Apple Cider Cream Pie

I’m back!

October 2011 will go down as one of the greatest months of my life. It was all so good. I’ll share more soon, but for now let’s get right back into baking.

Traveling at the start of Autumn had me in constant awe of the bounty of food at the markets in Europe and happy(ish) to return to my kitchen and actually make something. I missed cooking! I returned to a pile of magazines, many with turkeys on the cover.

As soon as cool air flows into town, I start thinking about Thanksgiving. I use October and November as recipe testing time. Everything I try is an audition for a spot at the Thanksgiving table. Auditions have begun.

The recipe that most needed me to make it was this apple cider cream pie from the November issue of Food & Wine. It sounded like the apple sour cream tart that I used to love from Fox & Obel, a gourmet market in Chicago. I haven’t seen the tart for a while so I was hopeful this pie, which contains apple cider and sour cream, might be a good substitute—you know me and sour cream.

I was trying to do a million other things while I made this and as a result overcooked the crust, didn’t whisk the custard enough, or wait for the pie to cool completely before piling on the whip cream. Despite all of my mistakes, this was one of the most enjoyable pies ever. The custard is pleasantly sour and the cinnamon scented whipped cream is perfect. I love it.

This recipe is a real keeper, and will very likely end up on my Thanksgiving table (unless some Susan Boyle of a recipe comes along and steals the show). You should make this now.

[One more thing! While I was gone, one of you sent me a great email about thanksgiving recipe ideas, and I accidentally deleted it. Can you resend?! I really wanted to respond!]

Apple Cider Cream Pie (Recipe by Allison Kave via Food & Wine, November 2011)


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice and chilled
  • 3 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top of the flour mixture. Pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough into an 11-inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick; ease it into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 10- 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°.

In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in 3/4 cup of the sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in the eggs.

Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the whipped cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve.

The pie is best eaten the day it is made, but it will keep for up to two days in the fridge. If you plan on making it in advance, do not top with the whipped cream until you are ready to serve.

75 comments to “Apple Cider Cream Pie”

  1. This is my dream pie come true

  2. Welcome back! What a great pie.

  3. You referenced Susan Boyle in relation to pie…ergo I love it.

  4. I wish you could write a post a day, I would read them all. Love what you do:-) x

  5. Angharad- thanks for appreciating that.
    Laura- That is SO kind! I kind of wish I could too.

  6. What a great idea! It makes me think of the caramel apple cider at Starbucks.

  7. That sounds sublime! And I totally missed in F&W. Thanks for the posting!

  8. Tim —- sOoOoOoo happy you’re back! Looking forward to hearing about your October *and* making this amazing pie!!

  9. Such a unique idea! I’ll have to give this one a try! Looks delicious.

  10. I’m intrigued by the apple cider vinegar in the crust…like buttermilk, but not, because you don’t let it sit to curdle, you know? This looks awesome—so nice to have refreshing takes on Thanksgiving pies.

  11. YAY! Can’t wait to try this the cider is awaiting. Also, I want you to know that you were missed. This is currently my favorite food blog which is not something I say lightly!

  12. Hey Tim, you kept us waiting too long for your recipe. But with this, all is forgiven :).

    I actually also have a suggestion for your thanksgiving table. Pumpkin cookies with butterscotch chips. The combination might sound weird, but they are amazing, and won rave reviews from the hospital staff I volunteer with. Or with Halloween coming up, they would be awesome.

  13. yay! so glad you’re back! plans to make this this weekend but with rye crust and bourbon in the whipped cream (and in everything, really). looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

  14. You couldn’t have returned at a better time. I was in need of dessert inspiration for this upcoming weekend! And, while I’ve never been much of a pie person, you had me at cider and cream.

  15. Mmm I’ve never even heard of this type of pie, but now I want to try it out. Glad you’ve been having a wonderful time lately!

