Lee's Apple Pie

November 27, 2012

lee's apple pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

"This must be where pies go when they die." ~ Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks
I was too young to appreciate the series Twin Peaks during its prime, but one of my college roommates had every episode recorded on VHS tapes (including the Log Lady's dialogue!).

I quickly developed a crush on Agent Dale Cooper- and, if I'm being completely honest, Audrey Horne too. Agent Cooper's love for coffee and pie was charmingly contagious. To this day, I can't bake a pie without feeling nostalgic for afternoons and weekends spent curled up on a pea-green futon, watching a 12-inch TV propped up on plastic crates, and sipping coffee (or inexpensive white wine) *shh* from my favourite Pier 1 ceramic cup. (I imbibed on Everything from that beloved cup.)

Oh late ‘90s you were so innocent and unassuming. ♥

lee's apple pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

There must be a gazillion apple pie recipes floating around- yet I found myself drawn to this tasty morsel from Food & Wine. Admittedly, I have not made many apple pies in my life, so I can't claim that this is The best recipe of all time...but I'm quite comfortable with stating, resolutely, that it's heroically exquisite!

Lately I've been making my crusts by hand, not only for the pseudo arm workout, but mainly because of my deranged food processor. (In order for it to work properly I have to manually stick the trigger mechanism into a slot the size of an exaggerated period. If it's off by a fraction of a hair, nothing happens and I'm left staring at a motionless pile of flour, salt and sugar...this can go on for minutes.) Thankfully this recipe can easily be made sans any piece of machinery!

The crust is all butter, so it's perfect and flaky and good enough to eat alone. The filling is an alluring mix of apples, spices, and a splash of brandy.

As Special Agent Dale Cooper might say, it's a damn fine apple pie. ;)

lee's apple pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

Lee's Apple Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

for the dough (makes a double-crust)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks of very cold, unsalted butter cut into about 1/4-inch pieces {Note: I cut the butter into pieces, placed them in a covered bowl, and let them freeze overnight}
1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon of  ice water

for the filling
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (if you prefer less, use just 1/4 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably fresh-grated)
3 pounds of apples, peeled cored and chopped {Note: I used a mix of Pink Lady and golden delicious}
1 Tablespoon Brandy
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten (for the wash)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, for sprinkling over the crust (optional)

Prepare the crust
In a very large *bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Toss in about half of the cold butter bits. Using a pastry blender (or 2 knives), cut the butter into the the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Toss in the remaining butter, sprinkle in the cold egg-water and use a large fork to quickly toss the dough together until evenly moistened. Quickly, but gently, knead the dough until it comes together. (Don't worry if there are a few visible errant bits of butter.) Gather the dough into a ball, and divide in half. Press each half into a disk and wrap each one tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. {Note: Well-wrapped, the dough can remain refrigerated for up to two days.}

*If you have a large food processor, you may use it to make the dough. Combine the ingredients in the same order as mentioned above.

Have a 9-inch pie plate on hand. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. If it's too firm, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Roll the disk into a 14-inch circle and carefully transfer it to the pie plate. Trim the edges so that there is about a 1/2-inch overhang. Cover lightly and place in the refrigerator.

Line a large, flat baking pan with parchment paper. Remove the second disk of dough and place on a floured surface. Roll it out into a 14-inch circle. Carefully transfer the circle onto the parchment-lined pan and refrigerate.

Prepare the filling
Place the oven rack into the bottom third of the oven. Preheat to 400 F.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, flour, orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg.
In a separate large bowl, combine the chopped apples and brandy. Add the spice mixture and toss until the apples are coated.

Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator and fill it with the apples. (Try to even out the surface as much as possible.) *Drape the rolled out circle of dough over the apples and trim the overhang to 1/2-inch. Fold the overhang under the pie crust bottom. Crimp the crust with your fingers, or use the tines of a fork to make a decorative edge.

*To make a lattice crust, I used these instructions from Simply Recipes. (It's much easier than you may think!)
In a small bowl, beat together the cream and egg yolk. Brush the glaze over the top crust. If you're not making a lattice crust, use a sharp knife to cut about five 1/2-inch steam vents into the top crust.  Sprinkle the crust with 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar.

Place the pie in the bottom third of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove the pie from the oven and onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.

Adapted from Food & Wine 


  1. AND it's gorgeous. I always love your vintage-style photos, too. Also, girl crushes are good!

  2. A beauty of a lattice topped apple pie;-)
    All butter crust made by hand ..all the better!!!
    Beautiful photos, love the light, so apple pie time of year-ish;-)

  3. I love the spices and orange zest in your apple pie! The all-butter crust just puts it over the top! :) So tell me...do you deliver? ;)

  4. A fabulous pie! The lattice top is beautiful.

    I love that quote.



  5. The pie is gorgeous! You know how you said we're cooking twins with our skillets, well, Ive never posted an apple pie in almost 4 years of blogging. Guess what I'm posting in 8 hours? Yes :)

    Yours is truly a work of art with that gorgeous latticework!

