The Secret Ingredient For The Absolute Best Apple Pie

Crafting a delicious apple pie from scratch is no easy feat. A labor of love, the best pie boasts a crisp, buttery crust and sweetly spiced filling laden with tender apple slices. To achieve these iconic characteristics, many classic recipes rely on a few key ingredients. Yet, while there is something to be said about tradition, great pies tend to deviate from the norm. Any number of unique ingredients can elevate homemade apple pie, but it takes a truly unexpected addition like a scoop of sour cream to take the dessert to new heights. 

Introducing sour cream into an apple pie — specifically, the filling — does extraordinary things for flavor. Fresh and milky with a pleasant twang of tang, sour cream imparts layers of complexity without overpowering other flavors. Additionally, the ingredient can work to restore balance. Just as the richness of the sour cream is able to tame the filling's zesty spices and tart-tasting fruit, its acidic edge can soften cloying sweetness. But, that's not all.

Sour cream also improves texture. Due to its decadent composition, sour cream leads to a better mouthfeel as it lends a silkiness to the apple mixture. Whether it's whisked into fillings for pies, galettes, or an apple crostata recipe, the ingredient produces a dreamy result. What's more, sour cream can add bulk to a thin and runny filling, transforming it into a thicker custard that saves pies from becoming soggy. This also increases structural integrity, which can amp up the pie's visual appeal.

Give apple pie a major upgrade with a scoop of sour cream

When selecting a suitable sour cream, you really only have one option: full-fat. Unlike leaner versions that can be watery, full-fat sour cream gives apple pie filling a sturdier and more luscious consistency that leads to better textures as the pie bakes. All you need to do is whisk it with sugar, spices, and any other additions, before mixing in the apples. After thoroughly coating each slice, let the mixture rest briefly so that flavors can marry. Then pour the filling into the pie crust and bake as usual.

As for how much sour cream to work into a standard pie filling, for the best results, we suggest using ⅓ cup sour cream for every 3 pounds of apples. Naturally, you can adjust quantities based on preference. The only thing to remember is that while recipes can improve tenfold with as little as a dollop, the same isn't always true when you add more than the recommended amount — this addition is meant to enhance the apple pie, not detract from it.

Want to effectively double down on the decadence? Try incorporating sour cream into pie crust. Simply use sour cream instead of water to ensure fuller flavors and a more tender crust. Able to revamp pie fillings and crusts alike, there's no doubt about it, sour cream is the secret to baking the absolute best apple pies ever!