Spiced Apple Pie

Serves: Makes 8-12 slices
Approx cost: €2
Approx calories (per serving if cut into 12 slices): ~395
Approx preparation and cooking time: 40 mins

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”] W ith Autumn fast getting into full swing, as I noticed in my previous post, as well as the rather chilly, rainy, grey weather we’ve been having of late I thought, what better time than to crank out an apple pie. I’ve got vast quantities of apples at the moment so we’re eating a great deal of baked apples made in my wife’s new slow cooker. My wife also recently made some “Apple Butter”, in the same vein as this type of recipe. I have to say I haven’t actually had an apple pie in ages, and for sure I don’t think I’ve ever made a deep pie. I normally make my pies on a dinner plate but they’re far from an ideal shape 😀

The recipe below will make a really large pie. 8 large slices, or still 12 decent ones, so you’ll need to ensure you have a pie dish large enough. I think the pie dish I used is about 40 cms in diameter, so quite sizeable, and I actually ended up taking half of it into work the next day to “share the love” so to speak. Now it’s a well known fact that cinnamon pairs with apple like bread with butter, but I wanted to mix in a few extra spices, just for some extra excitement. Freshly ground cardamom, cloves and nutmeg all go really well in an apple pie, and the almonds on top provided a lovely nutty texture. I used sweet, eating apples, so I mixed the spices with sugar and lemon juice – the lemon really lifted the apples, giving a delicious background “zing”, although if you’re not using eating apples, but more sour cooking apples then you could probably omit the lemon juice. Have a good Wednesday (half way through the week, yay!) and enjoy! :)


Spiced Apple Pie ingredients

  • 500g Plain Flour
  • 120g Butter
  • 120g Vegetable Shortening
  • 60g Sugar + 40g for mixing with lemon juice
  • ~6 Eating Apples
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 0.5 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 60g Flaked Almonds
  • Juice from ~half a lemon
  • 5-6 tbsps Milk + 2 for brushing the pastry with


  1.  Now you could use a food processor for this, but if you don’t have one or prefer to do it by hand, add the Flour, Butter, Shortening and 60g of Sugar into a bowl. Chop the fat up with a knife into small chunks and then rub between your finger-tips until you’ve achieved a “breadcrumb” like consistency. You could alternatively use 240g of Butter, instead of half / half, but the pastry will be very rich in this case.
    Mixing the flour and fat
  2. Add about 5 -6 tbsps of Milk to the “breadcrumb” mixture and mix well with a spoon until you’ve formed a non-sticky pastry dough. If necessary, you may need to adjust the amount of milk added, or sprinkle in some extra flour to ensure the dough is smooth and manageable. Take your pie dish and rub the inside with some butter to ensure the pastry doesn’t stick to the inside. Once done, take about 2/3 of the pastry, transfer to a floured work-surface (I used rice flour) and then flour your rolling pin and roll out the pastry. As long as you keep the top floured, the easiest way of doing this is to give 2 or 3 rolls and then rotate the rough 90 degrees. Once the dough is about 0.5 cms thick (I like a thick crust, but you can make it a bit thinner if you like) gently pick it up and transfer to the centre of the pie dish. Push it down on all sides to fill out the edges of the dish and then trim away the excess from the top. Some people fill their pastry cases with beans, while baking, to prevent bubbling. Personally I find that sticking the base all over with a fork does a good job as well! Preheat the oven to about 190 degrees Celsius and bake the pastry case for about 10 minutes, or until starting to turn a more golden colour.
    Lining the Pie dish
  3. While the base is cooking, peel and core the apples. Slice thinly. I used a mandoline to get even slices, very quickly, but you can also use a knife. When the base is ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before arranging the apple slices inside the crust. Sprinkle the top with the flaked almonds and then mix your cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon with the remaining 40g of Sugar and the Lemon Juice in a small bowl. Stir well and then spoon the mixture over the apples and almonds.
    Pouring on the lemon juice
  4. Take the remaining pastry and roll out again on a floured surface to a similar thickness as the base. Gently lay over the pie and press into the edges to seal up. Make a few cuts in the centre with a knife to allow hot air to escape and then, using a pastry brush, “paint” the top of the pie with the remaining 2 tbsps or so of Milk. Place in the oven (which is hopefully still on, at 190 degrees Celsius, if not you need to heat it up to this temperature again) and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown on top.
    Uncooked and Cooked Apple Pie
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so before serving out. Enjoy with some nice vanilla ice-cream, some cream or just on its own! :)
    Spiced Apple Pie


