Yes to Yummy

Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

November 15, 2018 Leave your thoughts Print this page

The holiday season is just around the corner, and you know what that means: time to roll out the fancy desserts!

Last Sunday, my best friend Ali put in a request for apple pie for our weekly get-together. “Apple pie,” I thought. “That’s so boring.” I needed to find a way to keep the dessert close to its classic roots, all while flexing my creativity-loving cooking muscles.

The solution: a fun, funky topping composed of pie crust stars!

You of course don’t have to use stars. You can use hearts, flowers, leaves, whatever floats your boat. I have a Pusheen-shaped cookie cutter myself — maybe I’ll make a cat-shaped pie topper next time. 😉

A lot of people get intimidated by pie crust and opt for store-bought. That’s fine, I guess, but it’s not how I roll. Pinky promise that pie crust is very easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand.

As for the apples, I personally love baking with Granny Smiths, since they’re never too sweet and hold up well in the oven. That being said, I also threw in a Honeycrisp and a Fuji into this pie — simply because all of my Granny Smiths were tiny and I got really, really sick of peeling them. Use whatever apple you’d like, but I’d caution you against using Red Delicious. Those guys are the worst.

This pie is obviously a natural choice for Thanksgiving. Please try and eat it the day you make it, as it didn’t hold up as well as I hoped in the fridge. If you have leftovers, try eating them for breakfast with some yogurt. I mean, pie is basically granola, which is basically a health food…right? (I’m kidding, of course.)

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Star-of-the-Show Apple Pie

Looking for a simple, yet show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert? Try this apple pie topped with pie crust stars. A creative twist on a classic favorite.

Adapted from NY Times Cooking


Prep Time
Cooking Time
Total Time
Yield 1 pie (about 8-12 servings)


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Generous pinch of sea salt

2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup ice water (you may need a little more)


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunky wedges (I used Granny Smith, Fuji and Honeycrisp)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a generous pinch of allspice, cloves and nutmeg)

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 egg, beaten



In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of small peas. Drizzle in the water, a tablespoon at a time, until a firm (but not sticky) dough forms.

Dump the dough and any floury remnants onto a well-floured work space. Gently form into a smooth ball of dough, being careful not to overwork. Cut the dough ball in half and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, roll out one piece of dough on a well-floured work space. You want the dough to be an inch to an inch and a half bigger than your pie tin. For example, I used a 9 inch tin, so I rolled my dough to a little more than 10 inches in diameter. Make sure you continuously flip and flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin or work surface.

Carefully pick up your dough and press it into your pie tin. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust to get out all the air bubbles. Trim the overhang, crimp or style as you desire, and put the pie crust in the freezer to chill for at least half an hour.


Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the apples and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and cook until the apples just begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cornstarch over the apples and quickly stir to incorporate. Cook until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the apple cider vinegar, and allow to cool to room temperature. (You can put it in the fridge to speed the process up.)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Once the apples have cooled, gently spoon them into your pie crust, making sure the top is even. Set aside.

Roll out your other piece of dough on a well-floured workspace until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Using a floured star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out pieces of dough and gently place them atop the pie. Once you’ve worked your way through the dough, squish it back together and roll out another piece. (Don’t do this too many times, otherwise the pie crust will be tough!)

Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top with the egg. Place in the oven on a medium rack and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 and cook until bubbling and golden-brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Allow to cool to room temperature (at least an hour if you can stand it), then cut and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best eaten day of!

Here’s to some happy holiday baking. Let me know if you give this pie a try!

Also, just a note about my baking. Over the course of the past few years, I’ve steered away from Paleo/gluten-free desserts. This is because of a lot of reasons: completely restricting certain foods wasn’t good for my mental health, I don’t have gastrointestinal distress when eating wheat or dairy, and environmental sustainability are among them. And normal desserts just taste better. There, I said it.

My philosophy when it comes to sweets is to make them yourself and share with others. Have a reasonable portion, enjoy it, and pass on the rest or save it for later. That’s at least what’s worked for me as a foodie and dessert lover. That being said, if you have a food sensitivity or subscribe to a certain diet, I have oodles of gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan dessert recipes in my archives. And, if you leave me a comment, I’d be happy to suggest a recipe adaptation to accommodate your dietary needs!

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