Anytime apples are in season is pie season in my house, and the fact that freshly picked apples can last a few months in my fridge means…we have a whole lot of pie season around here! This is the best sourdough apple pie. Seriously. The BEST. It’s got a delicious sourdough discard pie crust with a tart and juicy apple pie filling. It’s juicy and delicious, just about everything that an apple pie should be!
Sourdough Discard in Pie Crust
This pie could be made with a store-bought or homemade pie crust, but I love this sourdough version that gives just a little bit more flavor. Chilled sourdough discard pairs so well with this best ever apple pie. If you prefer a stronger sourdough flavor, use sourdough discard that has been sitting longer in the refrigerator. For a more mild crust, use bubbly sourdough starter (chilled) or discard that is only a day or two old. It is also important for the sourdough discard to be 100% hydration (equal parts flour and water). If you use sourdough discard that is not 100% hydration, you’ll want to add ice water or more flour, depending on how thick your sourdough starter is. I’ve written up an entire recipe post devoted to sourdough pie crust. Find all the details here.
Want More Pie? Check out these recipes:
Mixing the Best Sourdough Discard Apple Pie Dough
My sourdough pie crust has a unique way of being mixed. Mix together half of the flour (including sugar/salt) and butter together, coating the butter in the flour, effectively locking the fats and discouraging gluten development when the water from the sourdough discard is mixed with the pastry. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough resembles crumbs. Then mix in the sourdough discard and any extra ice water that may be needed until the dough forms large clumps and can stick together. Separate into two balls of dough and flatten into discs. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until rolling out for the pie.
The Best Sourdough Apple Pie Filling
The best sourdough apple pie has to have the best apple pie filling. This is accomplished in two parts: the apples and the sauce poured over the apples that make the pie truly delicious.
Apples: Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples are ideal for this pie, though you can use any of your favorite baking apples. Peel and core the apples using an apple peeler or a hand peeler. Using an apple peeler to make an apple pie is a game changer! Slice apples into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Toss with lemon juice and cinnamon.
Sauce: To a small saucepan melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture is combined and has formed a roux. Continue whisking for a couple minutes and then add the apple cider (or water). Whisk together and add the brown sugar, sugar and salt. Continue with the saucepan at a simmer and whisk for 1-2 minutes until thickened and smooth. Pour over the apple mixture and toss to combine.
Chilling, Rolling and Filling the Best Sourdough Apple Pie
Chilling: Once the pie dough has been mixed and separated into two discs, it’s important to chill the dough before rolling it out. This chilling process helps relax the gluten in the dough (remember, less gluten development means tender, flaky pie dough) and solidifies the butter.
Rolling: Once the dough has been chilled for about 20 minutes, very lightly flour a pastry mat and roll the dough out, turning it about 30-45 degrees at a time until you have a nice round circle of pie dough. Fold the dough into quarters and then place the dough into the pie dish. Roll out a second crust similar to the first, but just a tad bit bigger to fit over the mound of apples.
Filling: Fill the pie crust with the apple pie filling, mounding the apples in the center of the pie. There’s no need to add butter to the top of the apples, because there is a lot of butter already in the filling. Place the second pie crust on top of the mounded filling. Crimp the edges and – making sure to use a sharp knife – make a few slits in the top of the pie crust to let out steam while baking.
Crimping the Edges
Decorate the pie however you would like to. I like to crimp the edges of the pie, sealing in all the juices as they bubble in the oven. To do this, I use kitchen scissors to cut the pie dough around the edges and then take the top layer of pie crust and fold it under the bottom edge of crust. This seals the pie shut. At that point I crimp the edges using my knuckles and one finger to decorate around the pie. I like to egg wash the pastry before baking. Whisk together an egg with a splash of water and use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash on top of the pie. Sprinkle about a Tablespoon of sugar over the pie for a beautiful finish.
Baking the Best Sourdough Apple Pie
Apple pie bakes for a long time. It is necessary for the apples to bake down, soften and gel together to make a delicious pie filing. Place a rack in the middle of the oven, closer to the bottom than the top. Place a foil-lined baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven to catch any of the juices that will bubble over. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the pie for 80-90 minutes until the pie filling is bubbly. After about 45 minutes, check on your pie and see how the pastry is browning. If it is browning too quickly, place a few pieces of aluminum foil over the edges of the pie crust. You could also use a pie shield.
