Curtis Stone’s Spiced Apple Pie

The power of apple pie is awesome: This simple dessert has been making grannies famous for generations. There is something about the smell of cinnamon, cloves, and apples baking in a buttery crust that makes you feel good. I use different varieties of apples to get the best qualities of each, but feel free to use your favorite type. I always make my pastry dough in a food processor, because it is so fast, but I provide a handmade version as a variation here.

Spiced Apple Pie
(Makes 8 servings)
Photo courtesy Shutterstock. © Smile Studio

Crust Ingredients

Filling Ingredients


  1. To make crust: In food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt to blend. Add butter and pulse about 10 times, until butter is in pea-size pieces. While pulsing food processor, drizzle ice water through feed tube and process just until moist clumps form. Transfer dough to work surface, divide it in half, making one half slightly larger than other half, and form into 2 thick discs. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 day.
  2. Position rack on lowest rung of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. (Being near source of heat helps bottom crust of the pie to bake and brown properly.)
  3. To make filling: In large bowl, whisk brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together. Add apple wedges and raisins and mix to combine.
  4. Unwrap larger disc of dough and set it on a floured surface. Lightly dust top of dough. (If dough is too cold and firm to roll out, let it stand at room temperature, covered, until it softens slightly.) Starting from center of dough and rolling toward edges, roll out dough into 13-inch round, occasionally rotating dough and dusting surface with flour to prevent dough from sticking. Brush away excess flour. Place rolling pin on edge of dough that’s farthest away from you and gently and loosely roll dough up around pin until you have half of it on pin. Hold pin over edge of 9- to 9 ½-inch glass pie plate and unroll dough into dish. Trim overhang to ½ inch. Refrigerate pie shell. Roll out other disc of dough on floured surface into 12-inch round.
  5. Spread apple mixture in pie shell, then scatter sliced butter on top. Cover pie with remaining dough round. Trim overhang to ½ inch and press edges together, fold dough under itself so it is flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough edge decoratively.
  6. Lightly brush top of pie with milk and sprinkle all over with raw sugar. Using small sharp knife, cut 4 stream vents in the top crust. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake pie for about 55 minutes longer, or, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling through steam vents. Let pie cool on wire rack until warm.
  7. Cut pie into wedges and serve with ice cream.

Variation: Handmade Pie Dough

In large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt together. Add butter. Using pastry blender or two forks, cut butter into flour until butter is in pea-size pieces. Drizzle ice water over flour and gently toss mixture together to moisten. Turn mixture out onto work surface and gently gather it to form dough.

Recipe from What’s for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life © 2013 Curtis Stone, published by Random House.

The Spuntino Way

After serving up heaping ladles full of John Mariani’s Sunday gravy from our Jan/Feb issue, we wanted to try even more of the Italian specialty. Fortunately for us, the owners of Frankies Spuntino restaurant in Brooklyn, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo, obliged. These recipes come to us from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, by Falcinelli, Castronovo, and food writer Peter Meehan. Buon appetito!

Frankies Spuntino Tomato Sauce
(Makes about 3 quarts)


1. Combine olive oil and garlic in large deep saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring or swirling occasionally, until garlic is deeply colored—striations of deep brown running through golden cloves—and fragrant. If garlic starts to smell acrid or sharp or is taking on color quickly, pull pan off stove and reduce heat.

2. While garlic is getting golden, deal with tomatoes: Pour them into bowl and crush them with your hands. We like to pull out the firmer stem end from each of the tomatoes as we crush them and discard those along with the basil leaves that are packed into the can.

3. When garlic is just about done, add red pepper flakes to the oil and cook them for 30 seconds or a minute, to infuse their flavor and spice into the oil. Dump in the tomatoes, add the salt, and stir well. Turn the heat up to medium, get the sauce simmering at a gentle pace, not aggressively, and simmer for 4 hours. Stir it from time to time. Mother it a little bit.

4. Check the sauce for salt at the end. The sauce can be cooked with meat at this point, or stored, covered, in the fridge for at least 4 days or frozen for up to a few months.

(Makes 6 servings—18 to 20 meatballs)
Cooked Meatballs