Easy Free-Form Apple Pie

Try a free-form crust. These pie crusts are more forgiving and are supposed to look rustic!

apple pie
My mother-in-law is a pie baking master. She is a Queen of Crusts. I ask her to make me her famous raspberry pie for my birthday. I’ve observed her process of crust making, I’ve photographed it and I’ve attempted to recreate it upon several occasions. I still can’t get the hang of it…I just can’t get that ‘feel for crust’ that creates confidence. Mine don’t turn out flaky and the crimping around the edges always leaves something to be desired. While my family still eats my pie with flubbed-crusts – I don’t make them often.

Confessing my lack of pie crust confidence to a friend, she suggested I try a free-form crust. Obviously, they’re more forgiving and are supposed to look, ummm…rustic. Thus began my quest for a go-to, self-assurance-producing crust. I think I’ve come pretty close with the following version which is a variation of a recipe from Relish Magazine, one from a Gold Medal flour recipe flyer and a pear promotion book. I love the buttery-flavor (but I cut the butter pretty significantly from some original recipes;) it’s not tough, but it is thick – which means it’s easier to roll out and easier to shape – and the thicker crust matches with the rustic character of the free-form pie. Please tell me what you think!!
PS. I used Deanna’s Vanilla Sugar on top; the aroma was wonderful. You could also add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the filling


Easy Free-Form Apple Pie

Try a free-form crust. These pie crusts are more forgiving and are supposed to look rustic!

  • Author: Serena Ball


  • Pastry:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons white
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • Filling:
  • 4 medium apples, cored and sliced (unpeeled)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • Vanilla sugar for sprinkling


  1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter in with a pastry blender, until the size of small peas. Quickly mix in yogurt and 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water—just enough so mixture barely begins to hold together, being careful not to overmix. Pat into a disc, cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1-2 hours.
  2. Roll dough out on a sheet of parchment paper (placing a piece of plastic wrap on top of dough if it seems sticky) to a 12-inch circle. Slide parchment onto a baking sheet and chill 10 minutes in freezer.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F.
  4. Toss apples with lime juice in a medium bowl. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apples; toss gently.
  5. Arrange apple filling in center of pastry to within 1 1/2 inches of the edges. Working quickly, fold and pleat edges of dough up and over pears. Dot apples with butter and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
  6. Bake 40 minutes, or until pastry is golden and apples are tender. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing.

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Apple galette


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

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