  16. I think this just went on my Thanksgiving short list, too. Sounds really good.

    Any idea if I could use boiled cider (King Arthur sells it) instead of boiling down the regular stuff? I have no idea how concentrated the boiled cider is, but I have this jar of the stuff that needs using.

  17. oh! this looks like a dream come true! I’ve been craving a chess pie but this just nudged ahead by a mile!

  18. Tim! I have a “Bake for Blog” list on my computer, and this is #2! Kind of died when I saw this in Food and Wine…happy to hear that it’s as good as it looked and that it could even make the Thanksgiving cut. Also happy to hear that all is well (better than well!) with you. Happy fall, my fellow baker/blogger in crime…

  19. The perfect autumn dessert! And I love custard pies that can be made ahead. Bookmarking this for our upcoming dinner with the in-laws! Thanksgiving auditions have begun in our kitchen too ~ my favorite :)

  20. This looks amazing!
    I was on your site yesterday, browsing around as usual, hoping you would post some awe-inspiring, amazing holiday dessert, so this is a very pleasant surprise!
    I’ll definitely be trying it out, looks too delicious!!

  21. NancyB- I have not heard of boiled cider until just now. Sure, I bet you could use it. You will probably want to dilute it with water to reach the amount you need for recipe without it being too strong. I assume it has sugar added, in which case you will also want to reduce the amount of sugar in the custard.

    Megan- Ha! My first reaction is that it seems like a very good idea to make a list. I lose track of everything. Happy fall, partner!

    Kartik- Pumpkin and butterscotch sound great! That is a good suggestion.

  22. What a unique cream pie! It’s always good when, despite all our mistakes, things still turn out ok. :) The pie looks delicious.

  23. Thanksgiving has gone and disappeared, but there’s always a reason to make pie. I’ve never tried anything like this & it looks and sounds amazing (and I’m not even a fan of custard). Can’t wait to hear about your trip! And I do have to say, I really did miss your posts here, so welcome back!

  24. kickpleat- thanks for the warm welcome back. and yes, happy belated thanksgiving to you. lots of reasons to make pie!

  25. Hi Tim, I have a couple of questions–I’m currently in France, by cider you mean non-alcoholic, American style, right? and what’s a good substitute for sour cream, could I use creme fraiche and dot it with some cider vinegar?

  26. Hi Amy! Yes, American cider = unfiltered apple juice. Not real cider. Creme fraiche will work. My problem with creme fraiche as a sub for sour cream is that it is richer, and less bright. Not a major problem, but here it will affect the flavor. Maybe the vinegar is a good idea. If you give it a try, let us know!

  27. Whoa, this sounds like all sorts of amazing. I have never heard of apple cider cream pie before but now I’ve got to try it.

  28. It looks so good, and it is the perfect season to make pie! I have a question, can I use applesauce and a little less apple cider? I hope you had a great time :)

  29. hi betty!
    I would not use apple sauce. The beauty of the custard is that it is smooth and creamy, applesauce will ruin that. Also, the reduced cider has a strong flavor, applesauce may be less flavorful. Make sense? Happy baking!

  30. Welcome back, Tim! You are so good actually testing out thanksgiving contenders ahead of time…I think I’ve started doing that way too late this year (as in, I haven’t really done it at all, whoops). I might have to test this one out, though – I’ve still got a little time! :)

  31. ugh, stop, just stop! this looks sooo good. it’s great to have you back, but it nice to hear that you had such an amazing time this past month. i’m very happy for you! :)

  32. Welcome back! This pie looks so great and having just received a great stock of fresh apples all the way from Bhutan, Im itching to try it. But a few questions first – What is a good substitute for apple cider vinegar? and, can i use heavy cream instead of sour cream? I stay in India and none of these ingredients are available here! thank you :-).

  33. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the best recipe for substitutions. You could try using creme fraiche in place of the sour cream, but heavy cream wouldn’t work. You could use another vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar. If you give this a try, let us know what you come up with!

  34. SO happy to have you back. Missed your insights and absolutely inspirational recipes and pictures. Waiting to hear about your happy travels. Congrats on you and Brian!!

