Autumn Apple Pie Baked in Cast Iron
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The cool of Autumn in Nashville is just a tease. During October and November we will alternate between wearing shorts and flannel jammies many times. Last Monday, it was a shorts and ice cream day. On Tuesday, the temperature suddenly, happily dropped and it became a day for comfort, a day to invite friends for dinner and get out the iron skillet and bake an apple pie.
When I mention cast iron, what do you immediately think of? Aprons? Wood burning stoves? Old fashioned cooking? I think homey, approachable, welcoming, daring, and I trust that the recipe has been tested by palates that know what good home cooking is. But wait a minute is it something to serve for a dinner party? You judge for yourself.
A plain old pie crust can look kind of boring, even if it’s a taste that hits the heart. But, when the eyes get a treat and the crust is shaped in beautiful autumn leaves, not only will you get a smile, but your family and dinner guests will know how much you care about them. Of course, that is, if your love language is food. It is for me, but I didn’t need to tell you that.
The other nice surprise about this pie is that it’s not very sweet. This is personal preference, and you could increase the sugar if you need to, or if you use mostly tart apples. I find many pies from grocery store bakeries are syrupy sweet yet lacking in any real flavor. I want to taste my apples and spices. I especially like the pastry to shine in every bite and too much sugar can overpower that buttery, flaky crust that I’ve worked so hard to perfect.
As far as what kind of apples to use, I’m sure one could read volumes on this discussion. You must go with your personal taste and what you have access to. Some insist on using granny smith apples which are very tart. That requires a lot of sugar and is not my preference. I like to use a variety of apples, but not red delicious as I don’t like their texture. I look to see what’s just been picked, what my farmer’s market has available. I use tapioca for my pie thickener, so liquid from the sweeter apples is never a problem.
This pie disappeared faster than any dessert I’ve recently made. You might even want to make two or make it a double in an extra large skillet. I used a number 6 cast iron pan that measures 9 3/8 inches, so the measurements below will be also enough for either that size skillet or a regular pie pan.
The benefits of baking a pie in cast iron is the crust underneath gets nice and golden. The danger in using cast iron is overcooking. I baked for 45 minutes and then stopped to take pictures. I then baked it for another ten minutes which was almost too long. Cast iron retains heat very well and cooking time can be reduced by ten to fifteen minutes.
The key to this pie is the pie crust. I have improved my recipe and gone back and edited the basic pie crust post, by adding in a few more tips. In addition to freezing the butter, I freeze the flour and the blade of my food processor. I want to make sure that the butter never smears so the crust is as flaky as possible. And, to think I used to shy away from making pie crust.
Tell me, is there something in baking that you shy away from?
See a Video how to make perfect pie crust here.
Autumn Apple Pie Baked in Cast Iron
- 8 cups apples peeled, sliced 1/2 inch
- juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
- pastry crust see below
- leaf pie cutter or any decorative cutter you think would be fun
- 1 size 6 9 3/8 ” cast iron pan or a regular pie pan
- milk and a pastry brush milk helps the top crust turn golden
- raw sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Toss apples with juice of the lemon. Set aside.
- Stir together, sugars, cinnamon, salt, tapioca. Toss with apples.
- Take bottom of pastry crust and gently place into pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Use a rolling pin to roll over edges of pie. Use a fork to punch holes into bottom of crust.
- Fill with apples. Apples shrink so make sure it is about two inches above the pan line.
- Make autumn leaf pastry with a cookie cutter. Place over apples, overlapping as you go.
- Brush with milk and sprinkle on raw sugar.
- Reduce oven to 375 and bake for 45-55 minutes. I usually bake for 45 minutes and then finish off during dinner, so the pie can be served hot.
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup iced cold water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
milk for brushing on top to aid in browning Mix salt and flour together. Cut butter into small pieces. Freeze both for a 15 minutes minutes, as butter softens immediately upon cutting. If using food processor, put flour mixture in bowl and freeze blade.
Lay small pieces of butter evenly over flour and mix for 20 seconds at a time, stopping as soon as dough is shaggy. Stream in cold water. If using kitchen aid type mixer, use paddle attachment on low setting for one minute max.
Stream in cold water on sides of bowl. Mix on low, just until incorporated. Form into disc , wrap in plastic at least one hour. I rest my dough overnight, but this is not a must.
Take dough out 30 minutes before rolling to soften.
Roll out dough, evenly, not too thick, less than 1/4” thick and in all directions to make a circle. Do not stretch dough, because it will shrink back. Patch any cracks or holes. Use fork to make indentations.
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If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo
See my hand held apple pies here.
Wow…that’s a lovely pie! I have the right skillet, but fear that I lack the skill to make it properly. Perhaps one day, after practicing more “simple” recipes, I will create something this beautiful. >^~.~^< Kate
do you have to butter the pan or anything.i love to make pie but I am always looking for a way to improve on the crust.i think the cast iron pan will do the trick.i have to say I never would have thought of doing that.
I’m a big fan of cast iron cooking, so I was very happy to find this recipe. I used your design ideas, but got the dough and filling recipes from epicurious. I made two 6 inch pies in a smaller cast iron pan, which is all I had. They turned out very pretty. Thank you for the idea. I think these pies will be a big hit at Thanksgiving Day dinner. Happy a Happy Turkey Day. I’m going to read the rest of your recipes now. 🙂
I made this pie because I was inspired by you! The way you use the cutouts means that the apples don’t collapse under the crust, it was really nice.
I can see why this is your favorite pie. It’s gorgeous and I’m sure it’s delicious as well.
wow, angela. WHAT a gorgeous pie. i am so inspired right now 😉
We do not shy away from baking anything related to a pie. A delicious homemade crust makes it even better. And your leaf cut outs are too cute! Now if you said decorate a cake…well…hmmm. Maybe we’d shy away from that. 🙂
I think I’m the same. I can’t decorate cakes either, except to throw on some coconut.
Looks wonderful! I repinned it too!
An awesome looking pie, I love that it is not too sweet, and the topping with the leaves is very neat!
Wow, this is a great looking pie! I love the leaves, the pie is so great for fall.
I LOVE my cast iron skillet and I have never thought to bake a pie in it. Very cool. And your top crust is gorgeous.
Beautiful – and your leaves on the top are such a wonderful idea! I’m inspired!
Angela, I’m totally in love with that leaf crust on top! 😀
What beautiful and unique recipe, those leaves are gorgeous.
I love the idea of baking in a cast iron pan. Never done that! And this apple pie looks so good Angela. Love the autumn leaves. So pretty!
Une belle et délicieuse gourmandise
Je te souhaite un excellent mercredi
Just. Wow. Now that’s how to make a crust.
You love your cast iron and you use it so artfully. GREG
I have a cast iron pan that is still brand new and your pie has inspired me. Like val I shy away from pastry crust. Hey I will follow all your instructions and will let you know the outcome. Beautiful result.
Has anyone tried this with Splenda?
Pam, I’m sure that would work.
Margie that will work if it’s shallow. Just bake it like a tart!
This gave me a perfect idea for Thanksgiving to use my red two handled french le creseut cast iron piece I have, it is big but low and will be beautiful for a pie, just have to narrow the pieces cut due to the size of the pan, I guess. Thanks Angela!!
Very cool idea and love the gorgeous result. Cannot think off hand what I avoid cooking in…maybe I could say frying in oil.
Val, you can do it. Bake a pie every week and just wait and see. Try freezing everything and magic will happen.
I still shy away from making pastry crust Angela. The beauty of your pie gives me courage since it is the top crust that gives me trouble every time!