Deep-Dish Sour Cream–Apple Pie with Cardamom Streusel

This is an extra-deep pie, made in a springform pan. The sides of the apple pie are more than 2 inches deep, so there’s plenty of filling. The crunchy, buttery brown-sugar crumb on top is lightly accented with cardamom and lemon and is the perfect foil to the lush, rich sour cream and apple filling. When you slice a big wedge, it’s picture-perfect, so much so that guests will think this came from a fancy bakery. There are several do-ahead steps, so take advantage.–Dede Wilson

LC Cardamom Note

As author Dede Wilson explains, cardamom has a flavor that’s not exactly a wallflower. In her words, “it tends to dominate in recipes where it is used.” If this terrifies you, or even just gives you pause, an alternate approach is to try this apple pie recipe with cinnamon in its place, leaving the lemon zest out of both the filling and crust, says Wilson, for a more typical apple-cinnamon flavor profile, which, while more expected, may also be more welcomed.

Deep-Dish Sour Cream–Apple Pie with Cardamom Streusel Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 6 H
  • Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

  • For the apple pie crust
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • For the apple filling
  • 9 cups (about 10 or 11 apples) peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples, use a mixture of Cortland, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream (not low-fat)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the cardamom streusel
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

  • Make the apple pie crust
  • 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the flat paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat on medium-high speed until lightened and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk until well combined. Add the flour and pulse the mixer on and off until it begins to combine, and then run the mixer on medium-low speed just until the dough begins to form. Scrape out onto plastic wrap and use the wrap to help press the dough into a flat disk shape. Wrap the dough thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • 2. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch round. Use the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch round springform pan as a guide and cut out a 9-inch circle. Assemble the pan with the sides locked into place, and coat the inside with nonstick spray. Transfer the circle of crust to the bottom of the pan. Roll out the remaining dough and cut 2 long strips, each one 17 x 2 inches. Take one strip and fit it into the pan along the side; have the bottom slightly curve in over the bottom crust. Press the lower edge of the strip against the bottom crust to seal. Brush the short, vertical edges of the side strip with water and press the second strip into place, trimming to fit with about 1/2 inch of overlap. Press the overlapping edges well to seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Make the apple filling
  • 3. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • 4. Toss together the apple slices and sugar in a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring gently, taking care not to crush the fruit pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until the mixture begins to exude juices and the apples soften just a tiny bit. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then sprinkle the flour over, and toss gently to coat.
  • 5. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the sour cream, zest, and vanilla. Fold into the fruit mixture.
  • 6. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and scrape the filling into the crust. It will come right up to the top of the crust. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the streusel.
  • Make the cardamom streusel
  • 7. Combine all the ingredients until well blended.
  • 8. After the pie has baked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 375°F. Squeeze the streusel between your fingers and palms to create clumps ranging in size from small to large grapes and scatter all over the top of the pie. There is a lot of streusel; use it all, gently mounding it in the center.
  • 9. Return the apple pie to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Turn the heat down to 350°F (175°C) and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the streusel is evenly browned and the pie feels firm when gently pressed. If you can see any filling bubbling around the edges, that is a good sign of doneness, but most likely it will be completely covered with streusel.
  • 10. Cool the pan on a rack to allow the filling to thicken and set. Serve the apple pie at room temperature. Store at room temperature for up 1 day.

Tip

  • Cardamom has a flavor that dominates in recipes where it is used; it typically does not fade to the background in a dish. For an alternative flavor, try this apple pie recipe with cinnamon in its place, and leave the lemon zest out of both the filling and crust. You will have a more typical apple-cinnamon flavor profile, which, while more expected, is equally welcomed.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Tammori Petty

Dec 22, 2009

I really enjoyed the pie. I wish the recipe indicated the texture of the filling. I thought something went wrong when I saw how loose it was. After it set completely, it had a firmer texture, which was a nice change from the traditional apple pie. I preferred it even more after it had been refrigerated. Overall, it had a very good taste and I would definitely make it again.

Testers Choice
Abigail Corn

Dec 22, 2009

This cake is delicious! My baby boy (he’s actually 20 years old) likes only apple cakes and asked for a new one for his birthday. I eyed this recipe long ago and took this occasion to try it, and it was a big success. The recipe is long but not complicated to prepare—except for the construction of the crust. There was very little dough for such a large baking pan, so it’s difficult to cover the vertical edges of the springform pan. I found that cutting the dough into three strips—each about 12-by-2 inches each—instead of two strips makes it easier. After baking, you get a beautiful crust that’s very fine, almost invisible. I prepared the filling with both the vanilla and lemon, which was very tasty, and looked nice when we cut into it. TIP: If you use different kinds of apples, cook the Granny Smiths first, and, 2 to 3 minutes later, add the others, since sweet apples need less time to soften. We loved this very much, and I’m sure we’ll have it again.

