Fall apple pie

I love making apple pie. I also love fall leaves. So an apple pie with flaky pastry leaves in vibrant fall colours seemed like the ideal dessert for our Thanksgiving feast.

I always add vinegar to my pastry dough to ensure flakiness. The acidity prevents too many gluten strands from forming and making the pastry tough. For this pie I used a fall favourite - cider vinegar.

Here's how I made it:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cubed
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp cold water

6 apples, peeled, sliced and cut into chunks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

food colouring
splash whole milk
sprinkle granulated white sugar

While my oven preheated to 425 degrees (F), I started the pastry by combining the flour, icing sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. I cut in the shortening and butter using a hand pastry blender until the mixture looked like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, I lightly beat the egg with the vinegar and cold water, and added the liquid to the large bowl, stirring with a fork to bring the dough together. I divided the dough into two balls, rolling one out on a floured surface and transferring to a pie plate, tucking the edges under. I popped the other ball in the fridge while I prepared the filling.

I put the apples in a large mixing bowl. I combined the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl and poured the mixture over the apples, tossing to coat. Then I poured the filling into my pie shell.

The ball of dough from the fridge was rolled out next. Before transferring to my pie, I cut out the shape of a tree with branches. Once the pie top was in place, I trimmed the excess pastry with a knife and crimped the edges using my thumb and index finger.

Next, I mixed the trimmed pastry with various food colourings and used my thumb and index finger to form flat diamonds. I placed my diamonds on the pie and used a knife to press in the leaf details.

To finish, I brushed the pie top with a little whole milk and sprinkled it with sugar. My pie baked in the oven at 425 degrees (F) for 10 minutes, then I lowered the heat to 350 degrees (F) and baked it for another 50 minutes until the filling bubbled.

Fall apple pie. Happy Thanksgiving!

What is your favourite Thanksgiving pie? What are your pie-making secrets? Leave a comment and tell me all about your Thanksgiving pies!


  1. Gorgeous! Have you ever tried finding natural food colouring? I've found some pricey American versions but a) they're expensive and b) they won't ship to Canada! Using a tiny bit of regular food colouring as you have here is no big deal but still, it's my dream to find a natural alternative... Thanks for another great post!

  2. So pretty! Great job on the pie and the leaves look spectacular. I hope you all enjoyed it.

  3. This looks AMAZING! I love it! I have apple pie, cheesecake and maybe a pumpkin pie to do tonight/tomorrow.

    One of my favorite thanksgiving pie is a pumpkin pecan crumble pie. SO amazing.

  4. You are amazing! I love it and using colouring is so smart. I sometimes use the vinegar technique as well, lemon juice can be a substitute as well. Beautiful pie and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  5. I'm jealous!! You make the prettiest pies I've ever seen. I need to try some of these ideas out.

  6. OK, this is an AHHHHMAZING pie!!!! As a kid my favorite was apple. As an adult it's pecan pie. With LOADS of fresh whip cream. And maybe some caramel sauce, and scoop of ice cream, for good measure.

  7. This is a fantastic, original and lovely idea. The pastry "tree trunk" and the colored "leaves" are so creative! Never mind the delicious apple pie. You are somethin' wonderful! LOVE IT!

  8. Thanks for all the pie love, everyone!

    Ceri @SPC - I use so little food colouring in my baking (only with pie tops, really) that I don't worry about it. FOLLOW CERI'S BLOG, PEOPLE! IT'S ONE OF MY FAVES!!

    Lots of you like pecan pie. I like it too, but I confess I have never made one myself. Must do!

  9. You have an amazing blog here
    so glad I found it
    stunning pie! I love the idea..I just might make it with the kids over the weekend

  10. This is absolutley BEAUTIFUL! I am in awe of this pie, not to mention I am sure it tasted outstanding! Love it!
    Laura @ A Healthy JalapeƱo

  11. New follower. I am in love with this idea. I am going to try this out myself and see if I can do this. It's so unique and gorgeous.

  12. That is pure Autumn-ness! I love it :)

  13. I made this pie yesterday and it turned out great! The pastry was flaky and delicious. Thanks for the ins-PIE-ration! :)

  14. It's such a special looking pie! Can't wait to try it... I'm not the best cook but I'm still going to give it a my to cents worth!

  15. Here's a pie-baking tip that will change your life...after creating your pie as you would for the oven, put it in the microwave on High for 10 minutes. Transfer to the oven at 400* for 8-10 minutes. Works every time!!

  16. Pinning this and MUST make it next week!!!


  17. I am making apple pie today... and I'm going to make this tree!!! xoxox

  18. I love your pie decorating ideas. I'm a long time pie maker, since I was in high school. My husband's favourite is apple and blackberry. My favourite apples for pies are gravensteins. I can also recommend rhubarb plum pie which a friend and I came up with. Yum. I made your Chewy Peanut Butter cookies today and I'll put them in my favourite recipe file! Thanks.

    1. Rhubarb plum sounds delicious! I can guess by the title "gabriola dweller" that you live not too far from my corner of the world :)

  19. Yep, that's right and I lived in Victoria for 12 years so it's nice to think of you cooking in some old Victoria home. I'm going to make your balsamic beef stew today. My 12 year old son would put balsamic vinegar on everything if we let him. well maybe not everything but close. I better make lots. I'm going to add other vegies too. enjoy the grey weather!

  20. What a creative idea for decorating a pie crust! I love unique ideas like this one! Great post! And I'm your newest follower!=)

  21. This pie is so beautiful! I shared a link to it on my FB page https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151818269068070&set=a.174654903069.124188.163690253069&type=1

  22. This is sooo beautiful!! Thank you for sharing :)

  23. You're incredible! I really like this as well as utilizing colouring pens is really wise. We occasionally make use of the white vinegar method too, " lemon " liquid could be a alternative too. Stunning cake as well as Pleased Thanksgiving holiday for you!

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  24. Hi...this sounds wonderful! But how do you do your leaves with the food colouring? Do you just drop it on the leaf??

    1. I just add a few drops to a ball of dough and work it in my hands (like playdough!) until it colours all the dough. Then I take a small piece of the coloured dough at a time to make the leaves.

  25. Thanks a bunch!! Thought so but you just want to be sure! :-)