Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

I love to make homemade pies from scratch.  It’s a family tradition that started with my paternal grandmother.  She was a gifted pie baker and enjoyed making pies in her tiny kitchen.  More importantly, she wanted to share those pies with the people she loved.

I was lucky enough to be one of those people.  I always knew that there would be homemade pies waiting for me when we visited.  She would proudly announce that there “might be a little pie” moments after we walked through her front door.  A little pie meant that there would be at least three pies waiting for us that she had baked earlier that day.

Ironically, I found myself making three pies earlier this week. One was for my husband and children.  The second was for my parents.  The third was for dear friends who we count as family.

I don’t say that lightly:  they have become an important part of our family.  Making them a homemade pie seemed like the perfect way to ensure that they knew just how much we love them.  If we deem you as pie worthy, believe me, you’re family.

While I might make a chocolate cake or a batch of cookies for a casual friend of acquaintance, pie is reserved for those near and dear to my heart.  It’s not because I feel that pie making is a chore.  It’s quite the contrary.  I love making pie for someone I love just as much as my Grandmother did.  Making the pie for someone I love is as much a part of my mental ingredient list as anything else in the actual recipe.

I involve my two children in my pie making sessions. They gather to help me make the crust and the filling.  I allow them to flute the edge of each pie, literally leaving their mark on the dough and making it their own.

I can only hope that they will continue the family tradition of making a homemade pie for someone they love when they are grown.  If I’m lucky, they might even make one when I come to visit.  Maybe they’ll greet me by mentioning that there “might be a little pie”.

Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping
makes one 9 inch pie

The cinnamon sugar topping for this pie was adapted from a pie recipe in Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me With Apples.  It develops a lovely, crunchy texture as the pie cools after baking.

To save time, I usually mix my pie crust in my food processor.  This recipe can be made in a bowl using a dough blender or a large fork.   Either way, the result will be a flaky, buttery crust that pairs deliciously with the apple filling.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 ounces butter, cubed
4-6 Tablespoons ice water

1 pound apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thick slices
1 cup (192 grams) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons tapioca
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon brandy

4 Tablespoons butter
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the crust, place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the dry ingredients to combine.  Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter has begun to incorporate into the flour and resembles small grains of rice.

With the motor running, add ice water one Tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  Take care not to over process the dough.  Over processing will help to develop the gluten in the flour and lead to a crust that is less flaky.  Remove the crust from the processor, shape into a flat disk, and place on a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate while the filling is prepared.

To prepare the apple filling, combine the apple slices, sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, lemon juice and brandy in a large bowl.  Mix gently to combine.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch any pie filling that may bubble over during baking.  Set aside.

To make the topping, melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan.  Add the sugar, flour, and cinnamon and stir until fully incorporated.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture is completely smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Remove the chilled pie dough from the refrigerator.  Roll the crust into a smooth disk large enough to line the pie plate.  Rolling will be much easier if done on a well-floured surface or between two sheets of freezer paper or waxed paper.

Place the bottom crust in the pie plate, taking care not to stretch the dough.  By gently lifting the edges of the crust, the dough will naturally come to rest on the bottom of the pie plate without stretching.  Continue this technique around the perimeter of the pie plate.

Stir the prepared filling before gently placing it on top of the crust in the pie plate.  Evenly distribute the topping mixture over the apple filling using a spatula.  Alternately, the topping can be crumbled evenly over the surface of the pie using your fingers.

Place the pie on top of the prepared baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven.  Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Continue to bake for 45 minutes or until the top crust is a beautiful, light golden brown.  Rotating the pie midway through the baking time will help to ensure that your pie is evenly browned.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

To download a printable copy of this recipe, click the link below to open the PDF file.
Brandied Apple Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Topping


This post was shared on:

From the Farm Blog Hop

Lessons From Ivy Linky Party

Thanks for stopping by for a visit. We think that you might also enjoy these posts:




  1. This looks sooooo good. I just canned up a few “brandied apples” and still have some brandy left. We may have to give this a try.

  2. Jennifer, that slice of pie looks so scrumptious, I just want to pop it into my mouth right now! I am definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. As the recipient of one of the three pies, I can guarantee you that this pie is delicious – room temperature, cold or warmed, with ice cream, whipped cream, or sitting by itself on the plate. It is just plain scrumptious. Life is good here on the Farm every day, but when there is pie from the farmhouse kitchen it is even better. Hope you try the recipe and enjoy it as much as we all do.

    1. Author

      I’m so glad that you all enjoyed it!

Leave a Reply to Jenny Cancel reply