    • says

      I had something called a charlotte once, although I think it was french inspired, and had none of that cream stuff inside, the russian one looks great though. Something to add to my list of foods to make perhaps 😀

  1. says

    Ooooh! Look at that crust! Beautiful Charles! Just beautiful! I've never put cardamom in an apple pie before…I may look into that this season. I need to go hit the apple farm!!!! I just love fall apples. So much goodness. :)

    • says

      Thanks Kristy – I like to put cardamom in my coffee too. Just get 2 or 3 pods, crush them up and put them in to the coffee filter with the rest of your coffee and make it in the normal way – so delicious!

  2. says

    Yumm…I've not started my apple baking yet, but seeing this pie has my mouth watering! I like the cardamon in the pie and the topping of almonds is a terrific idea!

    • says

      Actually adding almonds on top (and perhaps even on the bottom too!) has the added bonus of ensuring the pastry doesn't get soggy from the apple juice so it's quite a nifty little trick :) Mmm, makes me want some more right now…

  3. says

    I LOVED the picture of the tart base in its red scalloped dish before baking. It's perfect … my pie edges are always ragged, there's flour everywhere on the outside of the dish. They taste good but they don't always LOOK that professional. :)

    • says

      Haha, thanks a lot 😀 I always used to roll my pastry, and then flip it every few rolls, but then I read a great tip on one of the blogs I follow that said it's best to roll and just rotate – never flip. This ensures you don't end up ripping the pastry and works really well! :)

  4. says

    Hi Charles, you are right: it's so funny to see almonds in your post too! Your pie looks lovely and sooooo British :-) It reminds me of Clarissa Dickson Wright, Two Fat Ladies, old kitchens, the idyllic British countryside etc.. (Please don't laugh! We, foreigners have the right to see Britain en rose, as the French say 😉 ) The only thing that lacks here is lard (as you see I read many old-fashioned British cookbooks).

    I have never made a sweet -covered – pie really I think… Apples must be incredibly good made this way, with all the spices and almonds. Great recipe for colder days! (we still have quite warm weather here)

    Try to look for reine de reinettes (king of the pippins in Britain), it's according to me the best apple variety to cook and preserve.

    • says

      Thanks Sissi – I used to like watching the Two Fat Ladies too – they were just the epitome of "Britishness" 😀 There is an apple – it's quite rare in England – which I am desperate to find in France. I don't think I've had one of these apples in 10 years or more. The flesh is bright white, super crisp, juicy and delicately fragrant with a slightly rose-like taste. The skin varies in colour from bright, deep crimson red to a pale green – I've tried many different apples here in the hope of finding it but I'm resigned to the belief that they're only going to be found in England, and even then only very rarely. I'll have a look for the apple you suggested and try it out – thanks!

      • says

        Charles, I am sure you will find it! It’s yellow, sometimes with red “freckles”, with grey ugly patches and since it’s not a glowing beautiful big apple variety, you will only find it on markets (not in supermarkets). Usually it costs nothing (sometimes I’m happy most people prefer good-looking apples rather than flavoursome ones 😉
        Some varieties are found only in one country. It is very sad.

      • says

        I’m curious. What apple are you looking for, Charles? I love the Fat Ladies too as does my nephew who requested their dvds for a birthday present one year. And hasn’t shared his dvds with his fond aunt. :(

        • says

          Hehe, I actually got the name of the apple from my mother recently and have forgotten it again now – typical. I know though that I've never seen it in France, that's for sure. I'll ask her again!

  5. says

    Okay I am not a huge fan of apple pie I must admit, but I know my mother will absolutely love your recipe. I am sending it to her now. And I suspect we may have this over the holidays :)

    • says

      😮 What is there not to like? Pastry? Awesome! Apple? Awesome! 😀 I often find it rather "plain" compared to the other possibilities for dessert but sometimes it's nice to eat such a hearty dish!

