This Mile High Apple Pie is made with almost 5-1/2 pounds of apples, just the right amount of cinnamon and surrounded by the most perfect, buttery pie crust. Trying to pack in all that apple proved can be a bit tricky; however, with a few simple tips, this mile-high pie is sure to be a showstopper at your next party or holiday meal.
Mile High Apple Pie
This Mile High Apple Pie packs a huge wow factor. This pie contains 5-1/2 pounds of apples and a boost from fresh apple cider. Classic warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg cling to the juicy filling, and a flaky buttery crust ties it all together. If you prefer a higher filling-to-crust ratio, you have stumbled upon the right recipe.
I went through about 30 pounds of apples during the testing of this pie. My vision was to have a true Mile High Apple Pie, full of deep apple flavor, without any misleading crust height. I wanted to avoid creating a recipe attached to a photo that makes it appear that there is a boat load of apples inside, when in reality, there is a huge gap in between the crust and the actual apple filling. Of course, I ran into set backs along the way. For example, the massive weight of the apple filling pushed through the edges of the pastry and halfway fell apart in the oven. I needed to adjust my expectations about how high this pie actually is (and add an oven cleaning to my to-do list). I ended up redistributing the weight of the filling into a deep dish pie plate so it didn’t compromise the crust. The final pie had a height of about 5 inches.
The filling does contain a massive amount of apples, so don’t expect a very clean slice when you cut the pie; it will certainly be a little messy–yet delightful–with apples tumbling out of the crust.
What causes pie filling to separate from pie crust?
Apples have a ton of moisture. When the apples are cooked, they release their moisture and then shrink. When you bake an apple pie, the pastry will bake and set before the apples have cooked through, causing a large gap in between where the pastry baked at and where the apples end up reducing. Once you cut into the pie, you’ll see a large gap in between the cooked filling and the set crust.
To avoid this, there are a few different things you can do. First, you can macerate the fruit before you begin to bake. Macerating the fruit in sugar helps draw out the moisture from the fruit, causing the fruit to soften and shrink. This step alone will drastically reduce any gap between the crust and the filling with the fruit. For this pie, you’ll take it one step further and completely cook the apple pie filling before placing it in the pie dough.
Why Precooking Apple Pie Filling is Smart
Precooking the filling ensures that the apples are properly cooked, with the correct added thickener amount. This not only helps prevent any large gap between the crust and the filling, but it also reduces the actual baking time of the pie. Without precooking the filling, it might take close to 1-1/2 to 2 hours to fully bake this apple pie to the correct temperature. By precooking the filling, you are making it so that the actual bake in the oven is only to cook the pie crust. Because the apples are already cooked, the only thing you need to be concerned with during the bake in the oven is that the top and the bottom crust are fully browned and baked.
What type of pan to use for Mile High Apple Pie
It’s best to use a deep dish ceramic pie plate for this pie, like this one. While using a deep dish plate won’t make for the tallest mile high apple pie, it will certainly make for a more sturdy apple pie. The first two times I tried fitting 5-1/2 pounds of cooked apples in a pie, strategically piled up nice and tall (like the above photo), the weight of the apples eventually broke the pastry apart and my crust edges fell off. While this isn’t guaranteed to happen, you run more of a risk if you use a regular pie plate. It’s a better option, if possible, to use a deep dish ceramic plate which holds more of the apple filling inside of the walls of the pie plate, instead of just inside the walls of the pastry. Picture the pie plate as the armor to the pastry. Protect that pie!
If you don’t have a deep dish pie plate, and you are planning to make this in a regular pie plate, don’t skip the step of freezing the assembled pie for 30 minutes before baking.
BEST APPLE FOR APPLE PIE
For a pie, you want to have an apple that can hold its shape, has a nuanced flavor, and a slight tartness to break up the sweetness of the sugar. Using a combination of apples is helpful because it introduces a few different types of flavors and textures to the pie. Gala and Granny Smith apples are both good choices for this deep dish apple pie for two reasons. Both apples hold their shape well after a cook on the stove top, and once again when baked in the oven.
Here are some additional options for baking apples:
- Yellow Delicious
- Pink Lady
- Ginger Gold
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
As with most pies, there are a few steps you need to complete to get to the finished product. A lot of these components can be broken down into steps and done ahead of time. You can (and should) make the pie dough ahead of time. Gluten free? I suggest using this pie crust, here.
