Brown Sugar Bourbon Apple Pie takes your favorite fall flavors and combines them in one juicy dessert!
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Earlier this week, we shared our favorite pie crust recipe, along with a detailed tutorial with video and photos to help you roll out your best pie crust ever. (I also shared the back of my giant head in said video, if you were ever curious to see it.) Now, we’re giving you the perfect way to use your newly acquired mad skillz….Brown Sugar Bourbon Apple Pie. If this beauty doesn’t motivate you to tackle that crust, well, we can’t be friends. (Justkiddingcomebackweloveyou!)
Every red-blooded American seems to have their favorite apple pie recipe. I guess I’m no exception. This recipe happens to be my favorite because:
- It uses a big ol’ pile of apples for a nice and tall pie.
- It’s sweet but not TOO sweet. You can even add a dollop of ice cream without making your teeth ache!
- It has a few ingredients you don’t normally see in apple pie, and they give it a super rich flavor and perfectly juicy texture.
Intrigued? Here’s the story…
First, those secret flavor-packed ingredients? Well, maybe they’re not-so-secret. After all, two of them are in the recipe title: brown sugar and bourbon. The third? Vanilla extract. Okay, none of these ingredients are earth-shattering, but much to MY surprise, they don’t often appear in apple pie recipes. And that’s a darn shame. Apple pie screams for ultimate fall flavors, and brown sugar add a rich, warm, cozy taste to everything it touches. Bourbon? Same (and even more warming!). The bourbon flavor is subtle, and in fact, you probably won’t be able to pick it out. But it adds another level of deliciousness that melds beautifully with the brown sugar.
And vanilla? Well, seriously, I want to know – why is vanilla NOT in every apple pie recipe? It seemed a no-brainer to add with the brown sugar and bourbon, and now I can’t go back. Apple pie needs vanilla like…I dunno…pie needs ice cream. (I have a one-track mind it seems.)
But you know what else makes this pie special? It uses tapioca as a thickener, instead of cornstarch or flour like the majority of recipes. And by tapioca, I mean the tiny little pearls, not the pudding you buy in cups, in case it wasn’t clear! Now, I’ve used both cornstarch and flour in pies, and they can make a good pie. But it’s tough to get the right balance. If you don’t use enough, the juice is thin and runny, but if you use even a little too much, the filling becomes gummy. Tapioca, on the other hand, thickens the pie’s juices without muddying the flavors. It’s more forgiving, and doesn’t have any issues with gumminess.
Never tried tapioca in a pie before? Well, now seems like the perfect time!
Any time is a good time for pie.
I totally recommend serving this one with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream – and also healthy drizzle of salted caramel.
Need a refresher on rolling out that pie crust before you start? Check out our video here for our favorite techniques!
What are your favorite fall flavors? Have you tried mixing up a classic pie? Share your pie stories in the comments!
- One batch of two-crust pie dough, or you can use a store-bought crust (I won't tell)
- About 8 cups thinly sliced granny smith apples (I used a food processor with a slicing blade to cut them)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons instant tapioca
- 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2½ tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll out about two-thirds of your pie dough and place in a nine-inch pie plate. (Check out our tips for pie crusts here.)
- Mix apples and remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour apple mixture inside pie crust.
- Roll out remaining one-third of pie dough. Use it to cover the top of the pie and seal the edges, pressing gently around the edges of the pie with a fork.
- Bake pie for about 45-60 minutes, until you can see the juices of the pie bubbling through the vents. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover the edges of the pie with a pie shield, or wrap with aluminum foil.
- Let cool before serving. Serve alone or with a nice big scoop of ice cream (and maybe a dollop of salted caramel).