Tuesday Tutorials- Perfect Lattice Top Apple Pie

've been doing a lot of thinking about this little spot in the blogosphere lately. About what makes this little piece of the pie (no pun intended) more special, more worthy of your attention than any other, and the thing that kept coming to mind, is that I am a professional. I have not only gone to school to be a baker but I have worked for countless talented people who have shown me so many tricks along the way. Most people who write on the internet don't have that advantage, and so begins “Tuesday Tutorials” in which I share these tricks of the trade with you, my loyal readers. The idea being that once a week I will write something kind of fundamental, a basic, and show you how I make it, and the way I do that makes it so good.

And to start, pie.

There are few things better than the smell of homemade apple pie. It is so quintessentially North American, so perfectly Fall, so designed for November weather. Apple pie is darn near perfect.

My mother makes a mean apple pie. A mean pie in general really, despite her absolute failings on many a cake, my mom kills pie. Seriously.

This is a recipe for a pie that is both hers and mine, I make mine with more butter than hers, she adopted her recipe from her mother, and growing up in The Depression, shortening was easier to come by than butter, but in these modern times I have no trouble at all with the subsition.

There are two ways of making pie filling though. You can cook the fruit before hand, add in corn starch or flour and thicken up the juices or you can put it all in raw. You get very different results with these methods, and in bakeries you almost always get the cooked before variety. And while I think this method is great for juicy berry pies, when I make an apple pie I put in the fruit raw, then top it all with brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to thicken it up. It’s how my mom made it, and so it tastes like home to me. And that, good friends, is what apple pie is all about.

The real tutorial here though is how to make a perfect lattice top to your pie, the kind that friends will ooh and ahh over, and you can revel in self satisfaction when you sit it on the counter to cool. A lattice top pie is not something to brush off, it takes some skill, and it demands it when you put it on the counter. Unless of course, you follow this tip, which just makes it so easy.

The thing to do is freeze it. Make the lattice on a baking sheet and freeze it, it will only take about half an hour, just enough time to cut up all the apples and make yourself a cup of tea. And then slowly put the top of the pie onto the pie crust, you get a perfect crust every time, and you save the stress of making the lines perfect on an imperfect surface like a rounded pie top. And you get to schedule yourself tea making time, and that friends, is always a perk.

Lattice Top Apple Pie

2c AP Flour

1c Cold, salted Butter, cubed

Ice water


8 cups of chopped apples, a mix, I used ambrosia, pink lady, granny smith and macintosh.

1c AP Flour

2c Brown Sugar

1tbsp Cinnamon


1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp cream or milk

3 tbsp Coarse Sugar

In a large bowl mix together the flour and butter. Using either a pastry cutter or, like I do, your hands, break apart the butter into lima bean sized pieces.

Slowly incorporate the water, stirring with a fork, adding just enough for the dough to follow to fork as you stir.

With your hands bring the dough together and knead it gently- squish it out with your palms and then fold it over. Repeat this 4-5 times or until the dough gets even the slightest bit tough. Wrap with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Unwrap the dough and cut in in half.

On a lightly floured surface roll out one half of the dough in a large circle until it will fit your pie dish. Gently place your rolling pin the center of the circle, then drape one side of the dough over top. Pick up the rolling pin and place it on the pie dish and smooth out the dough.

Put this in the fridge.

Put a silpat of a piece of floured parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Roll out the other piece of dough in a long strip, making sure that it is as wide as your pie dish.

Cut this into strips widthwise.

On the silpat arrange the strips as you see in the picture below, and slowly start weaving them together,

one over one under until you get a nice basket weave.

Now put this in the freezer and let it get nice and cold and hard. This is the trick- once the dough is hard you can just slide it on your pie, no finicking the edges or getting filling on the topping.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Pull out the bottom of the pie and shake half the flour onto the bottom of the crust.

While the top is freezing start chopping your apples. Peel and core then and slice them thinly and put them into the bottom shell, layering different kinds.

Top with the rest of the flour, the brown sugar and the cinnamon.

Take the lattice top out of the oven and gently put your hand underneath it and place it upon your pie.

Push the edges down into the corners and cut off any edges of your pie, or fold them over to create a a scalloped edge.

Wash with the egg wash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.

Put in the oven and immediately bring the temperature down to 325F.

Do not open the oven door for at least the first 20 minutes or cooking.

After twenty minutes rotate the pie and cook for another half hour or until the juices start bubbling in the center an an inserted paring knife meets little resistance when pushed into the center of the pie.

And there you have it, the easiest most delicious apple pie.

Apple Donuts at Edible Vancouver

Last week I threw out my back. I could barely walk, I couldn’t work, and mostly I just moped around, and the handsome man I live with was unbelievably nice to me. Made me dinner every night, helped me in and out of baths, brought me ice packs, and hot packs, and just generally got a lot of bonus boyfriend points. 

So I thought I should throw some love his way, and when I was feeling a bit better I woke him up with homemade apple donuts. 

To see the recipe, check out a (self proclaimed) charming story about my dad, and see some more pictures you can head over to Edible Vancouver. 

