My Recipe Box

Apple Pie Covered with Leaves

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Serves eight.

For this pie, I like to use Braeburns, Empires, Jonathans, Jonagolds, or Northern Spy apples.

  • 2 disks Butter Pie Dough  
  • 5 to 6 firm, tart apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut up

To make the pie crust and decorative top: On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the dough disks into a 12-inch round that's 1/8 inch thick (trim an edge to check the thickness). Fold the dough in half, ease it into a 9-inch pie pan, and unfold it. Press the dough up the sides and over the rim of the pan, and trim it to the outer edge. Chill the dough while you cut out the leaves.

Pat the scraps into the bottom of the second disk and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick (the shape doesn't matter). With a paring knife or a leaf cutter, cut out as many 2x1-1/2 inch leaves as you can, veining them with the dull edge of a paring knife, if you like. Pat the scraps together, roll out the dough again, and cut out more leaves. You'll need 45 to 55 leaves to cover the pie. (You can make smaller or larger leaves, if you like; you'll need more or fewer leaves accordingly.) Set the leaves aside in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator).

Cut out as many leaves as you can with a paring knife.
Vein the leaves with the dull side of the knife. Use gentle but steady pressure to indent each leaf, pressing just less than halfway through the dough.

To make the filling and bake: Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut them into 1/4-inch slices to get 7 cups. Put the apples in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss gently and layer the apples into the pie shell, tucking in any apples to create an even, smooth dome. Dot the apples with large flecks of the butter.

Starting at the rim of the pan, stick the dough leaves on the crust and apples, using a little water on the bottom of the leaves to help them adhere. You needn't press the leaves together; they'll seal during baking. Continue to overlap the leaves in concentric circles as shown in the photo below. 

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Casually overlap the leaves in concentric circles toward the middle of the pie, minimizing the overlapping areas.

Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 15 min. Meanwhile, position two racks to the lower third of the oven, set a foil-lined baking sheet on the lowest rack (to catch any drippings from the pie), and heat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the pie on the second-lowest rack until the crust is deep golden all over and the apples are tender when pierced with a long, thin knife blade, 60 to 80 min. Let the pie cool completely before serving so that the juices have a chance to set up and the filling won't be runny. Serve at room temperature or refresh briefly in a 400°F oven to warm the crust.

Photo: Scott Phillips

The best apple pie I have ever eaten in my life, and a beautiful presentation to boot!

Very delicious. I added a bit more cinnamon. Simple ingredients with tremendous flavor. I love an all-butter crust; this worked great (in a food processor, rolled out with an empty wine bottle -- rolling pin is awol :). The leaf cutting and scoring goes quickly and makes an impressive display.

Delicious! I just used a premade pie dough and followed the recipe for the pie filling. I have tried some other apple pie recipes, but this is by far the best. I have been serving this pie to my family since I found the recipe in 2003.

I didn't make the leaves but the pie filling with butter crust was the best apple pie I've made. I egg washed the top for a nice brown colour. Filling sweetness and spice was just right - not too sweet with subtle spice flavour that didn't overpower the apple. Crust was flaky. Had to add aluminum foil at 40 mins to prevent crust edge from over cooking.

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