Comments
Comments
  1. That sounds wonderful! I’ve been on a cardamom kick lately.

  2. Renee R. says:

    Pies are not my baking nemesis, but this came out beautifully and was delicious. I like that it is not super-sweet, but has wonderful flavor. I do think that next time I will increase the cardamom by a bit.

  3. David Leite says:

    Renee, so glad you liked it. I, too, think it could benefit from a bit more cardamom. But all in all, a great pie.

  4. Liz says:

    Please check the ingredients list for this recipe. There is no mention of cardamom or lemon zest in either the pie crust or the apple filling. I chose to use cinnamon and had to guess at the amount. (1 tsp cinnamon in the filling was not enough!)

    Also, although it appeared to be done judging by the criteria in Step 3 and it baked the extra 10 minutes mentioned in that step, it was NOT done, but I didn’t realize it until hours later when it had completely cooled and I cut it to serve it. The bottom crust was, um, gooey.

    All in all, I would choose another apple pie recipe next time. Sorry! I hope you accept this comment as constructive criticism as it is intended.

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Liz, your comments are most welcome. And sorry the pie didn’t work for you.

      If you look at the ingredients list, you’ll see lemon zest listed under the pie filling and cardamom and lemon zest listed under the streusel. In step 3 of “Make the apple filling,” you’ll see you’re instructed to add the zest along with the sour cream and vanilla. And in step 1 of “Make the streusel,” you’ll see you’re instructed to combine all the streusel ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest, and cardamom).

      Regarding the pie not being done, do you have an oven thermometer that you use regularly? I find that without one (I use two), that it’s almost impossible to accurately bake a dish. Ovens can be as much as 75 degrees hotter or colder than specified.

      • Liz says:

        Hi, David,
        Wow! Thanks for your fast reply. I was assuming that the dish was intended to have cardamom (cinnamon) in the filling and possibly in the crust. Sorry, my mistake. I do have a thermometer but haven’t checked the temp lately. Will do. Maybe I will try again with cardamom and lemon zest.

        Kind regards,
        Liz

      • Evonne says:

        I can’t wait to try this recipe, as it looks and seems like the wonderful sour cream apple pie we ate at a restaurant in Charleson, SC. My question is, we live in an area that is approximately at 5000 feet above sea level. What adjustments do I need make with ingredients and/or oven temp. I hope you can help.

        Best regards,

        Evonne

        • Sandy Hill says:

          Evonne,

          We just moved from Wyoming (7,300 feet) to Colorado (5,300 feet). I made my mother’s old fashioned apple crumb pie in a 9-inch pan many times at 7,300 feet. I wouldn’t change the ingredients at all on this recipe. My suggestions for you at 5,000 feet would be:

          1. Reduce oven temperature by 20 degrees and cook approximately 20 to 30 minutes longer BUT check to see if the apples are tender before that time.

          2. Also, cover the top with foil the last few minutes of baking if the crumb topping is getting too brown

          Good luck!

          • Evonne says:

            Sandy,
            Thank you so much for the high altitude adjustments for this pie. When the time comes, and there are apples I can pick from the tree I am going to try your suggestions for this recipe. My mouth is watering now. Can’t wait.
            Evonne

  5. Laura says:

    I’m not a very experienced baker, but I decided to get serious on this one and follow the recipe to a “T.” Wow, what a pie. I served my pie with Hagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream, but it can easily stand alone. The flavors and aromas are perfect–thank goodness I invested in Dede Wilson’s book…

    The crust recipe barely made enough crust for my liking, I think next time I might increase the recipe. I found it helpful to press my dough into the larger than 9-inch round and two 8-by-2-inch strips before even putting it in the fridge for the first time. If not, you must work very quickly with this dough to keep it from warming up too fast when you’re rolling it out. As a first-time crust-maker, it took me a few attempts to get it right, but it worked well in the end with lots of patience.

    I used a combination of fresh farmer’s market Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Pink Lady Apples ( about 9 total) and found this combination worked nicely. Th cooking time was perfect. Now is a great time to invest in an oven thermometer, as you won’t be able to trust your oven’s setting during the two temperature changes.

