The Quest for an Apple Orchard, & the Resultant Best Apple Pie Ever

9 Nov

Ever since I started noticing the first signs of Fall, I embarked on one simple mission: To find an apple orchard in Indiana which could hold a candle to Hicks Orchard in my hometown (which, parenthetically, is frequented by Rachael Ray. Which would be kind of a big deal anywhere, but especially in my very small town).

My criteria for such a comparable orchard were quite simple. It would need to have: (a) pick-your-own apples, (b) apple cider, and most importantly, (c) apple cider donuts. That’s not too much to ask, is it? One would think not, but it was hard for me to find an orchard which met all three criteria.

Finally, my pleas for guidance on Facebook resulted in a friend suggesting County Line Orchard, about 90 miles from here. It was a trek, but this orchard far exceeded my expectations! It was GIANT! In fact, it was such a tourist attraction that police were actually directing traffic in and out of the parking lots! Not only did this orchard have pick-your-own apples, apple cider, and apple cider donuts, but it also had a corn maze, pumpkin patch, kettle corn, and well, anything else you could possibly want at an orchard and more. It was quite the thriving enterprise and had me fantasizing about  owning my own apple orchard. I tend to have fantasies like these about a simpler life whenever school is especially overwhelming, haha. I mean, c’mon, planting apple trees has GOT to be easier than writing a dissertation!

But anywho, my day at the orchard did provide a welcome reprieve to the demands of school. My husband and I had a grand ol’ time sampling countless varieties of apples before selecting the winners who would be destined to die in the name of both decadent desserts and healthy snacks.

And these apples certainly did not die in vain. They became an absolutely delicious apple pie, courtesy of  my own merger of the recipes of Paula Deen and my grandma. Could there be a better meeting of culinary minds? I don’t think so. Paula’s filling has just the right texture, consistency, and sweetness, and my grandma’s pie crust is tender and flaky. And it’s topped off by a sweet and crunchy topping. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a better apple pie!

In fact, I think the only thing that could have made this pie better was having more of it. Next time, I’m making a deep-dish. Look out, apples!

Crunch Top Apple Pie

(adapted from recipes by Paula Deen, and my grandma!)


For the Crust-

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Filling-

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Dash salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped cooking apples (I used Golden Delicious and highly recommend them)
  • 8 oz unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter, chopped into small pieces

For the Crunch Topping-

  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature


  • To prepare the crust, combine flour and salt in a sifter. Add 1/2 cup of butter and mix with an electric mixer. Then, add the rest of the butter and mix. With a fork, little by little, add the cold water until the pastry holds together. Roll into a ball, and cut in half. Roll out each half on a floured board. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of the dough. Cut the remaining crust into strips and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and lemon juice. Spoon apple mixture into pie pan and dot with butter. Arrange the remaining strips of dough in a lattice design on top of the pie.
  • For the crunch topping, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Using a fork, cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle crunch topping over top of crust.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
  • Refrigerate overnight for best results.

Makes 6-8 servings.


12 Responses to “The Quest for an Apple Orchard, & the Resultant Best Apple Pie Ever”

  1. frugalfeeding November 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    The pie certainly does look incredible – the best? Well, I’d have to try it I’m afraid 😀

    • yumtherapy November 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      I will let you be the judge of that 🙂 Hope you give it a try!

  2. itsybitsybrianna November 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    The Crust looks like it is to DIE for!!
    I must must must try

    • yumtherapy November 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

      Thanks! Hope you love it as much as I do!

  3. Joanne November 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    That crunch top looks AWESOME! I’ve never made apple pie before…isn’t that strange? I’m not the biggest fan of pie, but I think if I make it myself I’ll change my mind. I’ll try your recipe because it looks really great!

    • yumtherapy November 10, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      This was my first time making apple pie too, even though it’s one of my favorite desserts! Fortunately it was pretty simple to make!

  4. Alyson November 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I love Hicks! I look forward to going every year. I got the best Macs there this year. And those donuts! Your pie looks good too!

    • yumtherapy November 10, 2011 at 7:41 am #

      I must say, Hicks’ cider donuts are unparalleled. Are you from the area??

      • Alyson November 10, 2011 at 9:43 am #

        Absolutely. Yes, I am from Bolton Landing.

      • yumtherapy November 10, 2011 at 10:49 am #

        Awesome! I’m from Granville 🙂 Nice to meet a fellow upstate-New Yorker

  5. FeathersandFutons (@FeathersFutons) November 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm #

    I have been trying all different kinds of apple pie recipes recently. I am definitely going to have to try this one! Thanks for sharing!

    • yumtherapy November 10, 2011 at 7:39 am #

      Anytime! Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂

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