Do you think of apple pie as a summer or fall food?  Or both?  Even though apple season is in the fall, I will always associate apple pie with summer and more specifically with the Fourth of July.  Back when Ben and I were first living together and I was just learning how to cook and bake, I woke up one Fourth of July and decided I needed to make an apple pie to celebrate the holiday.  I don’t know if there is any real reason for the connection between Independence Day and apple pie – maybe the expression, “As American as apple pie”?  Or more likely for me, maybe the line from Friends, “It’s like Fourth of July with no apple pie…or Friday with no two pizzas.”

Ever since the first time I made it, Ben has declared my apple pie to be his very favorite kind of pie (though I think it may now be edged out by pecan instead).  I’ve tweaked the recipe and tried many filling variations over the years, and this is the version I’ve come to favor.  I personally prefer Granny Smith apples only in my pies, but you can use a combination of baking apples if you choose.  I normally make apple pies with a lattice top but I thought a star-covered version would be fun for the Fourth and I loved the way it turned out.  This would be a great way to finish off any cookout this holiday weekend – just don’t forget the vanilla ice cream!


Double crust pie dough
5-6 medium/large Granny Smith apples (about 2½ lbs.), peeled, cored and sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water (for egg wash)


  • 01

    On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pie dough into approximately a 12-inch round.  (Keep the other half of the pie dough chilled for now.)  Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, trimming the excess and crimping the edges.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Position an oven rack in the upper-middle position.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced apples, sugars, flour, spices and lemon juice.  Toss well to combine.  When the bottom crust is finished chilling, pour the apple mixture and accumulated juices into the bottom pie crust and use a spatula to even the top out slightly.  Dot the surface of the apples with the pieces of cold butter.  Roll out the remaining pie dough on a floured work surface.  Cut out numerous star shapes and use these to cover the top of the pie.  (Alternatively, make a lattice top crust.)  Brush the top and edges of the crust with the egg wash.

  • 03

    Place a baking sheet on the lower oven rack.  Place the pie on the upper rack and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 50-60 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.