This is a recipe that is close to my heart. I learned to bake this pie in the 1st grade from my teacher Mrs. Birch. Ever since that fall day this has been a treasured recipe in my family and has been passed along to friends and other members of the family. This was apple pie to me growing up. This was the go-to recipe. And it still is, although I have ventured out and made traditional style crusts and whatnot as well. I always come back to this one, at least once a year, usually about this time every fall.
That autumn smell is in the air, the leaves are starting to change and apple-picking is in full swing!
So that’s what I did yesterday with a good friend of mine: went apple picking. It is a just a glorious thing to be out among the rows of apple trees on a fall day, blue skies and wispy clouds overhead. I hate the winters in western NY but I CHERISH the falls.
I will be going apple picking again in a few weeks, no doubt. I am a bit of an apple addict even aside from baking so I can’t really seem to get enough of them.
The green and baking apples weren’t quite ready for picking yet when I went but I came home with an ample harvest of Macuns and Empire apples which will serve me well for eating straight-out and for baking while I wait for my Crispins, Jonagolds and Granny Smith’s.
Swedish apple pie is not a fussy recipe by an means so nearly any apple will suffice for this, although I went with the Empires over the Macuns since they are a bit more tart and firm (I prefer the Macun for eating though I must admit, they are sweeter, also with a firm white flesh! Yum!). This recipe is part pie and part crisp as there is no bottom crust and it is quite loose when you go to remove it from the pan. I always cut it into slices but they always tend to fall apart a bit upon removal from the tin. No problem, because I love to serve it with vanilla ice cream! Today I made my own vanilla bean ice cream (recipe at the bottom of this post) which is an excellent partner to the Swedish apple pie. The filling is simply sliced apples tossed with cinnamon, white and brown sugar and the crust is a mixture of melted butter (or margarine as the recipe originally calls for), sugar, egg, flour and chopped nuts (I prefer walnuts but pecans would be good as well). The crust is not rolled, you just roughly spread it over the apples to cover them nearly to the edges using your hands. As it bakes, the filling turns into this wonderfully sweet and caramely heaven and the crust into a crispy, yet tender, buttery golden halo ontop. Yea, if you can’t tell I love this one.
My mom still has the original recipe “worksheet” I filled out in class as a child and this is what she uses to this day when she bakes up the pie. I have a scanned copy so below are the front and back of it! Don’t judge my handwriting: I was only in first grade! Note: I got an apple stamp (in the upper right corner of the first side)- I guess that means I did an amazing job! 😉
I’m so happy my mom held onto this. It amuses me a lot. And makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside 🙂
I follow this recipe almost exactly except for a few things: 1) if you don’t use 20 oz. apples (which are huge) you will need more like 4 apples instead of the 2 or 3 that it calls for and I like to peel them (which also isn’t specified, you could leave the peel on if you want though), 2) I use butter instead of margarine and it needs to be melted, which is not specified on the recipe sheet, 3) I add a pinch of fine kosher or sea salt to the crust ingredients, and 4) It will most likely need to be baked longer than the specified 30-40 minutes but that depends on your oven (you want the top to be light golden brown). The filling can be mushier or with more texture depending on what you prefer, just cut the apples into larger or smaller wedges. I use an apple wedge cutter/corer which cuts it into 8 slices and then I cut each slice in half and, to me, this makes for an excellent consistency but it is on the mushy side. You could add more spice to this recipe if you wish as well: some fresh nutmeg in the filling and a dash of cinnamon in the crust would be nice.
I realize you could just use the recipe from my elementary school worksheet but I have included the “grown-up” versions below if you prefer 😉
(For me, there is something beautifully nostalgic about using my old worksheet- thanks for the memories and the recipe Mrs. Birch!)
Swedish Apple Pie
- 2-3 large apples or 4-5 small/medium apples (baking apples preferably)
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg, optional
- 1 tbsp. granulated white sugar
- 1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup melted butter (or margarine)
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans preferably, toasted if desired)
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, optional (for the crust)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Grease a 9 inch pie pan with butter
- Peel, core and slice the apples (thin for a mushier filling, thicker for a chunkier filling)
- Toss the apples with the cinnamon, white sugar, brown sugar and nutmeg (if using) and dump into pie pan
- In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, egg, flour, nuts, salt and cinnamon (if using).
- Spread the dough over the apples almost to the edges, using your hands
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown
- Allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving
This is the easiest apple pie you will ever make and it will not disappoint! We have even served it to company and it is always drooled over! Especially if you serve homemade vanilla bean ice cream alongside or on-top!
I have gone through quite a few ice cream recipes on here so far so I will just give you our favorite vanilla bean ice cream recipe below. For more detailed instructions, including pictures please refer to Reese’s Pieces Ice Cream which is essentially the same recipe, only with candy added in. This recipe is adapted from “Vanilla Ice Cream” in Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 vanilla bean split in half, seeds scraped out
- 8 large egg yolks
- Pour the cream, milk and sugar into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof medium bowl
- Heat the cream mixture over medium heat, stirring very frequently with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar. Heat until it is very hot but not quite simmering
- Temper the beaten eggs with a ladle full of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly to combine. Add a couple more ladles of hot cream mixture, one at a time, whisking each time
- Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan and immediately reduce the heat to medium low
- Add in the vanilla bean pods and seeds
- Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula and thick enough so when a line is drawn through the custard, the line holds its shape. The temperature should be 180 degrees F
- Immediately pour the custard through a sieve positioned above a large bowl (this is the bowl you will store the custard in).
- Discard the Vanilla Pods
- Let cool on the counter for about a half hour before covering and placing in the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hours (overnight is better)
- Transfer the chilled custard to your ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions (should take about 20 minutes and the ice cream will still be slightly soft even when it’s done churning)
- Transfer the ice cream to a covered freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving to allow it to firm up (or serve it at soft-serve consistency right out of the machine)