Crab Apple Rose Pie
Julia Collin Davison is sharing her recipe for Crab Apple Rose Pie.


  • 1 Pie Crust (recipe and Ingredients below)
  • 3 pounds crab apples, cored and chopped coarse
  • 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Ingredients for Foolproof All-Butter Double Crust Pie Dough

  • 20 tablespoons of unsalted butter, chilled, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup of ice water, divided

NOTE: Why this recipe works: Tart crab apples are no longer limited to backyards and backwoods; these days they pop up at farmers’ markets and orchards throughout the fall. We set out to highlight these overlooked apples in a unique, delicious pie. A crab apple pie is a bit more tart than traditional apple pie, but it’s also more complex in flavor and offers a welcome variation on the standard. Additionally, crab apples have high levels of pectin, which helps the filling set and makes for an easy-to-slice pie. Since crab apples are so small, we opted to leave the skins on to make prep easier; the bright red skins also contributed a beautiful rosy hue to the filling. A tablespoon of aromatic rose water added a floral undertone that brought out the apples’ complexity. We don’t recommend using an apple corer to core the crab apples; instead, cut around the core using a sharp knife. Crab apples can range from sweet-tart to incredibly sour; use more or less sugar depending on the flavor of your crab apples.


1. Roll 1 disk of dough into 12-inch circle on floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9-inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs plate in place. Wrap dough-lined plate loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Roll other piece of dough into 13 by 101/2-inch rectangle on floured counter, then transfer to parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Using pizza wheel, fluted pastry wheel, or paring knife, trim 1/4 inch dough from long sides of rectangle, then cut lengthwise into eight 11/4-inch-wide strips. Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Toss apples, sugar, and salt together in Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are tender when poked with fork but still hold their shape, 10 to 15 minutes. Spread apples and their juices on second rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

5. Drain cooled apples thoroughly in colander then combine drained apples and rose water in bowl. Spread apples into dough-lined plate and scatter butter over top. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

6. Remove dough strips from refrigerator; if too stiff to be workable, let sit at room temperature until softened slightly but still very cold. Space 4 strips evenly across top of pie, parallel to counter edge. Fold back first and third strips almost completely. Lay 1 strip across pie, perpendicular to second and fourth strips, keeping it snug to folded edges of dough strips, then unfold first and third strips over top. Fold back second and fourth strips and add second perpendicular strip, keeping it snug to folded edge. Unfold second and fourth strips over top. Repeat weaving remaining strips evenly across pie, alternating between folding back first and third strips and second and fourth strips to create lattice pattern. Shift strips as needed so they are evenly spaced over top of pie. (If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate pie and dough strips until firm.)

7. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of plate. Pinch edges of bottom crust and lattice strips together firmly to seal. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of plate. (If dough is very soft, refrigerate for 10 minutes before baking.) Brush surface with egg wash.

8. Place pie on aluminum foil–lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is light golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling, and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 50 minutes longer. Let pie cool on wire rack until filling has set, about 4 hours. Serve.

Instructions for Pie Crust

1. Grate 4 tablespoons butter on large holes of box grater and place in freezer. Cut remaining 16 tablespoons butter into ½-inch cubes.

2. Pulse 1½ cups flour, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, 2 pulses. Add cubed butter and process until homogeneous paste forms, 40 to 50 seconds. Using your hands, carefully break paste into 2-inch chunks and redistribute evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1 cup flour and pulse until mixture is broken into pieces no larger than 1 inch (most pieces will be much smaller), 4 to 5 pulses. Transfer mixture to bowl. Add grated butter and toss until butter pieces are separated and coated with flour.

3. Sprinkle ¼ cup ice water over mixture. Toss with rubber spatula until mixture is evenly moistened. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup ice water over mixture and toss to combine. Press dough with spatula until dough sticks together. Using spatula, divide dough into 2 equal portions. Transfer each portion to sheet of plastic wrap. Working with 1 portion at a time, draw edges of plastic over dough and press firmly on sides and top to form compact, fissure-free mass. Wrap in plastic and form into 5-inch disk. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Let chilled dough sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes, before rolling. (Wrapped dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling.)

For Herb Double-Crust Pie Dough

  • Add 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage or thyme to flour-sugar mixture.

For Lemon Double-Crust Pie Dough

This also works well with orange or lime zest.

  • Add 21/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest to flour-sugar mixture.

For Nut Double-Crust Pie Dough

Do not use toasted nuts in this recipe.

  • Reduce cubed butter to 12 tablespoons and reduce first addition of flour in step 2 to 3/4 cup. Add 1 cup pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or peanuts, chopped and frozen, to food processor with flour, sugar, and salt and process until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

For Whole-Grain Double-Crust Pie Dough

  • Substitute 11/2 cup (81/4 ounces) whole-wheat or rye flour for first addition of all-purpose flour, using 1 cup
  • all-purpose flour (5 ounces) for second addition of flour.

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