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Balsamic Apple Pie

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min


For the Pie:

  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 4 Granny Smith or Fuji Apples
  • Grated Zest of 1 Orange or Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • Pinch Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt

For the Crumble:

  • ½ Cup Flour
  • ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • Pinch Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Stick Cold, Unsalted Butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
  2. Parbake your pie crust, first trim the edges leaving a half inch overhang and crimp the edges.
  3. Line the crust with parchment and fill it with pie weights, dried beans or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the parchment, prick the crust and bake for another five minutes to brown it.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the apples and cut into thin slices. Transfer them to a mixing bowl and add the citrus zest and the balsamic vinegar. Toss to combine, then add the brown and white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss again. Set aside.
  5. In another mixing bowl, grate the stick of cold butter on the large side of a cheese grater. Add the flour, brown and white sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut together with a pastry blender or your hands until crumbles form. Set in the fridge till ready to use.
  6. When the crust is parbaked, turn the oven down to 350 Fahrenheit.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple mixture to the pie and spread it evenly. Drizzle a small amount of the liquid from the bowl over the apples and reserve the rest. Spread the crumble evenly over the top and then use foil to cover the edges of the pie crust.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting. Warm the remaining liquid from the apple bowl until the sugar dissolves, serve the apple pie with ice cream and a drizzle of the liquid.

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Savannah Says...

  1. What does par baking the pie crust do?

    1. It makes a buttery flaky crust!
      This allows the crust enough oven time so that it crisps up and fully cooks, that way you don’t have a soggy pie. The pie weights keep the bottom from puffing up and wrapping the edges in foil after the par-bake ensures that they won’t burn.
  2. Why don’t you pour all the liquid from the sugary apples into the pie?

    1. I'm drowning here!
      So you don’t get a soggy pie! But that liquid is like gold so be sure and save it to pour over the finished pie with a big scoop of ice cream.
  3. How do I know my pie is done?

    1. Put the fork down!
      Look for a golden brown top and bubbly filling. The liquid from the apples should have joined with the sugar and made a bubbling caramel.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Inevitably, whenever I bake a pie Tony and I always end up eating it with forks straight out of the pan. We’ll eat one piece each when it comes out of the oven and then catch each other later in the dark kitchen, quietly pulling back the plastic wrap trying to sneak a bite. A forkful of pie doesn’t count, right?

This Balsamic Apple Pie is no exception and my inspiration for this was born during my years of working for The Cooking Studio in Fort Collins, CO. One of our most popular events was a competitive team building. We would split the colleagues into two groups, give them the same recipes and a secret ingredient and turn them loose. I would gleefully give advice, ominous glances and a lot of opinions about the consistency of their risotto.

One of our go-to secret ingredients was a balsamic vinegar and though some teams made some fantastic, savory dishes with the vinegar, the teams that put it into their apple crisps always won, hands down. It’s really hard to beat a sweet and sour flavor combo and this one is particularly good.

Since I wanted to use a cast iron pan to make this I put down a handy, dandy layer of buttery pie crust to protect the cast iron seasoning from the acidity of the apples and vinegar. My cast iron is happy, I have managed to pack more butter into a dessert so I’m happy and I think you will be in awe of your culinary genius when you give this a whirl.

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