  35. Welcome home & Congratulations!
    This pie looks incredible. I look forward to the rest of your European recipe results, I have faith you have many for us.

  36. apple cider + pie, i have a feeling that i am going to have difficulty getting this recipe out of my mind!

  37. I think we are all happy to have you back. Holiday food is all so good and the auditions are really enjoyable as each item doesn’t have to compete with the full pig out of the holiday table. I will definitely make this pie, maybe this weekend. :-)

  38. PERFECT for the season right now!! Yum, thanks for sharing. I now know what I will do this weekend. Mmmm

  39. This looks great for autumn/fall. I think I need to make it this weekend.

  40. They still have that tart at F&O, Tim. Open your eyes. Geez.

  41. Shut up, David.

  42. I never would have dreamed that such a pie even existed… it sounds really lovely. Creme fraiche would be terrific. I just had a butterscotch budino (pudding) with creme fraiche and the cream cut the sweet so well.

  43. This was the very first thing I spotted in the November Food and Wine issue that I immediately wanted to make but I was scared about how it would turn out. I’m so glad to hear that you tried it first and that it was tasty! I wonder what it would be like all tarted up and boozy-like too

  44. Sounds (and looks) amazing, Tim. Congrats! To many years of bliss and deliciousness. :)

  45. wow. this looks great. my kid allegedly hates sour cream–maybe that means I will get more pie. or that she will discover she actually likes sour cream. a dilemma.

  46. I am not a completely inexperienced piecrust maker, but I had trouble getting this one to come together. As in, a few large things to roll out but otherwise crumbles. I have never had this problem with a crust that uses water to bring it together in the food processor. Any suggestions? BTW I’m still in the middle of making it so we’ll see how everything turns out!

  47. I love the idea of this. I am not normally a custard fan, but I love sour flavors like this. Bookmarked.

  48. Hmm…does the milk curdle if you add it to the apple cider vinegar for the crust? Does it matter?BTW, beautiful wedding pictures, congratulations!!! Love your blog!

  49. Hi DB, Thanks for the good wishes. The milk didn’t curdle (or I didn’t notice), and if I had I doubt it would matter. Happy baking.

  50. Oh my gosh, what a keeper. Sunday was filled with closet and freezer cleaning. I had a pie crust I needed to use up and wanted to try something new. I’m so glad I came across this little gem. So delicious. And my ‘eh, it’s just okay’-boyfriend loved it. I found him crouched down in front of the refrigerator eating out of the pan with a fork an hour after our first slice. I guess we’ll be the only ones eating it. Thanks for posting :)

  51. Ok I’m sorry if I’m sounding like an idiot here, but I read through the comments also. Is this the apple cider that is refrigerated and brown or the kind in the juice aisle (non refrigerated)? Thanks!

  52. Hey Kelly, you don’t sound like an idiot at all! If you are in the states, the cider is in the fridge (darker and cloudier). You do not want apple juice (on the shelf). Happy baking!

  53. This was incredible! Have made it twice already and has been requested as a Thanksgiving dessert. So glad that I stumbled onto your website, have enjoyed the caramel cake and am eager to try the baked fries! Can’t wait to see what is coming next…

  54. This looks so awesome. And coincidentally we just got back from the local apple farm with a couple of bushels of apples to make cider with.

    On my to-do list. Can’t wait!

  55. I love that there are no apples in this pie, only the cider to give it apple flavor. Pinning to my board of recipes to try.

  56. Do you think this pie would be OK with a pre-made crust?

  57. Hey Jessie- Yes, I think OK is exactly what it would be. I think it is great with a homemade crust. ; ) The crust really isn’t too difficult, but if you give a pre-made crust a try let us all know what you think. Happy baking!

