance, though; I know they’ll make you happy.
Ground cinnamon, a few other spices, sugar, a punch from some fresh lemon juice, and cornstarch to thicken the syrup is everything that goes into creating the filling. Mealy Pie Dough, or this Flaky Pie Dough are the best recipes to bake the apple-cinnamon filling in.
Prep the Apples
Rinse off your apples, but don’t worry too much about removing the protective wax film. You’re going to peel and discard the skins anyway. Use a sharp paring knife to lop off the tops and bottoms of seven large (eight if you want a really full pie) Granny Smith apples. Have a large pot nearby to chunk your peeled and sliced apples into.
Starting at the top of your semi-peeled apple, peel the rest of the apple- cutting away, in a downward motion, with your knife. Alternatively, you can use a vegetable peeler. Peels can be discarded, or thrown into your compost bin.
Cut the apple in half, and then into quarters. You don’t have to do all of this cutting in your hands. Truth be told, you should do it all on the cutting board; unlike your reckless savage of a friend (me).
Coring the Apples
If you prefer to cut the apples by hand, cut away the stem portion of the peel (at the top of the wedge), as shown.
The great thing about how apples are designed is that they come with a guideline on where to cut to remove the core. Use the tip of your paring knife to cut a half-moon out of the center of the apple. Midway through your cut, the core will pop out.
Finally, cut away the bottom calyx portion of the apple wedge. You’ve just cored your first piece of apple by hand!
My Opinion on Coring Gadgets
There are other gadgets out there that will require less cutting to core an apple. There are apple corers on the market that you plunge through your peeled apple which will extract the core in one piece. I’m not a fan of these because the core tends to get stuck in the tube and it slows down my progress. It’s also a one-use tool which is, typically, a no-no in my kitchen. If it doesn’t have more than one purpose, I probably won’t buy it.
There are also apple corers and slicers like this one. I’m not a fan of these either; only because the bottom of the apple always gets stuck and you have to flip the apple upside down, or press it through while holding it inches from the cutting board. Again, a waste of time and more hassle than it’s worth.
Lastly, you have these peeler, corer, and slicers in one. I have to admit, these are pretty cool, and I do have one. But! They create a lot of mess, the peeler likes to gouge out chunks of the apples, and you don’t have a say in how thick your slices of apples are. Long story short, mine has dust on it from lack of use.
The paring knife is my preferred method. Whichever method you prefer- go for it. Just peel, core…
…and slice. I slice the quartered apples fairly thin (between an eighth to a quarter of an inch thick).
Cook the Apple-Cinnamon Filling
After all of the peeled, cored, and sliced apples are added to your pot; toss in three tablespoon of unsalted butter, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and light brown sugar into the apples using a wooden spoon.
Mix the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and kosher salt together in a prep bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the apples in the pot. Cook the apples for five to six minutes, over moderate heat, until the mixture begins to simmer.
While you’re waiting for the mixture to simmer, combine three tablespoons of Argo cornstarch with a quarter cup of cold water. Stir to create what is known as a “slurry”. This is a liquid that we use in the kitchen to thicken sauces, glazes, or other liquids. It’s what’s going to create the syrup that the apples will be coated in.
Once the liquid, made by the cooked apples, begin to simmer, stir in the slurry.
Bring the apples back up to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens to a thick glaze, as pictured.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the apple mixture to cool completely (overnight if possible).
Roll Out the Pie Dough
When your apples are cool, prep your pie dough by placing the flattened disc of dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the disc, as well, in order to prevent sticking.
Use your rolling pin to roll the disc out into a fourteen inch circle. Feel the dough with your fingertips to make sure it’s the same thickness all over- we call this “reading the dough”. If you feel that one area of the dough is thicker (higher) than another area, roll it a bit more to thin it out. Once the disc is even, fold it in half, and then in quarters. This makes transferring it to the pie plate easier. Alternatively, you can roll it onto the rolling pin, so long as it’s floured well to prevent sticking.
Unfold, or unroll, your pie dough into a ten inch pie plate.
Press the dough into the corners of the pie plate to make sure it’s fully stretched and won’t shrink, or tear, during baking.
Set this aside and repeat the rolling out step with the second disc of dough. Don’t fold this one, though. This circle needs to be cut into strips that are one inch wide using a pastry wheel, or a very sharp knife. We’ll use these to create the lattice crust.
Fill the pie shell with your cooled apple-cinnamon filling. Use a one inch pastry brush to brush a thin layer of egg wash (one egg yolk whisked together with one tablespoon of cold water) onto the rim of the pie dough that has the filling in it.
Weave the Lattice Crust
How to Weave a Lattice Crust has to be the hardest pastry concept to describe. Strips of dough are weaved over and under perpendicular strips until you’ve covered the pie filling. That’s the concept, but how to actually do it is a beast to explain. The simplest way is to place seven strips of dough on to the pie (leave a half-inch space between the strips). Fold back every other strip and place a different strip perpendicular to the original seven strips (the ones that are parallel to each other). After you’ve laid the perpendicular strip down, unfold the strips you folded back earlier. Round two, fold back the strips that you didn’t fold back in the first round. Lay another strip perpendicular to the original seven parallel strips and return the folded back strips to their original (unfolded) positions.
Continue this process until you reach the end of the pie. Add more egg wash between the ends of strips where they reach the rim of the plate. Brush between them and the bottom crust. Press the two together all around the pie plate to ensure top and bottom crusts are sealed completely.
