My first job was at McDonald's, believe it or not. I was good! I could make twelve Big Macs in a minute, no joke. One of my favorite things on the menu was their apple pie. You know what I'm talking about... that delicious flaky crust with the molten hot lava goo filling you'd always burn your tongue on? You won't find another apple pie quite like McDonald's. Problem is, I love reverse-engineering things that you can buy and instead make them at home. This is my take on McDonald's super tasty dessert offering.

For the Filling

  • 6 cups diced apples (use whatever apples you want. I like Fujis. They taste like they have honey in them. Experiment with different apples and find a flavor and a texture that you like)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 1/3 c apple juice
  • 1/2 c cornstarch
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t nutmeg
  • 1 t cloves
  • t cardamom

For the Streusel

  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c flour
  • 1 stick butter
  • Vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon

For the Pie Dough

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Big pinch of sugar
  • 1 to 1½ sticks (½ to ¾ cup) cold butter, cubed (1 stick will make prettier pie crust, 1½ will make butterier, more delicious pies)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (nothing distinct like balsamic, but rice wine or distilled white are totally cool) or lemon juice

Pie Dough Directions

  1. Whisk together salt, sugar and flour.
  2. With your fingers, tear off pieces of the butter and toss them in the flour. Massage the butter into the flour until you have nice big chunks of buttery flour in what looks like sand.
  3. Add half the water, stir in with a wooden spoon. Gently! Add the rest of the ice water and the vinegar and fold with a wooden spoon until the dough forms.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge. Overnight if you can!

Streusel Directions

  1. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer or with an electric egg beater, cream together butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, cinnamon.
  2. Add the flour and mix until the streusel looks like chunky wet sand (kinda). If the streusel becomes a dough, add flour until it becomes wet sand.
  3. Store in the fridge, wrapped, for like a week tops or in the freezer indefinitely.

Apple Directions

  1. Peel the apples. Do not put them in water for crying out loud! Cut the apples into slices. Not too thin. Like one centimeter on the obtuse end.
  2. Toss the slices in the sugar and the cinnamon. Melt the butter on the stove in a large sauté pan. If you don't have a big sauté pan, do the apples in batches.
  3. Fry the apples in the butter nice and hot and get some color on them. Set the apples aside in to cool at room temp.

Goo Directions

  1. In a deep saucepot, bring the cider or apple juice to a fast simmer. Reserve 1/2 cup of cider.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the reserved cider into the dry ingredients and create a thin paste. If the paste is too thick, add water a few drops at a time until it loosens up. Slowly drizzle the the paste into the simmering cider while whisking the cider with a firm hand. When the goo thickens and becomes translucent again, turn off the heat and add 1/2 stick of butter to it, set aside to cool.

To Bake the Pie

  1. Line the pie pan with dough and decorate as you see fit. Do your best! You're putting a lot of effort into this pie. Make it beautiful, too.
  2. Toss the apples and the goo together in whatever ratio you want. You don't have to use all the goo. It's delicious on ice cream. Fill the pie about 4/5 full.
  3. Fill the rest of the pie with streusel. Use a lot of streusel. It's delicious, too.
  4. Bake at 375 in the middle rack until the top gets light golden brown. 20-30 minutes. Then place an empty sheet tray on the top rack and bake for 15 more minutes. If the top starts getting too brown, pull it out and wrap the top in aluminum foil.
  5. This pie will be good for a day or two but don't be silly: this pie should be consumed before it has a chance to cool. 😉