Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home
Contrary to popular belief, apple pie isn’t American, it’s British. There were no apple trees or pies in America before the British settled. The spice most often called for was cloves, as it is in this recipe.
Put a crust in the bottom of a dish, put on it a layer of ripe apples pared and sliced thin, then a layer of powdered sugar; do this alternately till the dish is full; put in a few tea-spoonsful of rose-water and some cloves; put on a crust and bake it.
— Randolph, Mary, “The Virginia Housewife” p. 152
- Pastry (homemade or store bought)
- 8 Granny Smith applies
- ¼ – 1 cup granulated sugar or castor sugar
- 1 tsp. rose flower water (optional)
- 2 tsp. whole cloves
- Preheat the oven to 425°.
- Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator and let stand until soft.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Then, wrap the dough around the rolling pin to transfer into a 9-inch pie pan. Unwrap the dough from the rolling pin into the pie pan, making sure the dough is form-fitted to the pan. Allow the dough to overhang the lip of the pan. Return pie pan with dough to the refrigerator until it is needed.
- Peel, core and quarter the apples. Cut the quarters into slices that are ¼ inch thick.
- Retrieve the pie pan from the refrigerator. Fill the pie by alternating layers of apples, sugar, rose water and whole cloves until pie is filled.
- Roll the second piece of pastry dough into a 12-inch circle. Then, wet the bottom lip of the dough and place the top piece over the filling. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pie pan. Flute the edge or press with a fork to seal. With a knife, cut 4 slits on the top of the pie.
- Place a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Place the pie in the middle of the sheet. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then at 350° for 35-45 minutes.
- Allow pie to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.