You will love this easy Mile High Apple Pie! It has 5 pounds of apples flavored with brown sugar and lemon juice. I precook the filling and then bake it inside a flakey, buttery pie crust for the perfect apple pie!
Baking the best Mile High Apple Pie requires a few extra steps, but it is worth it! I precook the apple pie filling so that the filling and the crust are both perfectly baked and there is no gap between the apple filling and the top crust. Just like my Perfect Blueberry Pie and Mixed Berry Pie, you must cool the filling before assembling the pie. Hot filling will melt the butter in your crust and you won’t get those beautiful flakey layers!
I used my All-Butter Pie Crust made using the Stand Mixer Method in this video, but you could use this Vodka All-Butter Pie Crust or an Old Fashioned Shortening Pie Crust.
Table of Contents
How to pre-cook apples for pie
Time needed: 28 minutes.
Mile High Apple Pie is what dreams are made of--and pre-cooking your apples is an easy step!
- Prep baking sheets:
Freeze two rimmed baking sheets.
- Cut apples:
Peel, core and quarter apples. Slice about ¼ inch thick.
- Mix ingredients:
Combine apples lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, sugars, cornstarch and butter in a large pot.
Simmer over low heat until the apples begin to release their juices. Increase heat to medium and cook until filling has thickened and apples are crisp tender.
Pour filling between two frozen baking sheets lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few ventilation holes. Refrigerate until cold.
How to keep precooked apple pie filling from being soggy?
- Choose the right apples for your Mile High Apple Pie: I choose crisp, tender apples that hold up to baking such as honeycrisps, Braeburn, Jonagold, Cripps Pink, gala, granny smith and Pink Ladies.
- Cook until crisp-tender: Think of this as the sweet version of “al dente pasta.” You want the apples to be tender and fully cooked but some still crunchy.
- Rapidly cool the filling: I freeze baking sheets lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pour the hot filling out in a single layer between two frozen baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes and then refrigerate until cold. This will keep the apples from over-cooking.
- Apples: When baking I use a large variety of apples! This creates a more complex flavor even in simple dishes. Choose apples that that retain their flavor and texture when cooked like gala, honeycrisp, pink lady, or Braeburn.5 pounds is a whole lot of apples – so why not have a variety?
- Lemon Juice: Lemon juice adds a lovely flavor to the apples in this Mile High Apple PIe! My motto for citrus juices is that fresh is always best. If you must use store-bought lemon juice, try to find a frozen option that is frozen fresh juice, or sometimes it can be found in the refrigerator section. If it looks dark in color, then it is no longer going to taste fresh.
- Lemon Zest: Be sure to zest only the bright yellow parts of the lemon peel for the most concentrated flavor and to avoid the bitter white pith. It is also helpful to zest before you juice!
- Cinnamon: I use Saigon cinnamon but any cinnamon will be delightful.
- Light Brown Sugar: Using light brown sugar adds sweetness along with a little moisture and a nice, rich molasses flavor.
- Sugar: I use granulated sugar in this pie. It is here for the more obvious flavor reasons, but also to retain moisture and improve texture.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a thickener and it helps bind all the ingredients together when the Mile High Apple Pie is baked. It also acts as a stabilizer before baking.
- Butter: I typically use unsalted butter for baking, because you want to control the amount of salt you are adding. Every brand is different and it makes adjusting the recipe a challenge.
- All Butter Pie Crust: I used my All-Butter Pie Crust made using the Stand Mixer Method shown in this video, but you could use this Vodka All-Butter Pie Crust or an Old Fashioned Shortening Pie Crust.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store baked Mile High Apple pie at room temperature for 3 days or refrigerated for 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap the cooled pie in plastic wrap before storing.
Mile High Apple pie will keep 3 days at room temperature, a week refrigerated or up to 2 months frozen.
Baked Mile High Apple pie freezes brilliantly. Cool pie completely at room temperature, then wrap well and refrigerate until cold. Place wrapped pie in the freezer for up to 2 months.
For the best results, Mile High Apple pie can be reheated in a preheated 350F oven. Bake until filling is warmed and the crust has re-crisped
Prepare the pie crust up to a week in advance. I usually wrap and store these in the freezer. The pre-cooked and cooled pie filling can be made up to a week in advance or it can be frozen for up to 2 months. You can prepare and bake the pie up to one week in advance.
This pie recipe will easily multiply. Just be sure you have the ability to cook and cool the apple pie filling. You can also precook it in batches.
