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Easy, Rustic Apple Pie: From-Scratch Recipe for the Complete Idiot

I'm a mom and a grandma. I have been cooking and baking for my family for almost 40 years.


Old-Fashioned Apple Pie From Scratch

One thing I love to do on a rainy day is bake. Usually, I don't want to go out, so I make something out of whatever I have on hand. One recent rainy day, what I had on hand was apples, so this is what I made. This is a basic, rustic apple pie the way Grandma used to make it.

Be sure to wash your apples well before you cut them up. Don't rinse them after they're sliced, or they will absorb water and it might make your pie runny.

The Filling:

  • Peel, core, and slice about 10 small apples, more or less depending on how big the apples are and what size pie you're making.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Toss it all together.

My apples were pretty sweet if you have tart apples you might want to add a little more sugar. Just taste an apple slice. That will give you a pretty good idea of how sweet your pie will be.

If you have one of those pre-made pie crusts around, that makes it easier, but I didn't have one, and for my rainy day baking, I'm not so worried about quick and easy. Besides, there comes a time in every woman's life when she needs to make a pie crust from scratch, and this recipe is pretty forgiving. This only makes the bottom crust, so if you want a top crust, double it. I made a crumb topping for my pie.

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Slice up the apples and toss with sugar and cinnamon


The Crust


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (Use cold butter—1/2 cup of shortening works too)
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. First, cut the butter up with a knife.
  2. Then add the flour and work it through your fingers until the butter is pretty evenly distributed. It should be in little pea-sized clumps.
  3. Then add the water. Stir till it forms a sticky ball.
  4. Turn the dough onto a generously floured board. Roll it over a couple of times and work in some of the flour. With this recipe, you need quite a bit of extra flour.
  5. Flatten the dough out with your hands, then pick it up and turn it again. Make sure there is plenty of flour on all sides so it doesn't stick then roll it out with a rolling pin.
  6. Don't make the crust too thin, just roll it till it's about the size of the pie pan. Then fold it in half, then in half again, to make it easier to pick up and put in the pan. I used a 9-inch pan here.
  7. Place the crust in your pie pan and unfold it. If you have any cracks just squish them together with your fingers. Trim off the excess and use your fingers to pinch the crust all the way around as shown in the photos. It's not very fancy but it's easy and gives it that "handcrafted" look.

Crumb Topping in Progress


The Crumb Topping

I had a little dough left over that I trimmed from the crust, so I used that to make my crumb topping. Just add sugar, maybe 1/4 cup and cinnamon, just a sprinkle. Then squish it through your fingers some more till it gets all crumbly. If you don't have enough just add a little more flour and butter.

Homemade Apple Pie

OK, so you have your crust made, put the apples in it, spread them around so they look nice, they should be mounded up a little because they shrink during cooking, then sprinkle on the topping.

Bake in a 350° oven. Check to see if the apples are cooked by sticking them with a fork. I checked mine after an hour and the apples on the bottom seemed done, but the ones on top seemed dry, so I pushed them down a little with the back of a big spoon, then back in the oven for 10 minutes and they were done. You can put a piece of foil over it if you think the crust is getting too brown before the apples are done.

I broke a little piece of the crust taking it out of the oven. OK, so I never said I was Martha Stewart, but nobody's going to mistake this for a store-bought pie. Any person you serve this pie to will be well aware that you made it with your own two hands, and they will surely sing your praises throughout the land. Let it cool for a while before cutting, maybe an hour. It can still be warm.

© 2012 Sherry Hewins

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