Apple pie can be as simple or gourmet as you want to make it.

Frank's Apple Pie
Photo by Vanessa Greaves

1. We used eight medium Granny Smith apples and a mixture of 2/3 of a cup sugar, 1/3 of a cup all-purpose flour, and one tablespoon of cinnamon to make Emily's Famous Apple Pie filling. (For interesting flavor and texture, try using two or more types of apples in your filling.) A pinch of salt and a dash of ground cloves enhance the cinnamon flavor.

2. Use a peeler or paring knife to peel the apples. If you have an apple corer, use it while the apple is still whole. Cut the apple in half to remove the seeds, blossom end, and stem.

3. Use a melon baller, spoon, or paring knife to remove the seeds and hard flesh of the core. If you used an apple corer, remove any remaining bits of core with your paring knife.

4. Cut the apples into even slices no more than ¼ of an inch thick. If you like a chunkier pie, cut the apples into ½-inch cubes. To ensure the apples bake evenly and completely, the fruit pieces should be cut to the same size.

5. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugar-flour-spice mixture. If you're using a sweeter variety of apple, add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to brighten the flavor. Transfer the filling to a pastry-lined pie plate. The flour in the mixture will mix with the juices of the apple to form a thick cinnamon sauce for the apples to stew in as they bake. This pie can also be made using frozen sliced or cubed apples.

6. Top the pie with a crumb topping, a lattice crust, or a full crust, as desired, and bake as directed.

For a fancier pie, try adding fruits like cranberries, cooked sliced quince, or dried cherries, or different spices and nuts in the pie filling.

You can also make a caramel sauce using apple cider or Calvados (apple brandy) to mix with the fruit.

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