Apple Pie Cook-off!

I have always known that one of the biggest weak points of this blog is that I usually only include one homemade version of any given dish, and that homemade version is most often my own favorite recipe. I just don’t have the time or space to include multiple homemade recipes but I always wonder if there is a much better recipe out there somewhere. My sister had the wonderful idea of holding a monthly cook-off where I ask 3 or 4 people to make their favorite homemade version of a certain dish. We will then choose a “winner” of the cook-off and that recipe will feature in my next comparison with a store bought versino of the same dish. Apple pie seemed like a great choice for the first cook-off since it is such a popular seasonal dessert and fall is in the air, at least in Colorado! Here are the entries for the first Cook It Fresh cook-off:

This pie uses Julia Child’s classic Pate Brisée crust and a mixture of diced Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Fuji apples in the filling.


The second pie in our cook-off used a recipe from Food Network Magazine and had a sturdier crust that included eggs.


The third entry was made with my usual shortening based pie crust and a filling that used all Granny Smith apples.

We had 7 testers for this first cook-off and, after a blind taste test, each person voted for their favorite pie and wrote comments on each of the three pies. However, things didn’t work out quite that neatly because nearly everyone was torn about which pie they like best. In the end, it turned out that almost all of us preferred the pate brisée crust, but liked the sliced Granny Smith apple filling. Tasters wrote that the pate brisée crust was “light and flaky” and “tender” but liked the “juicy apple flavor” of the Granny Smith filling.

The recipe below is a hybrid of the favorite crust and favorite filling recipes and could quite possibly be the best apple pie ever made! (At least we’d like to think so). I would love to hear from readers about your favorite apple pies, either homemade or store bought. What brand of frozen apple pie, or canned pie filing, do you like? What do you think makes a perfect homemade apple pie and do you think you’d agree with our tasters? Please let me know in the comments and next week, I will publish a comparison between this homemade apple pie recipe and a store bought apple pie.


Granny Smith Apple pie with a Pate Brisée Crust

Makes 1 9-inch pie


2 recipes Patee Brisée dough

6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced

2/3 cup suagr

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the sliced apples with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and vanilla. Set apples aside while rolling out the crust.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of the pate brisée dough to form an 11-inch circle. Carefully fold this circle of dough in half and then transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Unfold the dough gently and center it in the pie plate. Pour the apple filling in the the dough-lined pie plate. Roll out the second disc of dough and carefully place it on top of the apple filling. Crimp the edges of the pastry together and trim off any extra dough as you go. Cut slits in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape while baking.

3. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until it just starts to brown on the edges. Turn the temperature up to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on a wire rack and serve within a few hours of baking.