  58. made this pie for thanksgiving this year and…it was a gigantic hit! my first cream pie ever, reminded me of eating chocolate cream pies with my dad when i was a kid! smooth creamy mild custard with a lightly scented whipped cream topping – yum! it was even MORE awesome after refrigeration all night long. i substituted Penzey’s pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon, complete success. (btw, if you have not tried spices from Penzey’s, do yourself a favor and try a little of their vanilla sugar, it is absolutely decadent! – )

  59. i will say, the crust is a little heavy. quite buttery and tasty, but a bit bulky for my taste. perhaps this is necessarily to support all that wet custardy filling….?

  60. I debuted my first homemade pic crust with this pie and it was well worth it. In my haste to make the cream topping, I accidentally grabbed the container of cardamom instead of cinnamon. I caught my mistake before I whipped the spice into the cream so I was able to take some if it out to make room for the cinnamon. The hint of cardamom was actually kind of nice, however. Thanks for a terrific blog and great ideas!

  61. Hi from Rio!!!!
    Wondering how I found you?
    I love to bake (actualy own Rio’s one and only chocolate chip cookie factory,) have a bit of american heritage in my upbringining, and have a friend that lives in São Paulo and keeps sending me recipes.
    We have this little game where she sends me a link to a recipe and says: “I dare you!” (in portuguese, “duvido”).
    And as I cant stand being challenged I have just finished baking your pie!

  62. Do you think this pie would be good with a graham cracker like crust, except made with ginger snaps?

  63. Hi Keren- No, I don’t think a gingersnap/graham cracker crust would work as well. But I have been wrong before, so maybe you should give it a try. Let me know if you do!

  64. Hey Tim! I am making this pie for pie day! (Wednesday 3/14) and was wondering.. I am going to wait until Wednesday to make the whipped cream topping and add it before serving, but was wondering if until then, should I store it with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard base? Or does that matter? I know that with curds and other custards you do this at times, but wasn’t sure if it’d make a difference here. Thanks in advance!

  65. Hi Andrea- I don’t think you need to do that, the custard should be fine. That is a great recipe to celebrate pie day with!

  66. Hi Tim! My custard is currently cooling…I was wondering if it would be better to eat it chilled? Also, my custard was quite a bit lighter in color than yours…a pale golden yellow color. Could it have been one of the following reasons? 1. I used fat free sour cream 2. I had 2 small farm fresh eggs and 2 store bought jumbo eggs 3. I used freshly juiced apple cider.

  67. Hey Melia,
    I like the pie best chilled a bit, but you can go either way. It could have been any of those reasons, but I wouldn’t worry about it until you taste it. Proof is in the pudding. ; ) Generally, fat-free sour cream isn’t the greatest for custards. Even the low-fat is a better choice, but really for a pie I think it is worth using the full-fat. Let me know how it turns out!

  68. I just tested out the custard – delicious! I wonder if there is something that would make the apple flavor remain a bit stronger, but it’s still such an interesting and fresh take on apple pie! Thanks!

  69. I made this pie for a birthday this weekend after waiting a year for the right occasion. It is SO delicious, and the crust was incredible. I had to stop myself from licking the bowl of cinnamon whipped cream. Very nice find. It’s going to make a Thanksgiving appearance, for sure.

  70. I made this pie for my family for Thanksgiving last year, and it was the biggest hit. Every recipe I have tried from your site has been incredible – I am in awe! :)

  71. Hiya! Just wanted to say that I made this yesterday for Christmas dinner. It was perfect and delicious. Thank you!

  72. Can I use a ready made crust and add slices of apple to the custard?

  73. Hi Lori, You can use a ready made crust, it won’t be as good but it will work. I do not recommend adding apple slices to the custard. They will not cook and will be weird and crunchy and in the way of the creamy custard.

  74. Hi Tim! I’m wondering how much to let the cider cool before adding the eggs. Do I cool it completely or are the eggs supposed to cook a bit when whisking? Thanks, I’m excited to try this recipe!

  75. Hi Susannah! 15 -20 minutes? You just don’t want it super hot. It can still be warm. I forgot about this recipe! It is one of the best. Hope you enjoy it.

What do you think?