Best in Show: Winning Apple Pie

Barbara Treves won Best in Show at KCRW’s first ever Good Food Pie Contest:

winning apple pie

Forever Favourite Apple Pie


1-1/2 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached, organic all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla powder
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
3 T sugar
1-1/4 cup sweet butter, unsalted (freshly made if possible)
1 Tablespoon white vinegar, chilled
6 – 8 Tablespoons ice water

Measure out all dry ingredients, combine and place in freezer, keep butter & liquid ingredients in refrigerator for at least one hour prior to preparation.

When ready, add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse to mix thoroughly.  Add butter cubes and pulse until mixture resembles pea-sized meal.  Add vinegar, pulse to mix then add ice water, 1 T at a time, until dough begins to stick together and when pinched by hand, holds together.   Remove from processor and transfer to work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal parts and gently form into balls, and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.

4 Tablespoons sweet butter
12 organic apples from local farmers market (mixture of Granny Smith, Fuji or other tart, crisp apples the best) – peeled, cored and sliced.
1 vanilla bean, split seeds scraped

1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup organic sugar

4 Tablespoons organic, unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried, sour cherries, soaked in 1/4 cup Calvados for at least 2 hours

Filling Preparation

Mix all dry ingredients, including vanilla bean seeds together.  Add 2 tablespoons of this dry mixture to roasting pan, along with peeled and sliced apples.  Place under broiler and broil until apples are slightly browned but not cooked through.   Once nicely browned, remove and add rest of the ingredients, except butter.

Adding Filling to Pie Dough

Chill pie plate while you roll out 1 of the dough discs on a lightly floured surface until you get a disc that measure slightly larger than your pie plate and about 1/8 “– 1⁄4” thick. Pull out pie plate and gently place rolled out dough in plate.

Add broiled apples mixture, then dot with 4 T butter.  Roll out 2nd disc into a circle about 1/8” – 1⁄4” thick and place on top of apples.  Pinch top and bottom dough edges together and form a decorative edge.

Final Topping

1 egg
1 Tablespoon Cream
Turbinado Coarse Raw Sugar

Beat the egg and cream together in a small dish then brush top and edges of pie with mixture, sprinkle with sugar.


400 degrees for 45 mins.  Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil if starting to brown too quickly.  Turn pie in oven and cook an additional 15 mins. or until done.

Cool for at least two hours prior to serving.

  • EverSince

    Tried this for Christmas dinner, and overall, was disappointed. Some guests commented that the pie was too sweet, others that it wasn't sweet enough! The crust definitely has a savory taste, and one guest thought that while the filling was excellent, the crust was lacking. I thought the filling tasted of butter, and not in a good way (if you can taste the butter itself, it's moved to the forefront instead of supporting and harmonizing with the other flavors). I'm an experienced baker and have made many pies; can't help but wonder if the winning baker held back some of her secrets in order to protect the sanctity of her prize recipe! To be fair, could not find vanilla powder for the crust (but subbed in a good extract), and used cranberries instead of the soaked dried cherries, but other than that, this was by the book. It looked pretty, but I won't make it again.

  • EverSince

    Also, forgot to mention that the step of broiling the apples was a bit of fussiness that didn't really work to brown the apples, and didn't seem to add anything. This pie is a LOT of work, even as pies go!

  • kaylz

    ya the pie may be a lot of work. and it may not be the pie grandma made, but its good. real good.what i like about it is that it is different. it is one of those pies that stands out… people will remember it. they will say 'oh ya, that apple pie with the dried cherries. man that was good!'
    with a few modification (simplifications), this will be my go to apple pie! absolutely fantastic! bc im lazy, i use store bought pie crust (from the freezer section). i know, i know, its an affront to true bakers everywhere and many would say it compromises the quality of the pie…blah blah blah. Honestly, for the effort to taste ratio, i cant really tell a difference and it saves a lot of time. so i cannot speak to the quality of the crust in the recipe. maybe one day ill give it a go.
    The innards on the other hand are fantastic! the spices and real vanilla bean are perfect! i might cut back on the sugar a tad.The macerated cherries are what set this pie a part from the crowd! im cheap so i didnt by calvados. instead i substituted dark rum to soak the cherries (but im sure whiskey or brandy would work well too). i found the pie to be a little heavy on the vinegar. i used all granny smith apples and they were tart enough on their own. in the future i will cut back on the apple cider vinegar. i also cut the butter in half. but the flavors of the pie come together beautifully and melt in your mouth.

    all in all, delicious!

  • bakingheaven

    I made this pie with one small modifcation, and I thought it was very good. I also did not have Calvados, so used brandy instead. I agree that the broiled apple step did not perceptibly add and was a bit of a pain. I am not sure if the outcome is worth the fuss, as it is a labor intensive dish. The vanilla bean, while delicious, is very expensive as well.

    I may just keep some of the fun parts, like the addition of whole wheat to the crust, which gives texture, the alcohol soaked dried fruit, and vanilla powder and wing the rest this year.

    Here is a picture. I had extra crust, which I sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and used as decorative leaves on top of and around the pie.