History Stories


As American as Apple Pie (Video)

Host Ian Knauer explains how apple pie became an iconic American dessert as he bakes one of his own.

In this exclusive Hungry History video, host Ian Knauer tells us how apple pie came to be seen as quintessentially American. He also shares his secrets for achieving a perfectly flaky crust and delicious filling as he bakes his own version of the iconic dessert. Check out the recipe below to try it at home.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lard
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in lard with pastry blender until small pea-sized particles are obtained. Mix water and vinegar, then sprinkle onto flour mixture. Mix with fork until flour is moist. Press into a ball and turn out onto a floured board. If making a two-crust pie, divide in half.

Roll out with rolling pin. Try not to use too much extra flour because it makes the crust tough. Roll out to desired size—usually about 1 inch bigger around than the pie tin. Fold pastry in half and move to pan. Unfold and put pastry into pan. Try not to stretch the pastry because this causes shrinking in baking.

Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Chill the pastry.


3 pounds apples (preferably Granny Smith)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon rosewater
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the lemon juice into the bottom of a large bowl. Add the lemon zest to the bowl. Peel, halve and core the apples, taking care to remove seeds. Slice them evenly and add to the bowl, coating them with the lemon juice as you go.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and spices. Add them to the apples and mix gently just before baking the pie. Adjust sugar to taste.

Scrape the filling into the bottom crust. Add a lattice top if desired. Trim and crimp the crust, then chill the pie for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. If desired, sprinkle with sugar or brush the top with egg wash to create a golden sheen when it bakes.

Bake the pie on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the crust looks dry, blistered and blonde. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for at least 45 minutes more or until the crust is golden brown. Visible juices should bubble slowly through the top crust. Check to see if the bottom crust has darkened. If not, bake a little more and cover the top crust to prevent burning.

Cool the pie before cutting. Store uncovered in a cool place for up to 3 days.

About the Host: After spending close to a decade in the test kitchens of Gourmet Magazine, where he developed recipes and co-hosted “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” and “Adventures with Ruth,” Ian poured his love of food back into his family’s Pennsylvania farm. There, he grows his own vegetables and cooks everything from scratch. He recently released his first cookbook, “The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food.” He also writes for several publications and contributes to Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats.”

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