Hot buttered rum apple pie from Tom Douglas–made from apples, spice, and a splash of rum–is perhaps the best apple pie we’ve ever experienced. It’s a combo of your favorite warm cocktail and your favorite pie.
How To Make The Perfect Apple Pie
Chef Tom Douglas, whom some of us here at Leite’s have swooned to for more than a decade, magnanimously shares tips and tricks to ensure that the apple pie you pull from your oven is every iota as magnificent as what you’ll find in his bakery in Seattle. Here’s what he has to say:
A bit of pectin sets the apple pie juices perfectly, but if you don’t have pectin you can add a little more cornstarch instead.
After sautéing the apples, allow time for the apples to cool before filling and baking the pie. This is a good time to roll out your dough.
After assembling the pie, it takes about 2 hours to bake, which is a long time, but the slow baking ensures a deliciously crumbly, flaky crust, and a soft custardy filling.
Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 4 H, 25 M
- Serves 8
Peel and core the apples and slice them 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. You should have about 8 cups apple slices.
Place 2 large (at least 10-inch) sauté pans over medium-high heat and divide 1/3 cup granulated sugar evenly between them. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it melts and then caramelizes and turns amber in color, tilting the pans a little to swirl and distribute the color, adjusting the heat as needed. (As soon as the sugar melts, it will quickly start caramelizing, so be ready with the apples as soon as the color of the sugar turns amber.)
Add the apples, dividing them between the 2 pans, and sauté until they are about half-cooked and the juices that are released boil away and reduce until no liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss and stir the apples regularly while they are cooking so they cook evenly on both sides. When the apples are done, they should have some give yet not collapse when you press one between your fingers. Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool completely to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C).
When the apples are cool, add the brown sugar, rum, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pectin or extra cornstarch, spices, and salt and toss to combine.
Dump the apple filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Place the remaining pastry circle on top, roll the crust overhang up and over, and seal. Press or crimp the edge, then use a paring knife to cut a few vents in the top crust. Brush the top of the pie crust with the cream and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 30 minutes. Tent the pie with foil and continue to bake for 1 hour more. Remove the foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the pie is evenly golden brown. (The total baking time should be about 2 hours.)
Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before slicing. The pie will still be warm after an hour. Or if you can wait, you can cool it to room temperature and then slice and serve it. Originally published September 20, 2013.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is hands-down the best apple pie I have ever eaten. The crust is phenomenal—a bit crunchy, just the right amount of sweetness, and perfectly flaky all at the same time. The filling is also delectable—if you don’t like your pie overly sweet, this is a delicious choice for you.
The only suggestion from the diners around the table was the pie could use perhaps 1 to 2 more cups of apples for the filling.
This was a very elevated adult apple pie. This is not your grandmother's apple pie for sure! I used Pink Lady apples, about 3.75 lbs. This yielded about 8 1/2 cups. When cooking the apples I felt that I needed to reduce the heat to more of a medium vs. the high heat as the sugar was almost burning in spots and not melting in others. With the medium heat in my ceramic coated pan I felt that it worked better for a more even heating.
My apples were more tart and I ended up putting in 2 extra tablespoons of sugar when making the caramel which coated the apples beautifully and then I didn't need to add any extra later in the recipe. It took about 9 minutes on medium heat to cook the apples properly. After they cooled I felt that I didn't need to add any additional sugar. When topping the pie with sugar before baking I only needed 1 tablespoon in total. I used turbinado sugar and it gave great texture and crunch.
My oven runs a little hot so I only needed to really bake this for 1 hour and 20 minutes total. Any longer and it would have over baked. The apple texture was great. Firm but soft, if that can be a thing, and not mushy at all. They really held their shape nicely. I was able to get 8 servings out of the pie. Also each slice really held together nicely once the pie cooled. It had a lovely hot buttered rum taste to it while it was warm from the oven and I felt like the taste dissipated slightly as it cooled. This is a beautiful and elevated apple pie, one I will be making again in the future!