Can you believe that Christmas is upon us? I feel fully unprepared. Maybe it’s because I spent a week of December in paradise…but I’m so behind on shopping, cookie decorating, watching Elf, and singing Christmas carols until I’m worn out. How am I supposed to cram that into two days???
When I stress, I usually bake. I’ve been wanting to do a from-scratch apple pie for a while now, so I figured that now was better than ever. I even added a Christmas twist with the crust and…ta-dah! Snowflake Apple Pie!
You may be asking yourself “Isn’t this just a pie with a snowflake crust on top?” Listen. It’s Christmas. Don’t ask questions. Just make the pie.
Apple pie starts with apples (in case you didn’t know). This might seem basic, but your apple selection has a real impact on the rest of the pie. If you pick tart apples, you’ll need a lot more sugar. If you think I’m kidding about this apple stuff, just read this article. For this pie, I used one Granny Smith, two Jonagold, one Ambrosia, and a single Honeycrisp. Know your apples and they’ll be good to you.
Apples are peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick.
Then we’ve got to make some additions. Most recipes called for cinnamon and nutmeg. We didn’t have nutmeg on its own, so we used allspice—a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves—along with a few extra dashes of cinnamon. This ended up being a great choice; the addition of cloves added a little bit more spice to the sweet apples and reminded me of the clove gum that my dad buys that always causes my tongue to tingle.
Next, we’ve got to add the sweetness! I used a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar. Depending on your apples, you may want to adjust the amount of sugar used. I’m sure other sweeteners like honey would be welcome additions.
Next we mix it all together…and while we let the apples soak all that up, we move on to the crust!
Okay, I’m going to be honest: I cheated on the crust this time. See, I made a home made crust for an apple pie that I made in Trinidad, and it ended up being a semi-disaster (not the crust, but the pie itself, because we improvised a little too much). I didn’t want anything to go wrong with this pie, so I got refrigerated crust. Go ahead and shoot me, I guess…
Add your apples and get ready for the snowflakes. Unroll your second crust and use a cookie cutter to cut out snowflakes. Cover the top as much as possible (you want to still keep the open shape, but covering most of the apples will help keep the pie moist. If you hate that word, I’m sorry).
Before the pie goes into the oven, give it a final brush with egg whites, granulated sugar, and a little bit of cinnamon. I stuck some butter in the open spaces as well because I just channel my inner Paula Deen like that.
I’m never good at getting pie out of the pan, but this deconstructed look is just fine with me. After all, all this really is about is the happy marriage of apples, flour, sugar, and snowflakes. Lots and lots of snowflakes.
Special thanks to my pie partner-in-crime, my sweet brother John, who consented to take this selfie with me whilst baking the pie. Isn’t he a charmer?
Perfect Apple Pie Recipe
Adapted from The Sensible Mom
- 2 large Ambrosia apples, peeled and cored
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, peeled and cored
- 1 large Jonagold apple, peeled and cored
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 Double Pie Crust (see recipe below) or refrigerated pie crust
- Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack. Heat the oven to 500 degrees.
- In a large bowl, toss the apples with 3/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, sea salt, allspice, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside, and prepare to roll out the double pie crust.
- Roll out the double pie crust on a floured surface then place the bottom crust in the pie pan.
- Pour the apples onto the unbaked bottom crust. Make sure the apples create a mound shape in the pie crust.
- Cut out snowflakes from top pie crust. Layer on top of pie (do not overlap, but place as many as possible to cover most of the apples)
- Brush the top crust with the beaten egg white, and then sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar over the crust. Place butter in scattered dollops over top of pie.
- Carefully place the pie on the hot baking sheet in the oven then reduce the temperature to 425 degrees. Bake at this temperature until the top crust is golden brown. This should take 20-25 minutes. (I like to set a timer for 20 minutes and check at that point.)
- Once the top is golden brown, rotate the baking sheet, and turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake another 30-35 minutes, until the top crust is a deep golden brown and the apple juices are bubbling.
- Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool before serving.
Double Pie Crust
- 2-1/2 cups flour
- 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 5-6 tablespoons ice water
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and sea salt.
- Scatter the vegetable shortening over the flour mixture and using either two butter knives or your hands, incorporate the shortening. Afterwards, the mixture will resemble coarse sand.
- Scatter the butter over the coarse flour mixture using the same method you used with the vegetable shortening. (I actually used a combination of both methods for incorporating the butter.)
- Sprinkle ice water over the dough one tablespoon at a time. Press the dough together with a spatula after each tablespoon. Stop adding ice water once the dough has come together.
- Divide the dough evenly, so that it’s in two pieces. Then flatten the dough and shape it into disks. Wrap the dough disks tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for 1 hour.
- When you’re ready to use the dough, remove it from the refrigerator and let it sit for approximately 10 minutes, so that it softens and is easier to roll out.