Traditional Irish Apple Pie

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Irish Apple Pie
Is there anything more homely than apple pie? Apple pie is the most popular Irish dessert taught in our Dublin cooking classes and this recipe was the top Irish recipe in my recipe column. It is the ultimate Irish Food loved by adults and children alike and we’ll be making more than a few apple pies this month to celebrate the St Patricks Day Festival 2020.
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 60
Passive Time 10
Prep Time 15
Cook Time 60
Passive Time 10
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, or equivalent and place a baking sheet inside to heat up. Lightly grease a pie dish with a little butter.
  2. To make the pastry by hand, place the flour into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar. Use a knife to work in the egg (or cold water), then bring together to form a dough (add a drop of water if required). Wrap the pastry up and refrigerate it for 20 minutes. (To make pastry in a food processor, blitz the flour, butter and sugar to fine breadcrumbs, then work in the egg to form a dough).
  3. Divide the pastry into two balls of dough. On a lightly floured work surface roll out one piece of pastry into a circle and use it to line the buttered pie dish.
  4. Fill the pie with half the sliced apples, dredge with half the sugar, then scatter with cloves. Repeat with the remaining apples and sugar.
  5. Brush egg yolk over the rim of the pastry, before rolling out the second ball of dough into a circle and placing it over the apple filling. Use a sharp knife to trim off any overhanging pastry around the edge of the dish. Imprint the outer edge of the dish with your thumb (or crimp using the tines of a fork).
  6. Use up any extra pastry by rolling it out and cutting out leaves or other shapes to decorate the pie. Glaze the entire surface of the pastry with egg yolk (which gives a lovely golden colour). Dredge with a little extra sugar. Use the tip of the knife to slash a pair of 2cm cuts in the pastry to enable the steam to escape; this is important to avoid the pastry rising above the apples and creating a gap beneath the lid.
Recipe Notes

The aroma of a freshly baked apple pie takes me right back to my childhood. I would be sent out into my grandfather’s garden and farm in Delgany, grumbling all the way, to collect the windfall apples. Windfalls don’t store well. The bruise which forms where they hit the ground quickly starts to go bad.

They had to be used immediately, and my grandma’s deep-dish apple pie was the perfect way to do it. I love everything about it: the wonderful smell, the rich golden buttery crust and the slightly tart apple filling.

There is a huge interest in Irish food and Irish recipes. Our Dublin Cooking School celebrates 15 years in 2020. We have lots of bespoke culinary equipment but for an apple pie, I always use a favourite Pyrex glass pie dish which I’ve been using for fruit pies for more years than I care to remember. It is deep enough to fit in a generous amount of apple and has a good-sized lip around the edge.

The deep lip helps with crimping the edges of the pastry, keeping the juicy filling safely inside. My grandma used a fork to crimp the edges, but a rustic thumbprint works just as well. Brushing the bottom edge of the pastry with egg wash before adding the top layer will help to seal the crimped edges together.


To see more Irish Recipe videos

Different varieties of apple will give slightly different results. I’ve used Bramley apples here, which become soft and fluffy when cooked. Varieties such as Cox or Braeburn will keep their shape. You may want to use a mixture of the two, depending on what you have to hand.

Here is a link to the apple pie recipe we use in the cooking school.

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