Citrus Apple Pie is bright, tart and packed with tons of apples! This take on apple pie has less spices so that the flavor of fresh, crisp apples really shine through. An added pop of citrus makes this easy, homemade apple pie truly divine!
What is fall without apple pie?! I was never one to choose apple pie over other desserts, but this apple pie makes choices much more difficult.
The first time I tasted Citrus Apple Pie, I had no idea that apple pie could taste so fresh, bright and happy. It has a tang from the tart apples and beautiful brightness from the citrus. It really is totally different.
I always knew classic apple pie to be overly spicy, the apples were mushy and sickeningly sweet, goopy and syrupy. For this recipe, the apples are cut on the thicker side and there’s less sugar than most recipes. The slices hold up well and have integrity. There’s just the right amount of juiciness.
The filling for Citrus Apple Pie is comprised of apples, lemon juice & zest and orange juice and zest. Next is sugar, flour, salt cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
Normally, apple pie recipes call for just lemon but the addition of orange gives the pie a lot more depth of flavor. It reminds me of homemade mulling spices. The orange, the cinnamon, the allspice…YUM!
What kind of apples are used in apple pie?
I’ve Googled this 100x and I always forget. There are TONS of apples that you can use for pies. Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Mutsu, Winesap, Cortland, Empire, Red Rome, Fuji and probably a lot more I’m missing.
The difference between using one varietal over another is level of sweetness or tartness. Just avoid using Macintosh apples- those will most likely turn to mush (best used for applesauce 😉 ).
Granny Smiths are obviously famous for being tart, so you will get a very tart pie. Fujis are sweet, therefore you will have a sweeter pie.
My suggestion is, simply buy an apple you enjoy eating. 🙂
I happened to go apple picking the day before, so my pie was a modge podge of apples. I’m actually not sure which type of apples made it into the pie, but whatever man, it worked!
Back to making apple pie
The longest part about making pie is prepping the fruit. Otherwise, it’s quite simple to put together.
After peeling the apples, chop off the sides around the core and slice into pieces slightly less than 1/2″. I like to keep two bowls near my station. One for the slices and one for the scraps.
Next, you’ll coat the apple slices with the remaining ingredients.Dump all of the apples into the prepared pie crust. Warning– this pie will be VERY FULL!! The photo here doesn’t quite show that, but the apples are piled high.Before laying the top crust over, use an egg wash to brush the edges of the bottom crust. When you lay the top crust over, pinch the sides together tightly. Trim and crimp the sides of the dough.
Using a very sharp knife, cut slits in the center of the pie so that steam can be released during baking. Don’t skip this step. Otherwise, you might end up with a pie explosion.The last step is to cover the entire top of the pie with an egg wash and a dusting of granulated sugar. I also highly suggest placing the pie onto a sheet pan lined with foil just in case those juices decide to bubble out over the side.This pie will bake for at LEAST an hour. Mine actually took about 90 minutes. At about 45 minutes in, I checked the oven and noticed that the top of my pie was getting too brown. I gently laid a piece of foil on top of the pie for the remainder of bake time. This will help prevent an over-browned crust.
How to tell when an apple pie is done baking
The easiest way to tell is to stick a knife or cake tester into the slit of the pie. You’ll be able to feel how soft the apples are. Once they are very soft and the crust is brown, your pie is finished baking! You should also see some juices bubbling out the top and/or sides of the pie.
Oh, so if you’re wondering where a photo is of the whole, baked pie…I made this pie for a family dinner and had a busy day on top of that, so I only had the opportunity to photograph the before pics and leftovers. Obviously, I would have preferred to make this post with a brand new apple pie just for you guys, but sometimes life gets busy. Plus, if I had made another one I would have eaten the whole damn thing!
Anyway, these last two slices are still pretty nice looking. You’ll have to take my word for it that the whole pie baked up so beautifully! The crust was magnificently flaky and buttery. It’s a real showstopper!
OH, AND ONE LAST THING I NEED TO SAY
If you’re looking for a great topping for this pie, I have three words for you. Cinnamon. Whipped. Cream.
Apple Pie needs a sidekick and Cinnamon Whipped Cream adds just the right balance of creamy, sweet & spice. I’ve included the recipe for this below as well!!
Citrus Apple Pie
- 4 pounds apples (about 8 medium apples) (You can use Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Mutsu, Winesap, Cortland, Empire, Red Rome, Fuji...use an apple you enjoy eating, except for Macintosh. Those are too soft. Tart apple=tart pie, sweet apple=sweet pie)
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 medium orange zested
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (squeezed from the zested lemon)
- 1 tbsp orange juice (squeezed from the zested orange)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I prefer Ceylon Cinnamon)
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
Perfect Pie Crust (this recipe is doubled to make two layers of crust)
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter (very cold, place in the freezer 30 minutes before using)
- 3 c all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- ⅓ c vegetable shortening (very cold, place in the freezer 30 minutes before using)
- 6 to 8 tbsp ice water
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for the egg wash)
- 1 spoonful/tbsp granulated sugar (for dusting on the top)
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 1 c heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Prepare the Pie Dough
- In a food processor, add the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse a few times to thoroughly mix.
- Pull the butter and shortening from the freezer and dice into smaller pieces. Add the butter and shortening into the processor. Pulse several times, until the butter & shortening are mixed in, but are still large, crumbly pieces. The mixture should be very dry and crumbly.
- While pulsing the food processor, pour ice water down the tube, one tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to form into a ball. As soon as it pulls together, stop the processor.
- Put the dough on a floured board and gently mold into a ball. Avoid handling the dough too much. The heat of your hands will soften the butter and we don’t want that! Wrap in plastic wrap and pop into the refrigerator for 30 minutes or even overnight.
For the Citrus Apple Pie
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Remove your dough from the fridge and set aside.
- Set up your prep station with a cutting board and two bowls. Use a vegetable peeler to peel each apple. Cut into four pieces around the core. Slice into about ½ inch slices. Put the slices into one bowl and the scraps into another.
- After the apples are slices, add in the zests, juices, sugar, flour, salt and spices.
- Roll out half the pie dough on a floured surface to about a 12 inch disc, or until it reaches a size larger than the pie pan.
- Gently drape the dough into the pie pan and carefully guide it into the sides of the pan. Do not stretch the dough as it will shrink when it bakes in the oven. If the dough is too small, you can always go back to the rolling board to roll it a bit thinner.
- Fill the pie pan with the apple mixture. There are a lot of apples to fit in so don't be alarmed if it seems like too much! Trim the excess crust but leave a little bit of overhang (about 1 inch).
- Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so that the top crust will stick. Drape the top crust over, covering the apples. Trim any excess to ensure that the top and bottoms match.
- Crimp and/or tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with spoonful/1tbsp of granulated sugar. Cut some slits into the center of the top crust to allow the steam to escape.
- Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes. At this point, check on the the pie. If the top crust is browning too much, take some aluminum foil and cover the top crust for the remainder of the bake time. Continue baking until juices begin to bubble out the top or sides. You can also insert a knife into the slits to check if the apples are fully soft. My pie took about 90 minutes to bake.
- Once done baking, allow to cool a bit. Prepare the cinnamon whipped cream (optional)
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- In a large bowl, pour in the cream, vanilla bean paste, sugar and salt.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk until semi-soft peaks form.
- Add in the cinnamon. Whisk until stiffer peaks form.
- Add generously to a warm slice of Citrus Apple Pie!