recipe showdown: apple pie

Last year when we went to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving, I made Grandma Ople’s famous apple pie and it was a huge hit.  But I have never believed the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” So I invented my own saying.

“Even if you think it’s the best, try everything else to make sure that it really is the best. Only then can you earn bragging rights.”   — Erica

Pretty profound right? That’s basically  the philosophy of Recipe Showdown, and why I encourage you guys to challenge me to try your recipes.  The quixotic task of finding the perfect recipe is never-ending, but the process is delicious.

As soon as the leaves begin turn orange, I start thinking about Thanksgiving.  Stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, and the essential assortment of pies.  Chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, boysenberry pie, and my personal favorite, apple pie. 

This year, I want to make sure that I make the best apple pie yet.  I saw a very enticing recipe on one of my favorite blogs, A Cup of Jo, and decided to put it against the reigning champion (Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie).

For both pies, I used Smitten Kitchen’s All Butter, Really Flaky Pie DoughI believe that pie crust should always be all butter, and always be very flaky; hence, this is the perfect recipe.

Caramel Apple Cider
Grandma Ople
An all-American apple pie, with a lovely caramel made from
reduced apple cider!
This pie has over 1000 5 star ratings on All Recipes for a
Taster’s notes
Nice notes of cinnamon
More “normal”
Very liquid-y (from caramel)
Pretty crust (with egg wash)
Very apple-y
European taste
Notes of vanilla
More unusual, exotic
Needs cinnamon

The verdict:
Both of these pies are absolutely delicious; however, good ol’ Grandma Ople did better in the taste tests. I made two, small changes to the recipe.

  1. Pour the sweet, syrup mixture onto the apples before adding the lattice crust. Last year, I did it afterwards (as the recipe suggests) and I ended up with burnt, sugar pieces on the top. 
  2. The tasters suggested adding cinnamon to the recipe, so I added two teaspoons of cinnamon to the syrup. 

With love,


  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (I used Deb’s)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (*my personal addition to the recipe 
Melt butter in a
sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar
and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon.
Meanwhile, place the
bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over
the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Cover
with a lattice work crust.
Bake 15 minutes at
425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F
(175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

17 thoughts on “recipe showdown: apple pie”

  1. Did I mention how much I love your showdowns? I LOVE THEM! Have you ever tried Martha Stewart's mile-high apple pie? That's the pie I've been eyeing lately. But uh…this Grandma Ople one sounds stunning!

  2. I am so happy to support you and I saw your apple pie so I had to include it on my Friday Five Amer over @Feed Your Soul. what could be more American?

  3. Hi there! I'm planning on baking this tomorrow and I was wondering if you pre-baked (is that the correct term?) the Smitten Kitchen pastry, before adding the apples? Or did you baked everything all at once? If that makes sense….

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