Mile-High Apple Pie


This ain’t your grandma’s apple pie. I baked it in a cheesecake pan, for a towering 3-inches of apple-pie goodness.



This pie is my riff on Dede Wilson’s Deep-Dish Sour Cream-Apple Pie from her amazing book Unforgettable Desserts.


(Go buy yourself a copy, you won’t be sorry. I can’t wait to try more of her recipes.)


In Dede’s version, she does a lemon-cardamom streusel on top that sounds delicious.

Except I wanted a full-crust pie.

So, I adapted my crust recipe and started off making the tallest pie of my life.

This apple pie is sweet and earthy, with a nice tart zing from the Granny Smith apples and sour cream. The filling is slightly creamy—a nice change from your standard apples-and-sugar mixture.

Sour cream and eggs almost create this custard-y feel and give the filling enough body to hold up its glorious height.


What kind of apples should you use?

Firmer ones. You want apples that hold up well to baking.

I used all Granny Smith apples (love the tartness), but feel free to use your favorite mix.


If you made this with all Macintosh (which almost reduce to applesauce in a pie), your wedges of pie probably won’t stand up that well…

What kind of pan should you use?

Use a 9″ springform pan for this pie. Springform pans come in two pieces: A removable outer ring, and a bottom plate. They’re typically used for baking cheesecakes.

If you have one slightly smaller or larger, you’ll have to monkey around with the baking time a little.

A note about the crust proportions

This crust recipe makes a LOT of crust. I err on the side

The short version of the recipe goes like this

Cook the filling and let it cool.

Make the crust and chill. (It’s a big crust recipe, I know. You’ll have enough for the bottom crust, the top crust, and some cut-outs to decorate the top.)

You can make the crust and filling in any order. You can also make them both the day before, if you like.

Combine the filling in the crust. Bake ’til done.

Now, this is how Dede does it.

Next time, I’m wondering if I could slap the whole thing together and toss it in the oven, and skip the pre-cooking business with the apples. I’d probably cut them thinner, to help ensure that they cook through in the same time it takes for the crust to bake. I love apple pie, so stay tuned. I’ll update this post when I give it a try and let you know how it went.

Oh, and!

This pie is dedicated to Celi, a reader who’s waited very patiently for me to make this post! Celi, I hope you like it!

Mile-High Apple Pie

24 Tbls. cold butter (That’s 3 sticks)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
6-9 Tbls. cup cold water
1 egg, beaten, for glaze

13 apples, peeled, cored & sliced
Lemon juice from 1 large lemon
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
7 Tablespoons flour
2 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Serves 10-12, depending on how you slice it.

1. Make the apple filling

Make this a day ahead, if you like.

Warning: This is a lot of peeling to do by hand. If you have one of those hand-crank apple peelers that you secure to your counter top, this is the time to bust it out.

Peel the apples and chunk them up into relatively small pieces. I don’t get too scientific about this. I just make sure that they’re all about the same size/thickness so they cook evenly. By all means, feel free to core and slice the apples into uniform pieces if you like.

Squeeze a little lemon juice over the cut apples as you go. This adds flavor and will help keep them from turning brown.

That’s a lot of apples, right?

Toss the cut apples into a large pot.

Add the sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Toss to mix.

Put the pot on the stove over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. As the mixture heats up, the apples and sugar will create this luscious juice in the pot. Bring that to a simmer, and cook til the apples are just fork tender.

Yank the pot off the stove and toss the hot mixture into a big bowl. Cool to room temp. If you’re making a day ahead, cover and pop it in the fridge. (Just remember to take it out and bring it up to room temp before filling your pie. If you try to bake it with a super cold filling, the pie is dense enough that it will affect your baking time.)

2. Make the crust

Like the filling, you can make this a day ahead, too.

Chunk up the butter and toss it in your food processor. (No food processor? No problem. Use a big bowl and an old-school pastry cutter—or a couple of forks.)

Add the flour and salt.

Pulse until you have a uniform mixture of buttery crumbs.

Drizzle in the water, pulsing the machine as you go to form your dough. Pie dough is a tricky thing. Depending on how humid your house is, how much moisture is in your flour (etc etc), you may need to add a little more or less water. Check it as you go and adjust the water up or down as needed.

You want your dough to look about like this. It should come together, but not be so wet that it’s sticky.

Gather your dough up in a ball. Separate out about a third of the dough (this smaller piece will be your top crust). Wrap each ball well in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

3. Line the pan with the bottom crust

When your dough is chilled and your filling is cooled to room temp, it’s time to assemble the pie!

