Dave Lieberman’s Skillet Apple Pie

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This recipe comes to us from Dave Lieberman, writer for OC Weekly and a judge for this year’s Pie Contest!

I was always one of those kids who hated eating the back, hard part of the crust of the pie. Once the crust that adhered to the filling—including that crackly, crumbly, sugary, flaky top—was done, I was done eating the pie. Wasteful! When I got old enough to experiment, I deliberately made messy fillings so there’d be enough left on the plate to provide a dip for the back crust. Then, when I inherited my grandmother’s (and her grandmother’s) cast-iron skillet, I made a pie that had a much higher filling-to-crust ratio. A thin slice is still a meaningful portion—especially when topped with freshly-made crème Chantilly (cream, sugar and vanilla). When I’m feeling flush, I replace the ice water with Calvados for a little bit of extra apple flavor.

Keep reading for the recipe…

Skillet Apple Pie


For the crust:
3 3/4 cups AP flour
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 sticks (3/4 lb.) very cold unsalted butter, in cubes
Ice water

For the filling:
10 lbs. pie apples (Pippins, Arkansas Blacks, or even Granny Smiths)
1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar
Large pinch salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 stick unsalted butter, in small cubes

For the top:
1/4 cup heavy cream (half and half is okay too)
1/4 cup sugar (if you can get sanding sugar, it’s best)


For the crust:
1. Sift the flour, sugar and salt together into a large bowl.
2. Working quickly and only with the fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like wet sand.
3. Pour in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough sticks together roughly.
4. Knead the dough ten times to smooth it out slightly.
5. Divide the dough into two pieces, one about 2/3 the size of the total and the other the remaining 1/3.
6. Wrap each piece in cling film and refrigerate for an hour.

For the filling:
1. Peel, core and cut the apples into slices about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.
2. Toss the slices with the sugar, salt, lemon juice and cornstarch.
3. Let sit for two hours, stirring occasionally.
4. Let cool nearly completely (may be easier if transferred to a sheet pan).

For the assembly:
1. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
2. Roll the larger piece of crust out until it’s roughly a circle about 16 inches in diameter.
3. Place the bottom crust in a 12″ cast-iron skillet, trim to an overhang of 1 inch, and dock with a fork.
4. Spread the apples in the pan and distribute the juices evenly.
5. Dot the top of the pan with butter.
6. Roll out the top crust.
7. Roll the bottom crust over the top and pinch decoratively.
8. Brush the pie with cream, then sprinkle with sugar.
9. Cut a vent (or several smaller vents) in the centre of the pie.
10. Bake for 45-60 minutes on the baking stone, until the filling boils.
11. Let rest at least six hours before serving—cast iron retains heat much longer than ceramic, glass or thin metal.