September 26, 2016

Honeycrisp Apple Pie

My dear friends Frank and Evelyn moved from San Francisco to Seattle several years ago.  Both had lived and worked in the Bay Area for more than a decade but actually grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so their return to the Emerald City was a homecoming of sorts.  

I try to visit them at least once a year and on my most recent trip up north I requested we go apple picking.  Honeycrisp apples in particular, known for being sweet, slightly tart and definitely crisp.  Washington state produces the majority of the apples grown in the US and apple picking is a time honored fall tradition.

We drove about 45 minutes outside of Seattle and headed to The Farm at Swan's Trail.  The weather couldn't have been better and because it was the beginning of the season there was an abundance of fruit just ripe for the picking.  Forty five minutes and about fifty pounds of apples later we went home thoroughly satisfied.   

 I ended up bringing about ten pounds of apples back to San Francisco (in my checked luggage!) and was determined to bake something with them.   Up until now I hadn't had much success with apple pies, but when I did a google search for Honeycrisp recipes I came upon this one from claiming it was their "favorite apple pie."  

 The filling was super easy to pull together, but rather than using the included crust recipe I instead used Cook's Illustrated's foolproof one.   It's the most buttery, flaky crust I've ever tasted, owing to the use of vodka, and knew it would be fantastic for my pie.  Golden brown and bubbling from the oven, the pie smelled heavenly.  But the real test would be once it was cooled.  Would the filling be soupy and mushy, similar to previous pies I'd made?  The verdict: NOT AT ALL!   

One bite of the cinnamon and nutmeg infused apple filling and I was hooked.  Epicurious was spot on, Honeycrisp apples were the perfect variety to use for pie baking - sweet and tart but still able to hold their shape.   I think I've found my very own foolproof apple pie recipe!
Honeycrisp Apple Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces), plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water

3 1/2 pounds Honeycrisp apples
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 egg white, lightly beaten
course sugar, for sprinkling

Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no un-coated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough.   Place on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Place another rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 425°F.

Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Place apples in a large bowl and mix with flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lemon. Fill the dough-lined pan with the apple mixture, packing apple slices as tightly as possible.

Top with the second dough round and press over apples to minimize excess space between apples and crust. Press the top and bottom crusts together and trim the top crust to a 1-inch edge around pan. Tuck top edge under bottom edge and crimp or decorate as desired. Cut four vents in the top crust for steam. Refrigerate pie for 30 minutes to set the crimp.

Brush the top crust with the lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Place pie on the preheated rimmed baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Rotate sheet, move to center rack, and reduce oven to 350°F. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown and you can see the thickened juices bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes more. Cool on a rack 3 to 4 hours to allow juices to set before slicing.


  1. This is great, I love apple pie. Never try vodka in apple pie, it sounds so good and delicious. :)

  2. That cake is awesome, Holly! The hearts are so cute and it really does look delicious. apple pie Got to pin this one, for sure. Have a beautiful weekend!

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  4. Anonymous11/25/2023

    Can you leave out the cinnamon and nutmeg?


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