(If you made the filling the night before, take it out of the fridge and bring it up to room temp before proceeding. That’s important…you don’t want to throw off your baking time by putting a really cold, really dense pie in a hot oven.)

Grab your chilled dough balls. Toss a little flour on a board.  Flatten out the larger piece of dough. Toss a little flour on top and roll out until it’s about 1/4 – 3/8 of an inch thick. Don’t make yourself crazy, just get it reasonably thin.

Grab your springform pan and do a size check. You want the bottom piece to be large enough that it will fill the pan and hang over the edges a bit.

Grease your pan. Put the bottom crust in the pan. I use my rolling pin to transfer it. Makes it really easy to get it in in one piece.

Messy, right? That’s just fine for right now. (You’d rather have too much dough than too little. Once the pie is filled, we’ll nip off all those doughy flaps.)

4. Fill the pie shell

Grab your apple filling. Toss in the flour. (Along with the eggs, that will help bind the filling and give it a little structure, so it can stand up straight.)

Mix well to combine.

Put the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Beat to combine. (Those little black dots are specks of vanilla bean from my homemade vanilla extract. Learn how to make yours here.)

Pour the mixture in with the apples, and stir to combine.

It will be a little soupy. That’s just fine. The eggs and flour will set up in the oven.

Scoot all that glorious filling into your pie shell.

Nip off the edges of the dough that are hanging over the pan. Leave about an inch or so, so you can attach it to the top crust.

Dough scraps = decorations for the top of the pie (or great cinnamon sugar crisps, if dusted with spice and baked on their own).

5. Add the top crust + decorate

Flour your board and dough, and roll out the smaller ball of dough for your top crust.

Do a quick size check.

Slide the top crust over the pie.

Again, trim the crust so you have about an inch or so hanging over.

Roll the bottom and top crusts together to create a good seal.

Tuck the rolled crust into the pan slightly, so it’s not hanging over the edge. (You’ll remove the outer ring once it’s baked, so you don’t want the crust to bake ONTO the pan, if that makes sense.)


Pole a hole in the center of the pie. (You need to give it a steam vent.)

Brush the entire top crust with beaten egg.

And roll/cut the extra pie dough into decorations for the top. The beaten egg will help these little guys stick to the crust.

Brush the decorations with beaten egg, as well.

Cut a few more steam vents…

6. Bake your pie

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Set your pie on a parchment lined baking sheet or pizza pan. Don’t skip the pan underneath. There’s a very good chance you’re going to lose a little juice out of the bottom (I’m chalking this up to a TON of filling and a bottom crust that wasn’t pre-baked). If you skip the pan, you’re going to have a smoking mess on your hands.

Pop your pie into your preheated 350-degree oven. Bake 80 – 90 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned and you can see the filling bubbling through the slits.

7. Cool, slice + enjoy!

When your pie is done, yank it out of the oven and set it on a rack. Cool it completely before slicing, or else your filling is probably going to slide out all over the place.

When it’s totally cool, remove the outer ring from the pie.

Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Have you made your own Mile-High Apple Pie?

Send me a picture and maybe we’ll add it to this post!

Many thanks to Katy Whitt, who sent me a picture of her mile-high apple pie! (And congrats to Katy! She just got married! So awesome.)


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. WOW! That is the BEST looking apple pie I have ever seen!

    What size springform pan did you use?

    (If the apples were added to the crust uncooked, I think they would shrink too much and totally change the the end product.)

    Thanks for all the great photos! I just LOVE your web site!
    Kathy –

  2. THANK YOU JESSIE!!!!! You are awesome! I am making this THIS WEEKEND!!!! Thanks so much for posting it – you made my day!!!


    • Hahahaha, awesome! And be forewarned: There is a lot of crust! You’ll def have some leftover for decorations and/or pie crust cookies 🙂 Enjoy!


  3. Love this! I’m partial to Gravenstein apples.. and I know they will be great in this recipe. They have a short season-August-and they don’t have a long shelf-life, but I’ll be making this pie with them this summer. They’re tart and perfect for pies. Thanks so much. Fabulous photos, too!

  4. Fantastic recipe!
    My wife loves apple pie, so today I baked one… a mile high one. I really appreciate your detailed explanations.
    Jedichef Mile Pie.jpg

  5. Hi, What a wonderful recipe; so easy to understand. I have a similar recipe given to me by a friend that was the baker at the Nut Tree in Vacaville, California.
    She adds 2 tsps. of baking powder. And leaves out the sour cream.
    I have some Granny Smith apples I bought at Apple Hill in Pollack Pines. California

    I live in Nevada now at 4500 feet, baking is a little different at this elevation.
    GB Renie