I happen to consider myself an apple pie connoisseur because if there is ever an apple pie on the menu I will order it. Plus my Grandma Scott, originally hailing from the Midwest, could make a crust that would make angels weep with pleasure. It also happens to be my husband’s favorite dessert as well, so I have made my fair share of apple pies. After having tried at least fifty or more, I can say with great certainty, this is hands down my favorite!
This chai apple pie was inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks called The Silver Palate. I can’t remember if I got it as a gift or if it was another one of my mother’s cookbooks that I absconded, but whatever the case, it is mine now! In this cookbook is a recipe for apple pie using sour cream. As someone who adores all things cream, I was intrigued the first time I tried it. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but ladies, let me assure you it does! I decided to do my own spin on it by adding garam masala, an Indian spice mixture that can be found in almost any (American) grocery store. This mixture closely resembles the flavors in chai tea, hence the name of the pie. I thought with the addition of the chai spice and the creaminess of the sour cream, this apple pie was elevated to a stratosphere I had never dared dream of before in a pie.
But if you think the pie filling is amazing, you haven’t tried the crust yet! Full disclosure: I can’t take any credit for the pie crust recipe. But I can tell you that I have tried dozens over the years and this is my new favorite. I found it at Food52 and it is originally from Cooks Illustrated. I followed the recipe exactly, and ladies, it really is the perfect pie crust. After making the pie crust as directed, I placed the mixture on a large piece of Glad® Cling Wrap, folded it up, and let it rest in the fridge for 45 minutes. Well, it was supposed to only be 45 minutes, but then life got crazy and I ended up not being able to make the pie for three days! At first I was going to throw out my original batch of pie crust, but I figured I would try it and see if it worked. And it did!
Pro Tip: When rolling out your pie crust, use the Glad® Cling Wrap you stored your crust in as the bottom layer, and then another layer for the top crust. Actually, I use four pieces because I like a wider piece than the roll. So I lay two pieces of Glad® Cling Wrap side by side with about an inch overlap, and then do the same for the top layer. I sprinkle a little bit of flour on the top of the crust and then I roll away! The cling wrap keeps the raw dough from sticking to both the countertop and the rolling pin without having to use much flour. This keeps your crust extra tender and flaky!
The Glad® Cling Wrap also makes it much easier to transition into the pie plate. Here is how I easily move my pie crust to the pie pan. I carefully remove the bottom layer of Glad® Cling Wrap and then drape the crust with the top layer of wrap over my arm. Then I gently place the crust into the dish and slowly remove the top layer. Works like a charm! I save the wrap to use when I roll out the top crust and use the exact same method when transferring it to the finished pie.
Now that the crust is finished, it is time for the filling. This part is easy. All you have to do is peel and slice your apples. I like to slice them quite thin, about 1/16-1/8 inch thick. Then I mix them in a large bowl with the sour cream, sugars, cinnamon, garam masala, etc., pour it into the pie pan, cover with the top crust, cut a few holes in the crust and bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes.
And voila! A gorgeous and tasty apple pie for you and your family to enjoy. What I like best about this pie is the combination of the spices with the apple. The garam masala gives the pie a depth of flavor you aren’t going to get from just using cinnamon. It even has a little bit of spicy heat that warms up your mouth as you take bite after flavorful bite. This is balanced perfectly with the creaminess of the sour cream and the tang of the green apples. Then you have the sugars to mellow the whole thing out. Is your mouth watering? I know mine is! Here is the recipe so you can try it at home.
Chai Apple Pie
- 5-7 apples. I use granny smiths.
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- *If you don't have garam masala, just use 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Make the pie crust according to Cook's Illustrated recipe linked in post or your own. You will need both a top and bottom crust.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Once the pie crust has been made and rested in the oven, roll out the first crust and place in a 9" pie dish. Be sure to drape it loosely because the crust will shrink as it is cooked.
- Now it is time to make the filling. Peel and thinly slice the apples and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, beaten egg, both sugars, salt, extract, flour and spices. Stir to combine. It will be quite wet. But don't worry, the flour and egg will help thicken the filling as it cooks.
- Pour the filling on top of the pie crust and then roll out your top crust. Place over apples and seal the edges. Don't forget to cut a few holes for the steam to escape while baking.
- Place pie in the middle of the oven and bake for 55-65 minutes. I was very careful with this particular pie and turned it every 20 minutes, so the edges didn't get too brown. When finished you should let it cool and then serve.
Freshness, wrapped up.