Mom’s Apple Pie

My mom has been making pie for as long as I can remember.  Maybe more than 30 years.  But she would only make it on special occasions like birthdays (upon request), Christmas and New Year. During the Christmas holidays, she would make a lot and give every house on the block a pie each (even if she did not know them).  This pie has become popular among our families and friends that they would always ask me if I could bring my mom’s apple pie on gatherings.

This is her secret recipe.  But when I moved to the US I started craving for my mom’s apple pie and I had to get her recipe.

Here’s my “homage” to my mom!   


Pie Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
2/3 cup shortening
5-6 tbsp ice water

Pie Filling

6-7 cooking apples (Fuji, Granny Smith, Crispin or Cortland apples are the best to use)

2 tbsp tapioca (if you don’t have tapioca, used cornstarch instead)

2 tbsp flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 a stick of cold butter sliced

1 egg plus a tbsp of water for egg wash

sea salt for sprinkling


Pie Dough

We did not have a food processor growing up so this dough recipe is done manually.

In a large bowl combine flour and salt. Add the shortening and with a dough cutter/blender cut the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. (To “cut in” means to mix cold fat such as butter with dry ingredients to form small pieces.) Pour in the ice water a tablespoon at a time (the amount of water added would depend on the temperature at the time you are making the dough). If you are using a food processor, just pulse the dough until turns into a crumbly texture. Combine just until the dough holds together in a ball.

Divide the dough and two. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. If the dough has been refrigerated in advance, remove 15 minutes before using. The dough can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance or frozen for up to 6 weeks.


Get a large bowl and fill it half way with cold water and a tbsp of salt.

Peel the apples.  Remove the apple seeds. Apple seeds contain cyanogenic acids that if eaten in abundance could be poisonous. If you have a mandoline, slice the apples thinly.  If you don’t have a mandoline, just use a regular knife.   Place apple slices in the bowl of salted water. Dip it for 5-10 seconds and fish them out. Drain all the water from the apples and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine tapioca, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Set aside.

Take one pie dough from the refrigerator. In a flat surface, dust it with flour and start rolling your dough. Roll your dough starting from the center going outwards. Continue rolling out your dough until  you get a pie crust big enough to cover a 9-inch pie dish. Transfer the rolled out dough on to you pie dish and leave at least an inch of over-hang around.  Place the pie dish in the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

After the pie dough has cooled, start building the pie.

Line the pie with one layer of sliced apples and dust it with the spice mixture. Place a couple slices of butter between every other layer.  Build the layers until you have used up all the apples and the spice mixture.

Get the second half of the pie crust and roll it out same way as you did with the first half of the dough.  Cover the pie with the second dough. Tuck the edges of the dough and crimp it.

Make several slits on the center of the pie to let the steam vent.

With a pastry brush, brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle it with sea salt.

Place the pie on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Make sure that you are using cold butter.  Cold butter makes the dough flaky.

If you are using a food processor, just pulse the dough.  Do not over mix.

Do not forgot to make slits on the top crust.  The slits lets the steam vent.

If you want a lighter (in color) crust, brush it with milk instead of egg wash.

If the edges of your crust start to turn brown and your pie is not yet done,  cut strips of aluminum foil and cover the edges to prevent the ends from burning.


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