    This is such an elegant apple pie, and hands down one of the best I’ve tasted, let alone made. It looks and tastes like something I would have picked up at a bakery. You absolutely must use a spring form pan. Other than the melt-in-your mouth taste, the pan is what makes this pie a cut above.

    I adore cardamom and agree that it could stand some more, but I don’t think I’ll be altering my recipe in this respect: the cardamom does its job, contributing to the fabulous aroma, and I don’t want any flavors competing with that rich and wonderful sour cream filling. I might experiment with fresh vanilla next time. The streusel topping did its job faithfully. The crust was flaky and tasty, but it did get a touch soggy for my liking, so it might be worth experimenting with a crunchier crust recipe. Whatever you do, don’t alter this recipe the first time you make it. Leave just as is, use patience and only the freshest ingredients, and you won’t be sorry.

  6. Katie says:

    This looks incredible. I think I will make this for Thanksgiving this year. My husband’s family is Swedish, so cardamom is a big hit with them. This will probably do the trick!

  7. grace says:

    extra deep and extra decadent! i love the thick, densely-packed apples, and the crumbly topping is a welcome change from the boring ol’ double crust!

  8. PollyG163 says:

    How important is it to use (or sift) cake flour vs. regular flour?

    • Laura says:

      I wouldn’t use the substitution unless I really had to… it will probably make your crust too crumby. Dede Wilson really has things down to a science—that’s what I love about her cookbook. If she says use cake flour, I’m willing to bet that cake flour’s the only way to go.

      I’ve heard of this substitution for cake flour: 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch. But again, wouldn’t do this unless I was in a pinch. Usually better just to pick up some cake flour at the grocery.

      • Cindi Kruth [LC Recipe Tester] says:

        Hi Polly,

        Laura has gotten the cake flour issue just right. Cake flour contains less protein than all purpose so a substitution, especially when mixing the crust by machine, may lead to too much gluten development and a tough crust. The all purpose flour plus cornstarch substitution will work, but cake flour is preferable.

        It is very important to sift the flour first. 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour means sift before measuring. 1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted means measure and then sift. Unsifted 1 1/4 cups of cake flour will weigh more than 1 1/2 cups of sifted cake flour. The addition of this much extra flour would certainly make a difference in the crust. I simply sift my flour with a fine mesh strainer; no need for a separate sifter.

        Cindi Kruth

  9. molly says:

    Hi David

    I am willing to try your recipe but dont like to serve it with the base of the spring form, can I put heavy duty foil in the base to be able to remove both or the crust is to soft for that

    Thank you

    Molly

    • David Leite says:

      Hi Molly, the reason the pie is made in the spring-form pan, is it needs the extra support. So I’d suggest making it as written…you’ll be better off!

  10. cyndi says:

    Hi! Just a little trick… when you preheat your oven, preheat a foil lined cookie sheet and place your uncooked pie dish/springform pan into it during cooking for a baked golden finished bottom crust.

  11. Kia says:

    Good afternoon,

    I love to cook but i have yet to make my own pie crust (I guess due to fear lol).

    My question is am I able to use a store bought crust? I have one that i love. If so will I bake the frozen crust for 10-15 minutes before adding the apple filling or leave it frozen and add the apples filling and follow the rest of the recipe? I’m trying to avoid a soggy or uncooked bottom crust.

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Kia, I can understand your fear. It should be fine to use a refrigerated pie crust, just follow the rest of the instructions as to filling and cooking the pie. But, that being said, give the dough a try- I bet you’ll be surprised at how easy it is!

  12. Jasmine says:

    Hi! I make online recipes all the time, but this is the first time I’ve been compelled to review one. This pie was very surprising and absolutely delicious! Do NOT cut into it until it has cooled completely. It will ooze and wreck your bottom crust. I think the texture and taste was best after 24 hours in the fridge.

    I do have a question tho. I made it in a 10″ deep dish pie w/ my own crust b/c I had some frozen already. It almost blew up. lol! It went to the rim. I noticed that the texture of the custard was kind of grainy looking. Almost like it was curdled or something. Is that normal? From the picture it looks smooth but mine was definitely not. The edges were puffed while the middle was still sunken in so I let it bake for an additional 15 minutes. At this point, the whole pie was pretty well puffed up and it settled down nicely. Is this normal or should I have taken it out slightly jiggly in the middle?

    I’m planning on making this again for Thanksgiving, and just wanted to clarify things before I do.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Jasmine, it sounds like maybe your apple mixture was a bit too warm and curdled the eggs. I would try letting it cool a tad longer next time. Enjoy!

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