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Make Your Apple Pie Recipe Cheap and Easy Ways

Red Hots, cranberries and pears make for a unique apple pie recipe.

Nobody really needs an excuse to whip up an apple pie, but if you needed one, National Apple Pie Day on Dec. 3 fits the bill. It’s the perfect time of year to bake for family and friends for the holidays — or enjoy a warm dessert on a cold day.

The beauty of this classic comfort food lies, in part, in its flexibility. Once you’ve mastered a basic apple pie recipe, you can create variations through simple, inexpensive tweaks using whatever you have on hand. Here’s a basic recipe, and seven easy variations, to help you get started. If you’re intimidated by pie crust, don’t worry about it: Store-bought is easy and inexpensive.

The Perfect Apple Pie Recipe

A hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, and more than 2 pounds of apples, this is one apple pie recipe that’s packing a lot of flavor — and at an affordable cost. Many types of apples are good for baking, including Cortland, Gala, Gravenstein, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. They vary in sweetness, so taste your apples and add more sugar if you feel the need. Using a mixture of different apples will give your pie a deeper, more-rounded flavor.


•2 1/2 to 3 lbs. apples

•2 to 3 Tbsp. apple juice, or 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

•1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste

•3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour or “instant-thickening” flour

•3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

•1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

•1/4 tsp. ground allspice

•1/8 tsp. salt

•2 round pie crust, store-bought or homemade

•2 Tbsp. cold butter


•Heat your oven to 425º F.

•Peel, halve and core the apples. Cut them evenly into 1/4-inch slices. Toss them in a bowl with the apple or lemon juice, to prevent browning. Whisk together the flour, spices and salt, then add them to the apples and toss again.

•Line a pie pan with the first round of crust. Mound the apples tightly into the pie shell, slightly higher in the middle than at the edges. Cut the butter into small cubes, and scatter it over the packed-in apples.

•Moisten the edges of the lower crust with water, then cover the pie with the second crust. Trim away any excess dough, then crimp the upper and lower crust together with your fingers or a fork. Cut 3 to 4 slashes in the upper crust so steam can vent as the pie bakes, then put it into the oven. Pro tip: Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any drips as it bakes.

•Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce your oven’s temperature to 375º F and bake for another 40 to 50 minutes. The pie is ready when its crust is golden brown, thick juices bubble visibly through the slashes in the upper crust, and the apples are tender when pierced with a toothpick.

•Serve the pie warm from the oven or at room temperature, whichever you prefer, but let it cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before slicing into it. Otherwise the juices won’t be set, and they’ll make your bottom crust soggy.

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