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French Apple Pie, the bottom layer takes it OVER the top!

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French Apple Pie

Fall or Autumn is the time when the new crop of the best, crispy, crunchy apples are available at market. I give you this recipe for French Apple Pie now as the season approaches, because it deserves the best apples you can find.

This French Apple Pie deserves the best apples.

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This apple pie is a new twist on an old favorite. I ate dinner at a restaurant some time back and chose French Apple Pie from their menu for dessert. Thinking it was just a name given to make it sound  special on the menu, I expected regular apple pie. Imagine my surprise when slicing off a bite, I discovered custard on the bottom. I thought, “oh this can’t be good…!” And I was right….it wasn’t good, it was absolutely delicious! The smooth velvety custard under a layer of spicy, hearty apple slices just took apple pie over the top. I decided then and there to create my own French Apple Pie. I did that and now I’m sharing the recipe with you below.

The pie I enjoyed so much had a brown and flaky pastry with a lattice top. I usually don’t make a lattice top, but I found that it’s easy if you know the method. If you like to use ready made crust, Pillsbury has a refrigerated one that works very well and can also be used for a lattice top, just by cutting it properly. The video on this page shows how to do the crust to make your pie as luscious looking as it is to eat. If you prefer to make your own crust, by all means do so. Good homemade pie crust is always delicious. If you like a full top crust, maybe with some cutout decorations, that will work just fine too.

French Apple Pie

Don’t be dismayed by the number of ingredients or the instructions. It’s really not all that difficult to do and it’s well worth the effort.


  • Bought or Homemade pastry for a two-crust pie
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds tart apples; Granny Smiths, Winesaps, Gravensteins, or any other tart apple you prefer.
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 extra Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 extra egg yolk

Tempering Eggs

The Instructions below call for tempered eggs. Now, if you’ve never tempered eggs before, here’s a video on how to do it and get silky custard instead of scrambled eggs. (Take it from me, I’ve experienced scrambled eggs when they were supposed to be silky and smooth!)




  1. Prepare pie crust and put bottom crust into pie pan.
  2. Combine ⅓ cup sugar and the flour in a small saucepan, mix well.
  3. Stir in milk and bring to a boil while stirring.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer while stirring, until mixture is slightly thickened.
  5. In a bowl, beat 3 egg yolks slightly.
  6. Temper egg yolks with 2 Tablespoons (one at a time) of the hot mixture into a separate small bowl, beating well after each.
  7. Pour tempered egg yolks into sauce pan and continue stirring until thickened.
  8. Add 1 Tablespoon butter and the Vanilla Extract.
  9. Turn into a bowl to cool.
  10. Core and peel the apples.
  11. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice to prevent browning.
  12. In a skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of butter with the 2 Tablespoons of sugar and the nutmeg and cinnamon.
  13. Add apples and saute, stirring occasionally.
  14. Cook apples until almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  15. Melt apricot preserves in small microwave safe bowl or in small saucepan on the range.
  16. Pour custard into prepared pie shell. Use rubber spatula and spread filling evenly.
  17. Arrange apple slices on top, mounding slightly in the center. Spread with apricot preserves.
  18. Roll out the rest of pastry. If you’re using it lattice style, proceed to cut 12 strips ½” wide with a pastry cutter or very sharp knife.
  19. Slightly moisten rim of pie shell with cold water and begin laying six pastry strips across the filling.
  20. Press ends of strips to the rim of pie shell, trim if necessary.
  21. Arrange rest of strips at right angle to the first strips to form lattice. This is the easiest method, rather than weaving. If you’d rather do the weaving method, see the video above for tips on doing it.
  22. Bring overhanging pastry dough up over ends of strips and crimp edge with fork or fingers.
  23. Mix remaining egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon water, brush on lattice with pastry brush. Don’t brush edges.
  24. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 8 servings, delicious warm or cold.

Lattice Crust

Here’s a video showing you two methods to lattice a pie crust top. Both look beautiful and it just depends on how you want your pie to look. If you prefer a solid crust top that works too.

I really love making pies, especially using a ceramic pie plate. I find ceramic pie plates distribute heat more evenly than metal or glass and provides a more flaky, crispy crust. Ceramic pie plates have long been a staple of many homes, but seem to be a little harder to find these days due to the proliferation of glass ones. Glass is fine if you have them, but if you’re looking for a ceramic pie plate, here are a couple I use and recommend.

Good Cook 9 Inch Ceramic Pie Plate, Red

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Rose’s Perfect Pie Plate, Rose


Nancy Hardin is a writer, author, journalist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and veteran of the United States Women’s Army Corps/Vietnam War era 1968-1972.