A few years ago, my mom wanted to make this sour cream apple pie she remembered my Aunt Barbara making. Aunt B gave me the recipe, with a note saying, “I didn’t make this up. Origins unknown – think it might be a Joan Spector recipe.” My mom then found a recipe for a similar pie that was labeled Reading Market. She tweaked Aunt B’s recipe and sent me the changes. Then Joe and I tweaked it some more, and now we make this crazy-good apple pie that people go nuts for.
I’m sharing this recipe – and our method – with you. Because, you know, it’s Thanksgiving and all.
It all starts with the apples. It is, after all, an apple pie.
The first time Joe and I went to make this, I remembered my mom’s trick for making the best unsweetened apple sauce ever: use as many different varieties of apples you possibly can. I applied that same logic when shopping for apples for this pie. The recipe calls for six, so make sure you get six different kinds.
This year we used (clockwise from top) Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, Gala, and Golden Delicious (center). I may have mixed up Fuji and Gala but they were both in the mix.
The second big change we made was to use our mandolin to slice the apples really thin. We set ours to 2, which comes out to about 1/16 of an inch in thickness. To prep the apples, I peel and Joe slices. As we go, we sprinkle the apple slices with fresh lemon juice.
After the apples are all sliced up, you toss them with a sour cream mixture that includes flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, an egg, and some vanilla. It’s REALLY tasty. You can fold them in with a spoon or spatula, but this is one time when I agree with Honey Boo Boo and say that sometimes your hands are your best tools. (Don’t worry, they were freshly washed.)
So here’s my other big secret: I don’t make my own crust. I’ve tried – seriously, I have TRIED – but I always, always botch it. So now I don’t even try anymore. I just buy the store-bought kind. Besides, I think it tastes better than most homemade anyway. P.S. I don’t even bother to get Pillsbury anymore. I buy the ShopRite brand.
Once you have your crust nestled into your deep dish pie pan, you pour in your sour creamed apple slices. You may need to use your hands again to make sure the slices get into every corner of the crust. It’s messy work, but totally worth it.
You bake the pie at a couple of different temperatures. Then, after 45 minutes, you add the crumb topping, which is made with flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. I dice the cold butter and mix it in with my fingertips until crumb-like.
Add some sliced almonds, bake for another 20 minutes, and there you have it: the best apple pie you’ll ever make (or eat!).
The full recipe is below. And because I’m not an actual food blogger, I don’t have some neat recipe widget that gives you a pretty printable copy. So, I made a Word doc for those of you who want to print it out: Sour Cream Apple Pie
Aunt Barbara’s Sour Cream Apple Pie
Adapted by Nancy; adapted again by Lara & Joe
For the pie:
Unbaked 9” pie crust
6 apples (one each of six varieties), pared, cored, and sliced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (you can use less if you have strong vanilla)
1 cup sour cream
For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup salted butter (1/2 stick)
* If using unsalted butter, add 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 425. Take your store-bought out of the fridge to bring to room temp.
Peel your apples. Cut them in half and remove the core with a melon baller. Then make them into 1/16” slices using a mandolin. You can make this recipe just by slicing your apples by hand, but trust me—thinner slices is better. As you go, sprinkle slices with some of the fresh lemon juice.
Sift together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the egg, vanilla, and sour cream. Fold apples into this mixture.
Arrange your store-bought crust in deep-dish pie pan, hand-crimping the top edge. Spoon sour cream/apple mixture into the shell.
Bake 15 minutes at 425, then reduce to 325 and cook for 30 minutes. You may want to put a cookie sheet on a lower shelf to catch any spill-overs.
Combine all of the topping ingredients in a bowl with fingertips until crumbly. After the 30 minutes are up, sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top of the pie. Then add 1/4 cup of sliced almonds.
Bake at 350 for 20 more minutes. The crumb topping will melt a little around the edges but look dry elsewhere. That’s okay. This is how it’s supposed to look.
Let cool before serving, then enjoy!