Do I have to precook apples for mile high apple pie?
You do not have to precook apples for mile high apple pie but precooking the apple pie filling will avoid having an underdone filling and overbaked crust. It will also eliminate the gap between the apple pie filling and the top crust!
I choose crisp, tender apples that hold up to baking. I also use a variety of apples to vary the flavor and sweetness. Choose between honeycrisps, Braeburn, Jonagold, Cripps Pink, gala, granny smith and Pink Ladies.
How to serve Mile High Apple Pie?
This Mile High Apple Pie can be served warm or cold. I love it warmed up with a generous scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for the cool, creamy contrast. For an extra decadent dessert, spoon over some of the best caramel sauce! You could also serve it with a drizzle of vanilla bean anglaise, which basically tastes like melted ice cream!
Chef Lindsey's Recipe Tips
This tip comes straight from a professional pastry kitchen. Rapidly cool the filling to keep it from overcooking and to speed up the assembly process! I freeze baking sheets lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Pour the hot filling out in a single layer between two frozen baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a few holes and then refrigerate until cold. This is essentially how I make apple pie filling from 8 cases of apples at a time for my Pastry Shop.
Mile High Apple Pie
For the All-Butter Pie Crust (you could also use 2 store-bought crusts instead):
- 2 ¼ cups pastry flour (measured by fluffing the flour then spooning it in)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold, cubed into ½ inch cubes)
- 2 ¼ oz cold water (or as much or as little as needed)
For the Pie Filling:
- 11 cups apples (peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch slices. From 5 lbs of whole apples)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed from about 1 lemon)
- 1 lemon (juiced and zested (bright yellow parts only!))
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons butter (cubed)
- Heavy cream & granulated sugar for sprinkling
Prepare Pie Crusts:
- Whisk together pastry flour, salt and sugar. Using your stand mixer, cut in the butter until you have slightly larger than pea sized pieces.
- Slowly begin to add your ice water a tablespoon at a time. At this point be very careful with the amount of water that you add because it only needs a few teaspoons more.
- When your dough is shaggy, which means it looks like shards or strands of pastry, and there is still some loose flour, turn out your dough from the mixer and work the dough together by gathering it and pressing away from you with the heal of your hand. Do this JUST until it comes together. If it is crumbling, then dip your hand in a little ice water and pat it on the pastry dough. Seriously, that’s it. Remember the gluten!
- Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight. If you chill your dough overnight, you will need to let it rest a bit before rolling or it will be too cold and it will crack.
- Roll out half the pie dough and line a 9 or 10 inch deep-dish pie dish; refrigerate. Roll out the second half of the pie dough for the top crust, place on a baking sheet and refrigerate.
Prepare the Filling:
- Freeze two rimmed baking sheets.
- Peel, core and quarter apples. Slice about ¼ inch thick either by hand or with a mandolin. The mandolin will speed up the process and also make more consistent slices.
- Combine apples lemon juice, lemon zest, cinnamon, sugars, cornstarch and butter in a large pot.
- Simmer over low heat until the apples begin to release their juices. Increase heat to medium and cook until filling has thickened and apples are crisp-tender. Some will look translucent and other not. You don’t want to overcook your filling at this stage. It still has to cook again!
- Pour filling between two frozen baking sheets lined with parchment paper. The filling should be in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and poke a few ventilation holes. Refrigerate until cold. This rapidly cools the filling and stops the cooking process.
- This can be done up to a week in advance.
Mile High Apple Pie Assembly:
- Preheat your oven to 425℉.
- Roll out your pie crusts on a lightly floured surface into two circles that are roughly 2 inches larger in diameter than your pie dish, to a little more than ⅛th of an inch thick. Line an ungreased pie dish with one of the crusts, allowing the excess to hang over the edges. Place on sheet pan, cover and chill.
- Place top crust on parchment lined sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
- Pour cooled apple filling into the pastry lined pie dish, mounding the apples in the center. Place the top crust over the filling; cut vent holes on top (you can also make cute cutouts before placing the top crust over the filling.); trim all but ½ inch excess dough from around the edges; press the top and bottom crust together, fold under and create a decorative edge. You can flute the edges or press with a fork, or even decorate with cutouts from your scraps.
- Brush the top with heavy cream and generously sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes; lower the temperature to 350℉ and bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is brown, which will be about 45-60 minutes longer.
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