Zesty Apple Pie

From Cathy Barrow, the author of “Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving

Tested size: 8-10 servings; makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 pounds mixed apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons (about 12 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • Flour, for the work surface
  • 2 disks of refrigerated, homemade or store-bought pie dough (enough for a double-crust pie)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Heavy cream, for brushing
  • Coarse/pearl sugar, for sprinkling


Whisk together the granulated and brown sugars, the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, black pepper and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the apple slices and lemon juice, tossing until evenly coated. Stir in the bourbon, if using, until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 3 hours before filling a pie.

Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out one of the cold dough disks on the floured surface to a round that’s 12 inches in diameter. Carefully drape it into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the sides. Spoon in the filling, along with any of its accumulated liquid. The apples will be piled several inches above the rim of the pie plate. Dot the surface of the filling with the butter.

Roll out the remaining dough disk on the same surface to the same width. Before draping the dough over the filling, use a cookie cutter to stamp out shapes for venting, if desired; or, once the dough is draped over the filling, simply slash 3 vents in the top crust. Crimp the pie dough edges (top and bottom crust) at the rim.

Place the pie on a level surface in the freezer and freeze uncovered for 8 hours, then remove it and carefully wrap the now-frozen pie in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Label the top of the foil with the contents and directions for baking.

When you’re ready to bake, position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Remove the pie from the freezer, unwrap and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of the pie with a little cream, then sprinkle it with coarse/pearl sugar. Bake (lower rack) for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees; bake for about 45 minutes or until the pie juices are bubbling. If the crust gets too dark, tent it loosely with foil.

Cool completely (for at least 2 hours) before serving or storing.

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