Apple pie and soft pretzels. Two classic treats, and each a fan favorite on their own. Until now they’ve stayed in their own lanes—apple pies taking the main stage as dessert at the holiday table, whereas soft pretzels were saved for movie theaters and stadiums with a side of cheese. But like many unexpected food combos, once you’ve made an apple pie with a soft pretzel pie crust, you’ll be head over heels for this pairing!
This recipe may look daunting because the dough requires two different resting periods. But have no fear—we’ll walk you through the process.
Apple Pie with Soft Pretzel Pie Crust
For pretzel dough:
1-1/4 cup warm water
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (about 2-1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3-1/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, room temperature
For pie filling:
4 pounds apples
1/2 cup sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the assembly:
2 teaspoons baking soda
Pretzel or coarse sea salt
Editor’s Tip: This guide will help you find the best apples for apple pie.
Tools You’ll Need
Pastry Brush: This Test Kitchen-approved pastry brush is ideal for the task at hand.
10″ Cast-Iron Skillet: I used my trusty cast iron for this, but you can also use a pie plate.
Stand Mixer: Don’t forget the dough hook attachment!
Step 1: Make pretzel dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup warm water, yeast and sugar. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes, while the yeast blooms and gets frothy.
Add bread flour, salt and butter to the yeast and stir until a shaggy mass forms. Mix with dough hook on medium-low speed until dough starts to come together, about 2 minutes. The dough will be tacky but should not be sticky. If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. If dough is too dry, add warm water 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue mixing on medium-low until dough begins to form into a smooth & elastic dough ball, about 5-7 minutes.
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Bring the dough into a smooth ball and transfer to the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1-1/2 hours.
Can I make this dough ahead of time? Yes! Pretzel dough can be made 1 day ahead. After mixing the dough, instead of letting it rise at room temperature, put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, pull dough from fridge and let rest at room temperature for 1 to 1-1/2 hours before dividing and rolling out dough.
Step 2: Make apple filling
In a large bowl mix together sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Peel, core, and slice apples into 1/4″ thick wedges. Add them to the dry mix along with the lemon juice. Stir well and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, up to a couple hours. Stir once in a while as they rest.
Step 3: Rest dough
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 10″ cast-iron skillet with cooking oil. Punch down dough to deflate, then divide in half (you can weigh it for exact measurements or just eyeball it). Using a rolling pin, roll one piece of dough to a circle around 13″ wide. Gently lay dough into the prepared skillet and let it relax into the pan, with the edges coming up and over the sides of the pan. Drape with plastic wrap.
Divide remaining dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out into ropes which will form the lattice for the pie top. Lay them on the counter and cover with plastic wrap.
Let both sets of dough rise at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
Step 4: Fill and decorate soft pretzel pie crust
Make a baking soda wash with 1/2 cup water and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg with a splash of water.
If dough has shrunk into the skillet, stretch it out so the edges still come up over the top of the cast iron. Carefully pour in the apple mixture, then take the overhanging dough and lay it over the apples. Make folds by pinching the dough over itself all the way around the rim of the pie.
Place 4 strands of dough on the top of the pie about an inch apart from each other. Place the other 4 strands across them in a criss-cross pattern. Lattice the strands using this method. Tuck each end down into the cast iron.
Brush all of the exposed dough with the baking soda mixture, then the egg wash. Sprinkle with pretzel salt.
Step 5: Bake pretzel pie
Bake pie in the middle or lower 1/3 of the oven for 50-60 minutes until dough is golden brown and firm to the touch. If the top starts to get too brown, loosely tent foil over and continue to bake. You can make sure it’s done by carefully lifting the pie up out of the cast iron a bit to check the bottom for doneness.
Let cool in the pan for an hour before digging in!
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