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Amazing Apple Pie Filling & the Perfect Pastry Crust

devon 3 Comments

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Amazing Apple Pie Filling & the Perfect Pastry Crust

Devon 3 Comments

Set aside a little time now, and can up some apple pie filling for amazingly fast, future desserts. Recipe for a perfect pastry crust included!

I think my husband resolved to make me his wife the first time I made him an apple pie (although it would take us years before we actually tied the knot, because procrastination).  It seems that my special brand of apple pie with a buttery crust left him cozy with nostalgia.  Sometimes he gets a certain look in his eyes, and says “You know what?  You should make an apple pie.”  But it isn’t always apple season, and sometimes I am short on time.  So this year I got wise and started to can apple pie filling.

Now I can have an apple pie in the oven in 5 minutes.

And, I can do this fast pie trick exactly nine times before I run out of filling because of my efforts.

It will not be enough.

I need more apples…

Amazing Apple Pie Filling & the Perfect Pastry Crust

Blessed with an abundance of free apples courtesy of our neighbor’s overloaded trees and armed with this fantastic apple peeler, canning apple pie filling was a remarkably easy task.  At least, once I set about to do it.  Because, procrastination {again — sensing a theme here, no?}. This acquisition of said apple peeler made the process of peeling, coring, and slicing dozens of apples fast and simple.  Brown sugar lends a decidedly caramel-y flavor, while the cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg and even a pinch of black pepper (trust me, black pepper is super here) brings lots of traditional spice and aromatics to the apple pie filling.  Wanting to make the filling universally appealing to my gluten-free friends (for whom I make apple crisps), I chose to thicken the base with tapioca starch.  The resulting apple pie filling is glossy and thick, without any hint of glue-like goo (as I notice with flour and cornstarch thickened fillings sometimes).  Lastly, a little lemon juice keeps the flavors bright and the pH safe for water bath canning (testing around 3.4 with this freshly calibrated pH meter).

Amazing Apple Pie Filling & the Perfect Pastry Crust

Homemade Apple Pie Filling Recipe

Amazing Apple Pie Filling


  • 12 cups peeled cored, and slice apples
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1.5-2 cups dark brown sugar (more or less depending in preference)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • pinch of black pepper


  • Place all ingredients in a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. Cook over medium heat until the apples have softened slightly and the juices have become thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
  • Ladle hot filling into sterilized quart jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Wipe rims and screw on prepare lids and rings, finger tight. Process in a water bath canner at a full boil for 25 minutes.
  • Remove jars from canner after processing and allow to cool for 24 hours. Check for seal and store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

Amazing Apple Pie Filling & the Perfect Pastry Crust



You didn’t think I would leave you hanging, did you?  Can’t have all this apple pie filling without a pie crust now, can we?  Here is my never fail (almost never) pie crust.  It is buttery, flaky, delicious, and easy to work with.

Perfect Pastry Pie Crust Recipe

Perfect Pastry Crust

Makes a double crust.


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter cubed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water


  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • Add water in small increments, pulsing between additions, until the dough is evenly moist and hold together when pressed between fingers.
  • Remove blade and turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Work into a cohesive mass, then divided in half. If your kitchen is warm or humid, work the dough balls into small disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling. If your kitchen is cool, roll out dough to fit your pie plate with an overhang of approximately one inch.
  • Prepare pie dish by buttering and dusting with flour, shaking out excess. Place dough round in pie dish and fill with cooled pie filling.
  • Roll out top round and place onto of filling. Trim any excessive over hang to approximately one inch and pinch bottom and top crusts together. Tuck edges under. Crimp edges using preferred method. Cut a small venting slit and dock the top crust 4-6 times to help release steam during cooking. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  • Place pie dish on a baking sheet and cook in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cool before serving

Need more awesome apple ideas?  How about healthy apple cinnamon muffins from Attainable Sustainable, six different way to use applesauce from Homespun Seasonal Living, and yummy apple chips from the Homestead Lady!


Homemade Apple Pie Filling


Devon is a writer and author on subjects of holistic and sustainable living. She has a degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, and her first book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, was published by Page Street Publishing in Spring 2019. Devon's work outside of can be seen at,,, and in the magazine The Backwoods Home. Devon's second book, The Herbalist's Healing Kitchen, will be published Fall 2019.

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  • Stephanie October 3, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Looking for a crust made with rendered lard, the one I tried was too soft & did not hold up in the pan

    • Devon October 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      I don’t have a good rendered lard crust recipe. Sorry about that. I always try to make sure I have enough time to chill a dough when I am preparing a recipe. No matter how good the recipe is — if it is too hot in the kitchen or the dough gets over handled, it with almost always slump in the dish. You might retry your rendered lard recipe with added chilling time.

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    About Me

    Meet the Nitty Gritty Mama, Devon!

    I am an herbalist, farmer, cook, and forager. I get my hands dirty and am not afraid to do things the "hard way". Sharing my Nitty Gritty Life with you! Read More



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