Recipe Review

King Arthur Flour’s Secret for the Best-Ever Apple Pie

published Nov 14, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Ever since I started baking, I’ve turned to King Arthur Flour whenever I have a question (I’ve called their Baker’s Hotline in a panic more than once). I have their ingredient weights chart bookmarked, their cinnamon roll recipe practically memorized, and I’m always impressed by their step-by-step baking guides.

I consider them a trustworthy source.

For that reason, I knew I needed to include their recipe in our apple pie bake-off — and the fact that their recipe has more than 90 five-star reviews (and averages a 4.7) only validated my choice. Thanks to their Apple Pie Bakealong guide and an appendix of helpful tips, I felt like I practically had the King Arthur Bakers right there in the kitchen with me. Here’s what happened when I got to baking.

Get the recipe: King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Make King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie

Of the four pies I tested, King Arthur Flour’s was the only one that called for vegetable shortening in the crust. You start by whisking together flour and salt, work in the shortening until crumbly, then cut cold butter into the mixture until you have dime-sized flakes. Stir in ice water a few tablespoons at a time until the dough holds together when squeezed, then divide the dough into two disks (the one that will be the bottom crust should be larger), and refrigerate while you make the filling.

The filling is simple: Combine sliced apples and lemon juice in a large bowl, then whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in a small bowl (or put in a lidded canning jar and shake). Sprinkle this over the apples and stir to coat. Now, for the secret ingredient! At this point, you’ll add boiled cider. King Arthur describes boiled cider, which is made in Vermont where they’re located and which they sell on their site, as “a versatile syrup (that) adds a wonderful layer of apple intensity to anything you bake.” If you can’t find it and don’t want to order something online, they suggest using apple juice concentrate instead.

Then, you roll out the bottom crust and transfer it to a greased pie pan, and spoon in the filling, dotting the top with butter. Next, roll out the second crust, and place it over the apples. Cut a few vent holes, brush with milk, sprinkle with coarse sugar, and send it to the oven. It bakes at 425°F for 20 minutes, then finishes at 375°F for 40 minutes, or until the filling is vigorously bubbling.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

My Honest Review of King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie

This was a downright delicious pie. It was packed with flavor, thanks to the variety of warming spices and the addition of the apple juice concentrate, which, for the sake of the showdown, I decided to use, since it’s more readily available in grocery stores. The recipe didn’t specify, but I assumed I needed to thaw it, so I left it out in a bowl at room temperature until it was liquid, then added the 1/4 cup the recipe called for.

I appreciated that the recipe gave me options every step of the way, including which varieties of apples to use, which thickener to use (I opted for cornstarch), how to style the top crust, and what to brush it with for extra crunch and shine. In terms of apples, I opted for a mix of Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Cortland — and I do think using more than one variety contributed to the pie’s bold apple flavor. I decided to go with the simplest crust option, and I was glad I did. This pie was still picture-perfect without the fuss of a lattice.

All in all, this pie was pretty simple to make, although I dirtied a few bowls and needed to be near the kitchen as it baked in order to adjust the oven temperature. Thanks to the shortening, the crust was very easy to work with and held its shape when baked — and honestly, I couldn’t taste the difference between this and an all-butter crust.

The only downside to this pie is that the apples bake up very soft. I personally didn’t mind it at all — I found it to be a a nice contrast to the crisp crust. However, my colleagues who tried this pie wished the apples had a little bit more bite.

Credit: Grace Elkus

If You’re Making King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie, a Few Tips

1. Plan ahead and order the boiled cider (or make it yourself!). The apple juice concentrate really made this pie wow-worthy, so I can only imagine the flavor that the boiled cider would add.

2. Preheat the baking sheet. My bottom pie crust was on the paler side, so to achieve a crispier crust, I’d recommend placing it on a preheated baking sheet and baking it in the lower third of the oven. Brushing the inside of the bottom crust with egg wash will also help keep it crisp and not soggy (it’s a technique we recommend in our own apple pie recipe).

3. Use firm apples to prevent mushiness. If you like your apples to retain a bit of bite, use a variety of very firm apples (here’s King Arthur’s Guide to the best baking apples). You could also try reducing the cider by half.

4. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream. The flavorful juices and soft apples serve as the most delicious ice cream topper I’ve ever had.

Rating: 9.5/10

Credit: Grace Elkus

Have you ever made King Arthur Flour’s Apple Pie? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Joe Lingeman