Sour Cream Apple Pi(e)

March 18, 2013

This year I finally remembered Pi Day before it was too late! However, I happened to think of it during the early evening of 3/13, so making a pie that took 5 or 6 hours from start to finish was out of the question. Originally I was trying to find a double-crust recipe so I could cut a pi shape as the steam vent in the top, but the only fruit I had at home was a bunch of Granny Smith apples. It’s best not to make an apple pie with only one type of apple because the flavor won’t be complex enough, so that was out. Foregoing the double crust idea, I also didn’t want to make anything with chocolate or nuts because of coworkers’ food allergies. Finally I came across this recipe in my Gourmet Today cookbook: not a double-crust pie, but I could decorate the streusel top with a scrap from the single crust! I think it looks better than a steam vent would have anyway; I was very pleased with the way it held its shape!

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy a piece of my own pie because of the gluten-free-for-Lent thing I’ve got going on, but I did cheat a little bit and take one bite of the filling for the sake of writing the blog post. :) I adore sour cream-based apple pies (even more than regular apple pie), and this one definitely lived up to the high expectations I have for Gourmet’s recipes. It was also super easy to put together since there’s no top crust to fiddle with. My coworkers all loved it, and I’ll definitely be making it again once my Lenten fast is over!

Sour cream apple pi!

Serves 8



  • 1¼  cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4  stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2  tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/4  teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


  • 2  large eggs
  • 1½  cups sour cream
  • 1½  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1  cup sugar
  • 3  tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1  pound Granny Smith apples


  • 1/3  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup sugar
  • 1  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes


  1. Make the crust: Blend together flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor (you can also use your fingers or a pastry blender) just until mixture resembles course meal with some small (roughly pea-sized) butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture. Pulse (or gently stir with a fork) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful of dough: if it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, pulsing (or stirring) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
  2. Turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide dough into 4 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together, press into a ball, and flatten into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into pie plate. Trim edges, leaving a ½-inch overhang (save scraps if making pi-shaped decoration). Fold overhang under and press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. To make pi-shaped decoration, roll out saved scraps of dough to slightly less than ¼-inch thick and cut out shape with a sharp paring knife. Place on small plate and place in freezer.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling: Put a rack in middle of oven and heat to 400 degrees F. Whisk together eggs, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, flour, nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl until smooth. Peel and core apples and cut into wedges slightly less than ¼-inch thick.
  5. Arrange apples in shell and pour sour cream mixture evenly over them, coating all apples. Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake until filling is puffed and golden and apples are tender, 45 to 50 minutes more.
  6. Meanwhile, make the topping: Stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms small clumps.
  7. Remove pie from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Crumble topping evenly over top and place pi-shaped dough decoration in center if using. Bake until sugar is melted, about 10 minutes.
  8. Cool pie on rack for at least 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. I love the π, and the pie Adrienne. I also enjoy running into someone that has my kind of sense of humor. Check this post, and you’ll see what I mean. The coincidence is pretty funny. http://gallivance.net/2012/11/22/pi-on-pumpkin-pie-a-mathematical-solution-to-a-cooks-dilemma/

    • Haha perfect! I’ll be making a sweet potato pie next month for a friend’s birthday, and I may have to perform my pie testing in just that way… doesn’t really matter if it’s actually Pi Day or not!

  2. […] piece of it, that is when it gets tough! Last week we celebrated Pi Day at work: I made the same sour cream apple pie that I made last year, and once again I couldn’t allow myself to have any. (Last year I went […]

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