Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust

Sponsored by Imperial Sugar

Warm cinnamon-spiced apples that are tender, not mushy, with a buttery flaky sourdough pie crust. Baking an apple pie from scratch may seem intimidating, but my easy, no-fail sourdough crust makes the challenge a bit easier. 

There are few things that feel nearly as special as a freshly baked apple pie. The first time I had a homemade apple pie was my first holiday after emigrating from the Philippines. One of my aunts was a wiz at baking all things, and she made the most delicious pies. Freshly baked Apple Pie still reminds me a bit of that first holiday season in America, my new home. 

Recipe Box Series

With fall quickly approaching and apples now in season, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally give one of my favorite desserts a sourdough twist. So excited to finally bring you guys my recipe for Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust in partnership with Imperial Sugar.

This Apple Pie with Sourdough Crust recipe is the second in my Recipe Box Series with Imperial Sugar. Each month, I’ll be releasing recipes for classic bakes made with a sourdough twist! You can look forward to comforting classics like Sourdough Fudge Brownies, Strawberry Shortcake, Glazed Doughnuts and many others. 

Sugar is such a vital part of every dessert, it imparts flavor, texture, moisture, and without it, it would be impossible to make our favorite bakes. I’m so grateful to Imperial Sugar for making the Recipe Box Series possible and so proud to be partnering with a company with such a long tradition of producing such high-quality products. Imperial Sugar products are 100% pure cane sugar, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.

The secret to a flaky pie crust 

As a breadmaker, I can be a bit heavy-handed with my dough which can be disastrous for pie crusts. Pastry is truly a science, it needs the perfect ratio of fat, flour and moisture and requires a very light touch or it will bake up tough and dry. 

I struggled with producing perfect pie crusts for years until I discovered the secret to full-proof pastry: folding. Folding (laminating in pastry terms) creates layers of butter in your dough. It’s the same technique used for puff pastry and croissants. This method is less complicated and cumbersome and just adds one more extra step to your pastry process. Once you’ve brought your dough together, you’ll fold it at least two times. This will envelope butter layers in your dough, creating tons of tender, flaky layers. 

Since you’ll be handling your dough quite a bit more than regular pie dough, you’ll want to make sure you keep it cold. Start with really cold butter and cold flour, if possible. If your butter looks like it’s starting to melt or your dough starts to feel sticky while you’re laminating it, stop working it immediately, wrap it up and chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before continuing.

Preventing a soggy bottom

A crumbly pie, with a soggy bottom is one of the worst baking disasters. After hours of laboring on a pie, it’s truly heartbreaking to slice into a pie that falls apart with a hard and dry crust. While my extra flaky pie crust largely prevents this, as an extra layer of precaution, I add a layer of Old-fashioned Oats to the bottom of my pie crust. It’s a really handy trick I learned from the great Anna Olson. The oats absorb the excess moisture from the apples and since they don’t have any flavor they are totally undetectable in the baked Apple Pie. If you don’t have any oatmeal in hand, crushed Graham Crackers or Vanilla Wafers also work wonderfully. 

Now onto the recipe!

Ingredients

Pie Dough

IngredientWeightVolume
Butter226 grams8 tablespoons (2 sticks)
Sourdough discard113 grams1/2 cup
Ice cold water56 grams1/4 cup
AP240 grams2 cups
Salt1/4 tsp
Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar 24 grams2 tbsp

Filling

IngredientWeightVolume
Granny Smith apples1.3 kg3 lbs (about 5 large or 10 small)
Imperial Sugar Light Brown Sugar75 grams1/3 cup
Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar 50 grams1/4 cup
Cinnamon1 tsp
Nutmeg1/4 tsp
Salt1/4 tsp
Old-fashioned rolled oats 22 grams¼ cup
Butter42 grams3 tbsp

Topping

IngredientWeightVolume
Egg white30 grams1
Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar 24 grams2 tbsp

Instructions

Make the pie crust

Cut the butter into ¼-inch pieces. Place the butter in the freezer to keep it cold while you mix the rest of your ingredients. 

In a large measuring cup, combine the sourdough discard and water. Stir until the starter is completely dissolved. Place the mixture into the refrigerator to keep it cold.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and all purpose flour. Toss the butter to coat the pieces in flour. Cut the butter into the flour by flattening the pieces between your palms or using a pastry cutter. Try to keep the butter pieces larger but to coat them thoroughly in butter. Having large sheets of butter in the dough will make for flakier pastry. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the sourdough starter mixture in the center. Using a wooden spoon or your hand, lightly toss the mixture together until the dough feels properly moistened and begins to stick together in clumps. 

Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. It’s ok if the mixture is slightly crumbly at this point, but it should not feel wet or tacky. Enclose the dough in the plastic wrap and flatten it out into a disc. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate and the butter to cool down.

Laminate the dough

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough out into roughly a ¼-inch thick rectangle (you don’t have to be exact here). Using your bench knife, fold the dough into thirds like you’re folding a letter. 

Flatten the dough out once more and complete another fold. Divide the dough into two portions and form them into discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them while you create your filling. 

Refrigerate your dough for at least 1 hour before rolling it out, you can complete this step up to 48 hours before assembling your pie. 

Make the filling

Peel, core and slice the apples thinly. Toss the apples with Imperial Sugar Light Brown Sugar,

Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour. 

Roll out the pie dough

Place one portion of dough on a lightly floured work surface. Dust your rolling pin with a little flour. Begin flattening out the dough with your rolling pin. 

To roll out the dough, place your rolling pin on the middle of the dough and roll away from yourself. Rotate the dough a quarter turn between each roll until the dough is 12 inches in diameter and about ¼-inch thick. 

Transfer the pie dough to a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the pie dough into the crust without stretching it too much. Press the crust firmly against the sides and the bottom of the plate. Trim the crust to the edge of the pie plate. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you finish preparing your filling. 

Assemble the pie

Using a large colander over a large measuring cup or heat proof bowl, drain the apples for 5 minutes, you should be able to collect 1 cup of juice. Thicken the juices by heating it in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes or until it has reduced by half.  

Take the crust out of the refrigerator and place an even layer of oatmeal on the bottom of the crust. Add the drained apples into the bottom crust, make sure the filling is spread out evenly and there are no large gaps. Pour the reduced juices over the pie and dot with butter. 

Roll out the other portion of pie dough according to the instructions above. Gently drape the top crust over the pie. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the bottom crust. Seal the dough together using your crimp of choice. Place the pie inside the refrigerator.   

Bake the pie

Preheat the oven to 420F. Place the pie on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Brush the top of the pie with egg white and sprinkle with Imperial Sugar Extra Fine Granulated Pure Cane Sugar. Cut slits on top of the crust to allow steam to escape during baking. 

Bake the pie for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the apples feel tender, not mushy, when pierced with a paring knife. 

Place your baked pie crust on a wire rack and let it cool completely, at least 3 hours, ideally overnight, before slicing.

Enjoy and store

It may be hard to resist the aroma of freshly baked apple pie but letting your apple filling set is essential or your pie slices may fall apart. Let your pie cool for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight before serving. 

Serve the pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Tent the cooled pie loosely with aluminum foil and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Reheat pie slices in a 400F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until it’s warmed to your liking. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. t says:

    just curious why there are 2TBSP of sugar listed for the crust but it is not incorporated into the crust itself.

    1. Thanks for catching that! I’ve added the sugar instructions in the recipe

  2. This recipe is giving me childhood grandma 👵🏽, fireplace vibes.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Mission accomplished!!! Hipster grandma homesteader vibes haha

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