Classic American Apple Pie Recipe

Updated August 25, 2022

The expression 'As American as Apple Pie' says it all.  If you're looking for a traditional American dessert, then apple pie it is. In fact, the apple pie is right up there in American identity with Mickey Mouse, blue jeans and Rock n' Roll. 

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Apple pies grace American tables all through the year at both informal and formal dos. From summer barbecues, picnics, county fairs and Fourth of July celebrations to Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas and Holiday parties, the humble apple pie never fails to make an appearance. 

But is apple pie really American? 

Good question since neither apples, nor pies, and not even the spices used to flavor apple pies are native to America.

That's right. Apples aren't native to America. In fact they were brought to America by the Pilgrims in the 1600s. First planted in Massachusetts, their cultivation expanded west over time.  In the 1700s, John Chapman (nicknamed Johnny Appleseed) planted apple trees all along the frontier and apples eventually became widespread all over the U.S.

Pies aren't native to America either but were also introduced by the English Pilgrims. At that time, the pie was used as a storage vessel to hold meat and preserved filling in a hard crust for easy carriage. The hard, inedible crust was often discarded rather than eaten. Over time, with the addition of butter, crusts became much more palatable and were enjoyably consumed.

Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg aren't native to America either.  These spices commonly used to flavor apple pies were native to India and the Far East.

So how American is apple pie then, if all the ingredients and the concept of the apple pie never really originated in America? Why, it's 100% American! Nothing symbolizes what America represents better than the humble apple pie. 

Just like the apple pie with it's global influences and imported ingredients, America is a melting pot of people from different countries and cultures, woven together like the beautiful lattice top of the apple pie, blending and living together in harmony like the sweet apple pie filling, all coming together to create a rich, sweet and distinctly unique American experience.

Apple Pie with Lattice Crust

When I think of apple pie, I think of a pie topped with a beautiful lattice criss cross top. 

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This slightly intricate weave is not as complicated as it looks. Though it does involve a little more work, so keep the apple filling easy and simple, so that you can devote a little extra time and attention to making the pretty apple pie weave top. 

(Video Demonstration) How to Make a Lattice Apple Pie?

Watch this video demonstration from Sally's Baking Addiction to see how to easily make a lattice work crust.

My Kitchen Tips for a Classic American Apple Pie

Tip 1: To create a domed pie, spoon the apple filling into the pie creating a slight mound in the center. Lay the pie crust strips over the apple filling. When baked, the pie will retain the dome shape even though the apple might cook down a little.

Tip 2: Before baking the pie, brush woven pie crust with beaten egg and sprinkle on granulated sugar for a gorgeous golden-brown crust.

Tip 3: Refrigerate pie for at least one hour before baking. Pie can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for 24 hours before baking.

Tip 4: Cool hot pie for at least an hour or two before cutting and serving. This allows the juices in the pie to set. If cut when hot, the juices will run out of the pie and make the entire base soggy.

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Recipe for American Apple Pie with Criss Cross Top


For pastry:

☐ 2 cups all purpose flour
☐ 1 teaspoon salt
☐ 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
☐ 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces

For apple pie filling:

☐ 2 pounds tart apples (approx. 8 medium sized apples)
☐ 2 heaped tablespoons of all-purpose flour
☐ 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
☐ 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
☐ 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
☐ 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Make pastry

 Sift flour and salt into a bowl

Add butter and shortening and cut in with a pastry blender or rub between your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With a fork, stir in just enough ice water to bind the dough (4-8 tablespoons). 

Divide dough into two ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Make filling

Peel, core and slice the apples. Toss sliced apples with lemon juice, sugar, flour and spices. 

Step 3: Roll pastry into two rounds

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball into 1/8 inch round disks. Transfer one disk to a 9 inch pie pan and trim the edges. Press the dough lightly into the pan. 

Cut the second round disk into strips to use to make the lattice pie top.

Step 4: Fill the pie

Spoon the apple filling loosely into the pie base creating a slightly mounded center.

Step 5: Create the lattice crisscross top

Lay pastry strips out vertically all along the apple pie. Fold back alternate vertical strips and then place a horizontal pastry strip across. Cross the vertical strips back over the horizontal strip. 

Then repeat the process by folding back the other vertical strips and alternating each time with a horizontal strip to create a lattice weave top.

Trim off excess edges of the lattice weave and then tuck the edge of the lattice top into the pie, sealing with a little water.

Brush lattice top with beaten egg and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.

Step 6. Bake

Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Brush top again with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar and then place in the center of the hot oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until golden brown for 45 minutes until the filling becomes juicy and bubbly and sizzles and sings. If the pie brown too quickly, protect with foil.

Cool for an hour or two before cutting and serving.

Delicious on its own or with a dollop of ice cream.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my Small Apple Pie Tarts 

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Or click on the tags below to see my other categories of recipes in "Sweets and Dessert" or "Global".

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