Trim the excess pie dough to make a neat crust. You can use dough scraps to create a braided rim, or flute the crust using your forefinger and thumb. Use cookie cutters to create an intricate design if you want.
Brush, then Chill
Brush the surface of the pie with more egg wash and refrigerate the pie for at least thirty minutes. In order to achieve a crisp crust after baking, you need to get the butter in the pie dough to firm up again. You’ve handled it a lot at this point and it’s too warm to put right into the oven.
While your pie is chillin’, place one of your oven’s racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat your oven to three hundred seventy-five degrees. Grab a sheet pan and line it with foil, or parchment paper. Pie fillings have a tendency to bubble over, which is great because it’s an indicator that it’s done. It’s not great, however, when that sugary syrup begins to burn in your oven. The sheet pan catches the drips and prevents that scorched taste from permeating your pie.
Bake the Pie
After your pie has chilled for the minimum amount of time, remove it from the fridge and allow the pie plate to warm up for five minutes on the counter. Putting an ice cold pie plate (especially a ceramic one) into a raging hot oven could cause it to shatter. After five minutes, put the pie into the oven and bake it for forty-five minutes to an hour. You want the crust to be golden brown and the pie filling to bubble through the lattice. These, along with the baking time, will ensure a perfectly baked pie. Rotate the pie after a half hour to make sure the pie browns evenly. If you find that the pie is browning too much, place a piece of foil over it (lightly) to cover it.
Chill and Enjoy
Once the pie has browned, and is bubbling, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for forty-five minutes to an hour. After cooling, you can serve it immediately, or within three days. It’s safe to store on the countertop, so long as it’s covered (use a cake cloche). You can also store it in the fridge. If you made it in an aluminum (disposable) pie tin, you can wrap it in a layer of plastic film, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, then freeze it for up to two months. When you’re ready to serve it, thaw it in the fridge for twenty-four hours and serve as you please.
Cut you a big ol’ slice. Then thank God I’m on your side and willing to share it with you. I almost got sued for it, after all! Pin this recipe to bake as your next dessert, and be sure to check out my Vanilla Frozen Custard recipe if you like your pie a la mode.
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Apple-Cinnamon Pie with Lattice Crust
- 2 portions mealy or flaky pie dough (or store bought) links in post
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 pounds (about 7-8 large) Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 stick unsalted butter divided
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup cold water
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cold water to make the egg wash. Set aside.
Make the Apple-Cinnamon Filling
- Cut the quartered apples into slices that are 1/8" - 1/4" thick. Put the apple slices into a large pot, or dutch oven.
- Add 3 tablespoons of the unsalted butter, the brown sugar, and the lemon juice to the apples and stir to combine. Begin heating the mixture over medium-high heat to melt the butter and coat the apples.
- Mix the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and kosher salt together in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the apples in the pot. Stir to season the apples.
- Continue cooking the apples over moderate heat, for 5-6 minutes, or until the mixture begins to simmer.
- While you're waiting for the mixture to simmer, combine the cornstarch and the cold water to create a "slurry". Once the apples begin to simmer, stir in the slurry.
- Bring the apples back up to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens to a thick glaze.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the apple mixture to cool completely (overnight if possible).
Roll Out, and Fill, the Pie Dough
- Once the apples are cool, roll out one of the discs of pie dough on a floured surface into a 14" circle. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the disc, as well, in order to prevent sticking.
- Transfer your pie dough to a 10" pie plate, pressing the dough into the corners of the pie plate.
- Roll out the second disc of dough to the same size and cut it into 1" wide strips using a pastry wheel, or a very sharp knife.
- Fill the pie shell with your cooled apple-cinnamon filling and dot the surface of the filling with the remaining butter. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the egg wash onto the rim of the filled pie dough.
Weave the Lattice Crust
- Place 7 strips of dough on to the pie filling (leave a 1/2" space between the strips).
- Fold back every other strip, then place another strip of dough perpendicular to the original 7 strips (the ones that are parallel to each other).
- After you've lain down the perpendicular strip, straighten the folded strips to cover it.
- Fold back the strips that you didn't fold back the first time. Lay a second perpendicular strip 1/2" from the first perpendicular strip and return the folded back strips to their original (unfolded) positions. Continue this process until you reach the end of the pie.
- Add more egg wash under the ends of strips where they meet the rim of the plate. Press the two together all around the pie plate to ensure top and bottom crusts are sealed completely.
- Trim the excess pie dough to make a neat crust. You can use dough scraps to create a braided rim, or flute the crust using your forefinger and thumb. Use cookie cutters to create an intricate design if you want.
Brush, Chill, then Bake
- Brush the surface of the pie with more egg wash and refrigerate the pie for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Position a rack in the middle section of the oven. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper to catch any drips from the pie filling.
- Once your pie has chilled, remove it from the fridge and allow the pie plate to warm on the countertop for 5 minutes.
- Put the pie into the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Rotate the pie after 30 minutes to ensure the pie browns evenly. If you find that the pie is browning too quickly, lightly place a piece of foil over the pie to cover it.
- When fully baked, the crust should appear golden brown and the filling's liquid will bubble through the lattice.
- Once the pie has browned and bubbled, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 45 minutes- 1 hour. After cooling, you can serve it immediately, or within 3 days.
- The pie is safe to store on the countertop, or in the fridge, as long as it's covered (use a cake cloche).
- If you want to freeze the pie, bake it in a disposable aluminum pie tin. After baking, wrap it in a layer of plastic film, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze it for up to 2 months.
- When you're ready to serve, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours before serving.
Add these other pies to your repertoire!