Jane Austen’s Apple Pie

The Open Bar

With the holiday cooking season fast approaching, we thought it the perfect time to cull back through Tin House’s various forays into the culinary world and share some of our favorite recipes.

From our Food & Booze anthology, author Sara Perry gives us an updated apple pie recipe from Jane Austin. The dessert, like the best of Austin’s tales, is decidedly mouth-watering.


Jane Austen’s Apple Pie


1 9-inch pâte brisée (short crust) pie shell, baked

2 pounds pie apples

½ cup water

½ cinnamon stick

4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

Grated zest of ½ small lemon.

Softened butter as a garnish (optional)

Prepare the pâte brisée dough in advance. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel and core the apples. Place the peels and cores in a saucepan. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and continue to simmer until the liquid tastes like apples, about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid and return it to the saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and slowly boil until the mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll out the pastry dough according to the recipe. Cut a 1-inch strip along the outside edge of the rolled-out pastry circle. Grease the rim of a 9-inch pie plate and gently press the pastry strip over it. Slice half of the apples and place them in the pie plate. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and half of the lemon zest. Slice the remaining apples and place them on top ot the first layer. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and the lemon zest over the apples.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick from the reduced liquid and pour the liquid over the apples. Lightly moisten the top of the pastry strip with water and cover the filling with the reserved pastry circle. Trim off any excess. Press the crusts together with a fork and crimp to seal. Prickk the top crust with the fork in several places. With a small sharp knife, cut several slits at right angles to each other between the center and edge of the crust and a small vent in the center.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is browned and the juices bubble up through the slits, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 3 to 6 hours before serving. This allows the juices to thicken and the apples to reabsorb some of the juice. If desired, when eaten warm, place a slice of butter on the top.

Sara Perry is the author of more than a dozen cookbooks, including Everything Tastes Better with Bacon (A New York Times 2002 Notable Cookbook), The New Complete Coffee Book, and The New Tea Book. Her holiday celebration series, with recipes and crafts for the whole family, includes Weekends With The Kids, Christmastime Treats, Summertime Treats, Valentine Treats and Birthday Treats.