Let the Pie Cool Completely
I know how delicious apple pie is when it is warm. And I know how hard it is to wait for a pie to cool. But if you want the pie filling to set up, you have to wait for the filling to thicken together. If you don’t care, go ahead and let the pie cool for as long as possible and then slice it up. With that said, if you plan to bake this pie for Thanksgiving or a family dinner, make it the night before or the morning of so it has time to properly cool. Add a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream or a slice of cheese (the way my grandpa would always eat it!). And there you have it…the best sourdough apple pie! Enjoy!
Looking for More Delicious Sourdough Discard Recipes?
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I store leftover apple pie?
Leftover apple pie can be stored at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Then refrigerate for up to 2 days. You could try freezing slices that are left longer than that and warming them up when you want to eat a piece.
Can I make this with any apples?
I love Granny Smith apples for their tartness that compliments the sugar in the pie. They also hold up well for baking. Honeycrisp is another one of our favorite apples and pairs really well with the Granny Smith. If you have a favorite flavor of apple you love, you can definitely use it in this pie. I do prefer the tart/sweet flavor in this apple pie.
What should I serve with this pie?
I love serving a scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly made whipped cream on the side of this apple pie. It’s also divine with a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce over the top.
The Best Sourdough Apple Pie
Sourdough Pie Crust
- 325 grams all-purpose flour divided into 150 grams and 175 grams (about 1 cup/1.25 cups total)
- 16 grams sugar 1 Tablespoon
- 6 grams salt 1 teaspoon
- 222 grams unsalted butter 1 cup, cold
- 135 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, chilled is best, 1/2 cup
- 20-40 grams ice water as needed (about 2-4 Tablespoons)
- 1 medium egg reserved for egg wash
- 16 grams granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the pie
Apple Pie Filling
- 1000 grams apples, sliced and chopped see recipe note, about 7-8 large apples
- 20 grams freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 12 grams ground cinnamon about 2 teaspoons
- 113 grams unsalted butter about 1/2 cup
- 35 grams all-purpose flour about 1/4 cup
- 55 grams apple cider (can sub for apple juice or water) about 1/4 cup
- 70 grams brown sugar about 1/3 cup
- 65 grams white sugar about 1/3 cup
- 8 grams salt 1 teaspoon
Sourdough Pie Crust
- To a large bowl, mix together 150 grams flour with sugar and salt.
- Add the remaining 175 grams (1 1/4 cup) of flour and use the pastry cutter to distribute the flour until the mixture looks crumbly.
- Pour the chilled sourdough discard on top of the flour/butter mixture and stir to combine. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. If the dough is too crumbly, add ice cold water a Tablespoon at time until it comes together.
- Cut the ball in half and form two balls of dough. Wrap the balls in plastic wrap, press down on them to form a disc shape and stick in the refrigerator to chill. Chill the dough for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. The dough can be chilled for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
- While the dough is chilling, make the pie filling. Peel and core the apples using an apple peeler or a hand peeler. Slice apples into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add fresh lemon juice and ground cinnamon. Toss to coat.
- To a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until combined. Continue whisking for a couple minutes and then add the apple cider (or water). Whisk together and add the brown sugar, sugar and salt. Continue with the saucepan at a simmer and whisk for 1-2 minutes until thickened and smooth. Pour over the apple mixture and toss to combine.
Assemble and Bake the Best Sourdough Apple Pie
- Pull the chilled dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly flour a pastry mat (or countertop). Roll out the first disc of dough a little over 10 inches round, turning about 30-45 degrees after every roll so you have an even circle of dough. Fold the dough into quarters and place it inside a pie plate, unfolding it and fitting it to the pie plate. Allow the pie crust to hang over the edges. Roll out the second/top crust to the same size or a little bit larger and set aside.
- Fill the pie with the apple pie filling, mounding it up in the middle. Place the second pie crust on top of the pie filling. Use kitchen scissors to cut the overhang of the pie dough. Gather the edges around, folding the top crust edges under the bottom crust to form a seal for the pie and keep the juices from escaping.
- Place the oven rack in the middle to lower half of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Put a foil lined baking sheet on the rack below the pie to catch any juices that may drip down. Crimp the edges of the pie and decorate the pie crust as desired. Slice two or more slits in the pie crust to allow steam to escape while baking.
- Whisk a medium egg with a splash of water and spread the egg wash on top of the pie. Sprinkle the top of the pie with a Tablespoon of granulated sugar. Place a baking sheet in the bottom of the oven to catch any dripping from the pie as it bakes. Bake the pie for about 90 minutes until bubbly and brown on top. Put a few pieces of aluminum foil or a pie shield over the pie crust about halfway through if the pie crust is browning too quickly.
- Let the pie cool completely before serving. This is important for the juices to gel together and prevents a soggy pie crust. Cool for about 3 hours. Slice and enjoy!