Brown Butter Apple Cake

Most people who have ever talked to me for more then 5 minutes has probably heard be complain about my landlord. He is a glorified slumlord, who fixes nothing and does nothing and is exceedingly cranky more often then not. He doesn’t do a good job when problems arise and so they keep happening over and over again and he blames you for his shotty work. 

I am not a fan.

However, since Jordan has moved in, my gay landlord has been much more open about fixing a few things up. Apparently my charm is useless on him, but my handsome man is getting things done. 

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but my apartment is now the proud owner of new dark laminate flouring, a glorious step up from the heinous 70’s grey industrial carpeting I’ve been living with for years. But heres the thing about putting in new flouring, you basically move. Everything you own has to be put into boxes and moved somewhere else and it is a hassel my friends. 

Now we’re starting to paint and put things together and, thankfully, my kitchen is back and working, and Jordan is so good looking we even got a new fridge! Miracles do happen friends.

So a couple days ago when everything was covered in dust and it reeked of paint fumes and all my books we’re in boxes and I was starting to go crazy, I did what I always do when I’m stressed, and I baked a cake. 

A wonderful cake too, rich from brown butter and brown sugar sauteed apples on the top. Most cakes get their moist crumb from lots of butter and sugar but this cake gets it form the buttermilk so it’s not to sweet ot two heavy. It also uses whole wheat pastry flour, which is very uncommon for me, but it adds a pleasant nuttiness without feeling too healthy. The top has some coarse sugar and salt so it gets a bit of a crunch when you bite in. 

The best part though; it doesn’t need a mixer, you put it together like a muffin base, just mix wet with dry, so it doesn’t dirty up the kitchen too much.

And then, with cake in hand I cleaned, and dusted, and gathered bags and bags to give to charity and felt like things would be okay. 

Brown Butter Apple Cake

Adapted from 101cookbooks. 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 large apple, or 2 small guys, peeled and sliced.
3 tablespoons large grain raw sugar
1 teaspoon large grain salt

Preheat oven to 325F

Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan.

In a small sauce pan on medium heat melt the butter. Keep it on the heat after it melts until it bubbles and gets frothy and starts to get a sweet nutty smell, and you can see little brown bits at the bottom. Set aside.

In the same pan add the apples and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and sautee until the apples are translucent and soft- about 10 minutes. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar.

Mix together the butter, buttermilk, eggs, zest and vanilla and then add it to the dry ingredients being careful not to over mix. 

Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to level it. Carefully place the apple slices in a nice pattern on top. Sprinkle the coarse sugar and salt on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs. 

Morning Pastries in a Pinch

Is there anything better then morning pastries hot out of the oven? The smell of brioche waiting to be dripping in butter and jam, the perfect crispiness of fresh croissants, the steam as you open a hot cinnamon bun?

The only problem with morning pasties is that you need to prep for a couple hours the night before and relinquish your sleep in to let them proof and bake. Which in my books is a big problem. I want to sleep in, read the Sunday paper for a bit and then skip over to the kitchen throw something together and have it smell like a bakery. Which may not be realistic.

But I can sleep in, bake for 30 minutes, read the Sunday Times and half an hour later have fresh apple strudels, which is a pretty okay compromise I think.

Strudels are not hard to make. You make a very easy dough and let it sit for half an hour. While its sitting you chop up a few apples and stew them in some sugar and cinnamon until they get nice and translucent. Then you roll out the dough very thin which is surprisingly easy, it’s a very easy to work dough. You top on your apples roll the whole thing up and put it in the oven.

And then the smell starts.

The cooking dough, caramelizing apple breakfast pastry smell.

And you just sit there and read your paper and drink your coffee until the smell gets almost overwhelmingly wonderful. And then you pop it out of the oven and let it cool just a little and theny ou slice it up and eat it and feel like the queen of the universe. Or maybe that’s just me.


1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup warm water
1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Knead like bread until dough begins to come together, I did this in my mixer with the dough hook but you could easily do it by hand. Don’t go to crazy, just knead for a couple minutes.

Put it aside, somewhere warm, maybe near your oven.

In the meantime make your apple filling.

Apple filling

4 cooking apples, I used ambrosia but whatever kind you like best.

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

Slice up your apples put them in a pot and simmer until they start to simmer a bit.

Add in the sugar and cinnamon and cook a bit longer. Don’t worry if it’s a bit soupy, you can take leave the liquid behind and just use the slices.

Preheat the oven to 400F

Now roll the dough into a long rectangle.

It will be very easy to roll and roll it as thin as you possibly can. I could easily see the wood grain of my counter top through the dough.

Spoon the apple mixture into a line all along the dough along one of the long ends.

Carefully fold the dough over the apples

 and then roll the dough with the apples until all the dough is wrapped around the filling.

Carefully transfer to your baking sheet.

Cut the ends and score the top to allow steam to escape.

Now bake for 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 300 and bake for twenty more.

Then get it on a cuttin board, slice them up and it it while its still hot and glorious!

That wasn’t so bad was it? And seriously how good does your house smell….