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The Best French Apple Pie

The Best French Apple Pie

Friday, January 23, 2015 is the next National Pie Day as designated by the National Pie Council.  Yes, there is such a thing as a Pie Council that delivers up Pie Championships and a Pie Learning Center! But, we all know the real Pie Day is Thanksgiving. I was never a real apple pie person. That ooey, gooey, cinnamony glazey thing with a few chunks of apples was never for me. But then I made my very first French Apple Pie and fell in love with a really good apple pie.

I have to give a nod to Better Homes and Gardens on this one. In the 1970s, I worked night shift as a ward clerk in a small local community hospital. During breaks I would read magazines and pull out interesting decorating articles and recipes. I was 17. I saved the recipe and didn’t make it for almost 20 years. Once I started baking this pie giving it as presents, and getting rave reviews, I haven’t touched a gooey apple pie since. It has been my “signature” at Domestic Administrator speaking engagements and social media graphics. Who doesn’t love a beautiful pie?



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What makes this apple pie special?

  1. The apples are gently cooked in butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. The custard is easy, unctuous and creates a lovely foundation for the apples.
  3. The apricot preserves glisten around the criss-cross pie crust.

Pictures below are of the setup process. The link to the recipe is below. You can make this pie in stages. Make the cream base a few days before. Cook the apples one day ahead or the morning before and let cool. Assemble and bake. Please note, a mix of apples is really the best. There are so many new apples on the market, be sure and pick red apples that, at a minimum, hold their shape. Basically, avoid Galas and Red Delicious.

Below are several treatises on apples for baking.

Food Lab Best Apples for Baking

Food52 best apples for baking

Bon Appetite 3 Best Apples for Pies

Finally, note that apples have gotten HUGE over the last five years. My recipe calls for two pounds of apple slices which very well may be one Granny Smith and one Jonathan! The pie depicted below was made with three large apples.  Five years ago it took 5-6 apples to fill the pie.



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Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving!

Click here for the apple pie recipe!


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