  6. says

    mmm…autumn spices are so wonderful! Your pie looks delish Charles and I'm digging that pretty red pie plate too. Your method is very cool – the crumble like topping before the final layer of pastry – love the almonds!

    • says

      Thanks Kelly – I pondered what it would be like adding in some star anise like in that beautiful cake/tart you made a while back but I chickened out at the last moment, too afraid that it might not work very well :p I shall be more brave next time! :)

  7. says

    Hi Charles, what a beautiful pie. A real testament to the autumn. I also like the addition of cardamom on the apples (a tip of the hat to Morocco? or do the French use it too?)

    We had a mess of apples that we were not able to gobble up, so last night we made a large batch of apple sauce (thanks to the inspiration of fellow blogger Chicago John fromthebartolinikitchens.com). I wish we had saved a few for this delicious pie. We used to buy an (exorbitantly priced) pie from Mövenpick Marché in Toronto that was thinly sliced apples like yours, but the apples were piled so high, it would have tripled the height of the pie!

    Apple-icious for sure!

    • says

      Hi Eva – come to think of it I've never seen anything French with cardamom inside (or on) and I had to order my whole pods from England. They use it quite a lot in Swedish baking, so I was actually thinking more Scandinavian when I added in the cardamom. That pie from Toronto sounds amazing deep and delicious – a bit like some of the apple tarts I've seen here, although not so often (as they're more often of the shallow variety).

        • says

          I can understand using cardamom *instead* of saffron, definitely – but as saffron has such a delicate flavour and is so expensive I would have thought adding both in together might negate the purpose of adding the saffron in the first place. I checked in my wife's book "Vår Kok Bok" (Our Cook Book) – it's a hugely popular book which you'll find in many homes – and they give a recipe for "saffron bread" to be used for making the little twisty Lucia things (as well as something else called "Priests' Beards" – lol) – but obviously recipes evolve over time and location – maybe I'll try some with cardamom this year 😀

      • says

        Hmm, re-replying here as it cut off my comment for some reason below:

        I’ve only ever seen “lussebullar” (or katter) made with saffron actually – never cardamom, though that’s an excellent reminder to make and post some when Lucia day rolls around … December 13th or something if I remember correctly. No, in fact I was thinking more of things like kanelbullar (cinnamon buns). With freshly ground cardamom they’re unreal. When we fly to Sweden each year, if we’re on the morning domestic flight they heat up a trolley of cinnamon buns and bring them around with coffee. The smell (and the fact that the whole plane smells of cinnamon and cardamom) is so amazing. It’s also common in those “skorpor” rusk biscuits I made not long ago and many cakes and breads :)

        • says

          You've got the date right … Dec 13. :)

          This recipe for Lucia buns has both saffron and cardamom. I guess in some recipes, they substitute saffron with cardamom because saffron is expensive or hard to find.


          I should check and see what they use in Betty Crocker's International cookbook which used to be my go to book for international recipes before the internet. :)

  8. says

    Great idea using cardamom. Love the spice. Next project for sure! I've recently added some finely grated cheddar into the pie crust mix after finding it in some recipes and found that it's a really good marriage. Now I'm drooling just looking at this …. now, where's my pie dish ….

    • says

      Finely grated cheddar cheese? Wow, what an interesting idea – There’s a cheese in England called “Wensleydale” which goes really well with sweet things – cake, pies etc, so I guess there’s no reason why a bit of cheddar wouldn’t be delicious.

      Speaking of odd pies, my wife made me a vinegar pie last night (sweet) – that was… surprisingly delicious 😀

      • says

        vinegar pie? How interesting, don't think I've ever heard of that. I can believe it goes sweet after cooking, kinda like reduced balsamic vinegar. Are you going to be posting that? You've got my curiosity peaked!

  9. says

    I just discovered your site recently and your idea of putting affordable recipes online, is such a good one! Keep on going!!

  10. says

    I didn't know your blog this time and I just saw this on your home page. I love apple pies and this looks really delicious! My mom isn't a baker but when I was small she used to bake a nice apple pie. I love your addition of cardamom!

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