  6. @Averie: Our identical skillets must be connecting us on some cerebral-culinary level. :D

  7. Lovely pie Valerie. We must have the same food processor, my husband had to fix mine and the way he did it was sticking a tooth pick in the the little slot and then breaking it off so it stays that way. So I have to be careful when it plugged in and all components are in place :) Sometime I plan to get a decent one :) BTW I love an all butter crust it they taste to good. Have a great week.

  8. What a stunning pie! Your lattace work took great skill and you did an amazing job. Delish!!!!

  9. That's where all pies meet: your's is beautiful and delicious: I love apple pie with brandy (or Grand Marnier, made it another day if you've seen it on my blog). :)

  10. You and I must be around the same age... how I miss those college days in the late '90s! :-)

    The pie sounds amazing. The photos are absolutely beautiful!

  11. I think any homemade pie is a work of art and should be considered the best one ever each time. Yours came out gorgeous. I must have been too old to appreciate that series, lol. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

  12. That is one beautiful pie. And sometimes low-tech is the way to go. I may check out those lattice pie directions, my own previous attempts falling way short of success.

  13. This pie looks like perfection. I can imagine sitting on a porch enjoying this with a nice cup of warm cider this winter! Love it! You photographed it beautifully.

  14. I've made lots of apple tarts but never a pie--this weekend was going to be my maiden attempt but I never found the time. Your pie is absolutely gorgeous and I love, love the light on your images. I can look at them all day, seriously. :)

    You made me smile at the mention of your food processor. Until I replaced my old one a few years ago I had to insert a small wood chip in order for the lid to lock. It also had to be positioned exactly one way or nothing would happen. Glad this pie is easy to make by hand. Again, it's gorgeous!

  15. so impressed that you made this by hand, i love me some pie but when i make it, i leans twds the very simple graham cracker crust or i have dw make it for me.

  16. What a stunning pie - I so appreciate you taking the time to make that lattice, it makes me smile with how gorgeous it is. I want to taste that buttery crust!

  17. wow!
    what a gorgeous crust!
    Those are hard to do, so I can appreciate it from here!

  18. You have a way with words, are gifted beyond words in the kitchen, and have excellent taste in TV shows. "Twin Peaks" is one of my top two favorite programs of all time. I have the entire series on DVD. So mysterious, original, cool, and wonderful!

    And that pie...a damn fine apple pie indeed! Wow, that looks incredible, and the lattice work is beyond gorgeous. Extremely well done!

  19. I was totally obsessed with Twin Peaks when I was younger (I watched it live, I'm old). I have it on DVD now and it still holds up! And this, my lady, is a DAMN FINE piece of pie.

  20. Ah, Twin Peaks... you have brought back memories. I used to love that show too! They don't make them like that anymore, do they : ) This pie looks amazing. I have never had the patience to master the lattice top. Yours looks beautiful!

    Danielle xo

  21. such a gorgeous apple pie and it sounds absolutely incredible! i am definitely going to need to try this - even though i am the only one here who will eat it :)

  22. I love love your blog! You do amazing work!

  23. Who's Lee? =) Lovely apple pie you have here. Every time I see apple pie, it kinda reminds me of American Pie (the movie) - hahaha. Can't help smiling...because of that scene AND smiling at how lovely your pie is (sorry, that sounds totally wrong...) Should I delete this comment?

  24. @Jen, Your comment is brilliant! It stays. :D

  25. I remember Twin Peaks. I used to tell everyone when I grow up I want to be Audrey Horne :)) She was so beautiful but not as beautiful as your pie. Love the lattice crust

  26. What a stunning pie!
    I never really watched that show, but I remember people loving it :)

  27. Your pie is gorgeous! The lattice top is just perfect!
    I was too young for Twin Peaks when it was in its prime as well. But I remember watching it with hubby right after we got married. Great show!

  28. I actually hate pulling out my food processor so a crust by hand works for me! This looks fabulous.

  29. Valerie, this pie is beautiful and looks fabulously delicious. Love your photos too, so....... pretty!

  30. You are right, there are a lot of apple pies around now but not many as beautiful as this. It could win a cooking competition. It's great it comes attached with memories of simple days.

  31. A mighty fine apple pie, Valerie. I adore apple pies. I think I could make one a week and not be satisfied. Now I all I want is a slice of yours:)

  32. Well it certainly looks damn fine! And may I say I love the shot of brandy in the list of ingredients...

    PS: Love the moody quality of these photos - it captures the mood of fall so well.

  33. I made it today and I must say it's one of the best apple pies I've not even made but had in my life!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe, it definitely goes to my favorite recipes.

  34. Drinking anything from a coffee cup makes it look so innocent doesn't it? Lol. Wow, you are awesome at the whole pie thing. That lattice crust is truly impressive! I stay far far away from pies, I really suck at them. But yours looks awesome!

  35. Now that is one BEAUTIFUL pie! Holy Moly!
    Merry Christmas!

  36. Oh, those Twin Peaks days! Fond memories. Every time I think of Cherry Pie, I think of Twin Peaks. You know, I prefer making my pie pastry by hand. Valerie, your pie is gorgeous! And, I like the fact that brandy is in the filling. I'm just enamored with your blog and writing. Will visit often! xo

  37. one perfect apple pie, this pie must taste delicious, fluffy and crunchy in the same time, one dessert that can't be missed..:D


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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