You can prepare the dough up to 2 days ahead, and it can be stored up to 3 months in the freezer. You can roll out the pastry up to 1 day ahead of time. Roll out the bottom crust and place it in a pie pan. Keep in the refrigerator, covered completely, until you are ready to make the pie. Keep the top pie crust flat, if possible, and completely covered if rolled out ahead of time.
You can make the apple filling up to 1 day ahead of time.
Fruit pies are perfect to prepare ahead of time in totality, up until the point of baking. To freeze this pie, place the pie on a baking sheet pan and slide the sheet pan into the freezer. Once frozen (at least 12 hours), wrap the whole pie in plastic wrap VERY TIGHTLY (twice for good measure), and then cover with aluminum foil. Don’t forget to label it and date it!
It’s best to cook any frozen pie within 3 months. The longer the pie is stored in the freezer, the less pronounced the flavor is. However, you can wait as long as about 1 year, if preserved properly (as mentioned above). You can absolutely bake a fruit pie directly from the freezer. In my opinion, doing this is EVEN BETTER than a fruit pie baked from fresh. The logic behind this notion is the crust has a chance to cook first, before the filling does. This method will ensure you have a beautifully crisp crust and perfectly cooked filling.
Storing Deep Dish Apple Pie
An apple pie can be baked up to 1 day ahead of time and kept covered, at room temperature. If storing longer than 1 day, store in the refrigerator. You can warm up this pie at 350ºF, until the pastry is crispy and a thin knife inserted in the middle comes out slightly warm, or until the pie registers about 125ºF with an instant read thermometer.
Serve as is, a la mode with ice cream, or with whipped cream.
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This is a DEEP dish Apple Pie, heavy on the apples for sure. It’s best to bake this pie in a deep dish 9″ pie plate, preferably one of those ceramic plates. While your pie won’t look as tall as it would in a regular 9″ pie plate, the deep dish pie plate will help ensure your pastry holds all that apple in without the weight of them breaking the seal during baking. Make sure your apples are completely cooled before filling your pie, and if possible, let the assembled pie chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or so before baking. The apples are basically fully cooked before being placed in the unbaked pastry, so your only job in terms of baking the pie is to ensure the bottom and top crusts are properly cooked. Cooking the pie on the lowest rack will help brown the bottom crust. Just make sure you don’t burn your crust edges by covering them with foil after the first 20 minutes or so of baking time. If you find your top crust isn’t as brown as you’d like after about an hour of baking you can move the pie to the upper part of the oven. The heat will reflect off the top of the oven and brown the top crust more quickly.
- 2–9” Pie Crusts
- 5–½ pounds baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thingly (about 10–12 large apples)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1–1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons (21 g) cornstarch (or ¼ cup flour)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon fresh apple cider
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon water
- Coarse sugar or raw sugar
- Prepare the pastry, let rest overnight.
Cook the Apple Filling:
- Add apples, lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ½ cup apple cider to a large heavy-bottomed pot. Combine and let macerate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
- Stir the apples one more time then cover the pot, turn the heat to medium-high and begin to cook the apples. Cook for 5 minutes and then stir the apples to make sure the apples on the top are now on the bottom. Return the cover to the pot and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Create a slurry: Place cornstarch in a bowl and add in remaining 2 tablespoons apple cider and whisk until completely combined.
- Remove the lid from the pot, while mixing add the cornstarch slurry to the apples and stir until dissolved. Continue cooking until the mixture is thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Place apples in a shallow dish and let apples cool completely to room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator.
To Assemble and Bake:
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and place an oven rack in the lower part of the oven when ready to bake. Roll out the pastry: Roll out 2 pie pastry disks to an 13″ circle. Fit 1 pastry in a deep dish ceramic 9” pie plate, making sure to press the pastry into the sides and the bottom.
- Place the completely cooled apple filling inside of the pie, taking care to layer the apples, leaving very little space in between the apple pieces. Pour any remaining apple juices inside of the pie pastry. Top with rolled out pie dough, seal and crimp edges.
- If possible, place entire pie in freezer for 30 minutes to ensure very chilled pastry.
- Make egg wash by whisking egg and water. Brush on the top of pie and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Pierce the pie with knife to create 4 steam vents.
- Bake in the preheated oven on the lowest rack for 20 minutes. Cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil, then return to the oven and continue to bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Let rest for at least 6 hours before serving.
- Gala and Granny Smiths apples are the perfect combination of apples to use for this pie.
- This is A LOT of apples. You might find it difficult to evenly combine the apples in the pot so go ahead and get in there with your hands when you are mixing them all up together.
Keywords: Mile High Apple Pie, Deep Dish Apple Pie
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