Autumn skies and apple pies . . . it’s a favorite time for year for pie baking!

Recently, I discovered a new apple pie recipe by an influential American painter, Jackson Pollock. His pie became famous in the local community of Springs when it won first prize in the local Fisherman’s Fair. Every year, Pollock auctioned his signature apple pie at Ashawagh Hall. Over the years, his pie reputation grew. People would bid on it ahead of time. Often, is was already sold before the event.

As for a flaky crust, Mary Fannie Woodruff’s Crisco-based pie crust cannot be beat.  Down a Virginia country road, Woodruff’s Pies has been around for over 60 years. Mary Fannie, aka “Mama Woodruff” greets her customers. Coconut custard, lemon chess, buttermilk, blueberry buttermilk, lemon meringue pie, blueberry crumble and holiday pies are on the menu. Selling hundreds a week, the family-owned pie shop is popular among students from nearby colleges as well as locals. 

What are the best apples to make an apple pie with?

  • Granny Smith
  • Honey Crisp
  • Golden Delicious
  • Northern Spy
  • Braeburn
  • Jonagold

Autumn skies and apple pies . . . bake one today!

Apple Pie

The ultimate All-American apple pie recipe. Inspired by Jackson Pollock's signature apple pie, it's delicious any time of year and especially fun to make in autumn. Adapted from Jackson Pollock and Mary Fannie Woodruff recipes.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 T. unsalted butter, chilled in the refrigerator and cut in small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Apple Pie Filling: 4 pound granny smith apples, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 1 T. instant mixing or "gravy" flour

Egg wash: 1 large egg, lightly beaten and 1 T. sugar


  1. To make the pie crust:

    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Use a pastry cutter, cut in the Crisco and butter until the mixture looks uniform and crumbly, about 8 minutes.

  2. Mix egg and vinegar with 1/2 cup cold water. Sprinkle egg mixture into flour a few tablespoons at a time, lightly stirring in with a wide rubber spatula. Turn out onto a silicone baking mat, gently knead a few times to bring the mixture to a smooth ball, being careful not to over work the dough.

  3. Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten each piece, wrap tightly in plastic and chill for at least 1/2 hour or overnight.

  4. To prepare the filling:

    Peel, core and thinly slice apples.

  5. Add the apples, sugar, water, and spices to a large skillet. Gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, just until soft. Drain the apples, reserving the juice. Chill the apples. Reduce the cooking liquid. Sift the flour over the apples and gently toss. Set aside.

    This can be done the day before.

  6. To assemble the pie:

    Preheat oven to 450ºF.

    On a lightly-floured silicone baking mat, roll our the dough. Roll from the center out. Rotate the crust often, checking to be sure that the silicone baking mat is floured to prevent the dough from sticking.

  7. Place the pastry in a 10-inch round pie dish, allowing the pastry to hang over the side of the dish by about 1".

  8. Add the apple mixture into the pie shell and distribute evenly.

  9. Option 1:

    Roll out another piece of dough, cut into 1/2" strips, weave strips across the top of the filling. Brush lattice strips with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

    Option 2:

    Roll out another piece of dough, slide the pastry sheet onto a rolling pin, and unroll it on top of the apple pie filling. Allow the crust to overhang the edge of the dish by 1", trim away excess dough, pinch the top and bottom crust together all around the rim to seal the pie. Slice a few openings with a knife to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

  10. To bake the pie:

    Place the pie in the center of the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 325ºF and bake for 40 to 45 minutes more. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil.