This delicious Gravenstein Apple Pie makes the most of the apple’s short season. Gravensteins are so good in pies because they’re not too sweet and hold their shape well during baking.
Easy Gravenstein Apple Pie Recipe
Gravensteins are an early apple and their season is short. They are perfect for pie because they are tart and firm and if you’re like me and don’t like an overly sweet pie they make for an ideal filling. We’re lucky enough to have a Gravenstein apple tree in our backyard and knowing how fleeting they are, we are judicious about how we consume them. (Best: eating straight from the tree. Even better: put into a pie.)
Gravensteins, the apple I once wrote about for NPR, are my favorite for putting into pie because they have a distinctive flavor and texture that holds up well to baking. I used 3/4 cup of brown sugar in this recent pie but I think you could get away with less, about a 1/2 cup. Otherwise this is a very simple, sturdy pie recipe with a bit of spice and not too much else. When apples are in season and this good you don’t need to fuss too much with them.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
This is, in my humble opinion, the very best Gravenstein apple pie recipe! A flaky whole-grain crust is the perfect balance to the sweet-tart Gravenstein apples.
- Gravenstein apples. Oh, I dearly love Gravenstein apples! They have been grown in my home county since the 1800s and I have had a special fondness for them my whole life. But it’s more than that — they are just tart enough and very pretty, with pink-green skin, and taste delicious if you’re lucky enough to get one sun-warmed and picked fresh from the tree.
- Whole grain flour pie crust. I love using whole wheat pastry flour in my baking, especially in pie crusts. It gives a bit more heartiness to the crust’s structure and there’s of course the extra nutritional value whole grain flour brings.
- Everything a pie should be. This is a humble, wholesome, wonderful apple pie that’s just right for fall or anytime.
What You’ll Need for Gravenstein Apple Pie
- Whole wheat pastry flour
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Fine sea salt
- Gravenstein apples
- Ground spices: Cinnamon and nutmeg
How to Make Gravenstein Apple Pie
For the full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Make crust. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water to bring it together. Rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Make filling. Combine apples, brown sugar, and spices.
- Roll out the crust. Roll out half of the crust and fit it in your pie pan. Add the apples, and roll out the other half of the crust; cover the apples.
- Bake. Bake pie at 425 F for 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 hours before serving.
To store, the pie may be kept, covered, at room temperature for 2 days. Then store it in the fridge for an additional 2 days. Pie may be wrapped in plastic and stored in the freezer for 3 months. Defrost the pie in the fridge before eating.
Absolutely. When cooked the flavor of the Gravenstein apple is enhanced and the flesh will hold its shape.
In addition to Gravenstein, apples that are firm and not too sweet are great for pie. These include Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Jonathan or Jonagold, and Braeburn apples, among others.
You may read that you should only do a 50% or less swap of whole wheat flour in baking and pie crusts, but I beg to differ. I often use whole wheat pastry flour exclusively in pie crusts and general baking for its enhanced nutritional qualities. Whole wheat pastry flour has a finer texture than whole wheat flour.
Gravenstein Apple Pie
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1 cup ice water
- 8 cups Gravenstein apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½-¾ cup brown sugar light or dark
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter with a fork or your hands until the flour is crumbly and the butter is well integrated.
- Using a fork, stir in the water a little bit at a time (you may not need the entire cup) until the dough holds together. Knead it with your hands until it can form a smooth ball, then divide the ball in half, press each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and rest in the fridge at least a half hour.
- Preheat oven to 425° degrees F. Rub a pie pan with butter and have a baking sheet ready.
- Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl, then mix lightly through the apples.
- Roll out half of the dough and fit it into the prepared pan. Pile in the apples in the and dot with thin slices of butter. Place top crust on pie, crimp the edges, and cut a few vents in the top.
- Place pie on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned, apples are cooked through, and the filling is bubbling.
- Remove pie from oven and let it cool thoroughly before serving. I like to wait at least 2-3 hours so the filling will fully set.