Pennsylvania Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie

The Pie Academy’s Tailgate Pie of the Week: Week 6

Purists will tell you there’s little you can do to improve on the flavor of an unadorned apple pie made with nothing more than fresh apples, a sprinkle of sugar, and a dash of thickener.

Excuse me, but that’s just a bunch of trash talk by those who have never tried this version with apples baked in a tangy-sweet velvety custard and topped with a crunchy pecan topping. It’ll put most “pure” apple pies to shame.

The secret in the sauce, so to speak, is a sweet-tart sour cream custard that envelopes the apples and bakes into all the nooks and crannies, surrounding them with a velvety creaminess that elicits appreciative moans and eliminates the need for the typical adornments such as ice cream or whipped cream.

You know crumb toppings are big here at The Pie Academy and perhaps you think you’ve seen them all. But this one is different, extra-crunchy/sandy and made with melted butter – not cold. The addition of fresh, chopped pecans sure doesn’t hurt.

If you do bring this one to your tailgate party, even though much of the nation has experienced dropping temps this week, be sure to keep it in a coolish spot until serving time. Like anything with a custard in it, a little extra caution is always a good idea.

The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course

Enjoy! I know you will. And now, a word about a special deal I’m offering for one week only. I’m calling it my…

No Malarkey “Apple Pie” Book Sale

If you saw the Vice Presidential debate last night, you heard Joe Biden toss off the word malarkey – slang for nonsense…foolish talk…less than truthful.

Long story short, it brought back fond memories of my dad, who told me – whenever I needed to hear it – that I was full of malarkey.

Dad also happened to be my first apple pie mentor and the inspiration for my best selling book, Apple Pie. So in his honor, I’m holding a special, 1-week only sale on the book for The Pie Academy subscribers, knocking a buck off the already discounted price and five bucks off the regular shipping fee you’d pay for book orders in my store.

Here’s what you need to do.

Don’t order the book through my store. Instead…

…send me an email, using the Contact tab above. Put “No Malarkey Book Sale” at the top of the message field. If nothing else, it’ll make me chuckle.

Tell me who you are and give me any special instructions for signing/inscribing the book.

I’ll invoice you through PayPal, billing you $12.00 for the book (that’s $3.00 off the retail price) and $6.00 for shipping. One book per order. When payment is received, I’ll ship the book.

You have until next weekend – until October 21 – to take advantage of this special deal. I hope you do. Apple pie season is in full swing and you need these recipes now!

Have a great week.


PASTRY NOTE: Use your favorite pastry recipe to make the shell for this pie. I highly recommend the GOOD BASIC PIE DOUGH. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Sour Cream Apple Pie


  • GOOD BASIC PIE DOUGH, refrigerated
  • 5 1/2 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced baking apples (Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Golden Delicious are all good)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider or water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup regular sour cream
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the pastry into a 13" circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2" deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper. Tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding rim. Place in the freezer until needed. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Put the apples in a large nonstick skillet and add the 2 tablespoons cider or water. Turn the heat to medium-high, cover, and cook the apples for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. You want them to steam and soften slightly, but not get all limp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl. Put the skillet back on the heat and reduce any liquid in the pan down to about 2 tablespoons. Stir into the apples. Cool.
  3. Using a separate large bowl, combine all of the sugar, the flour, and salt. Whisk to mix. Add the egg and yolk, sour cream, half-and-half or milk, and vanilla. Whisk well, to combine. Stir in the apples.
  4. Carefully pour the apples and custard into your chilled pie shell. Take a moment to distribute the apples evenly in the shell.
  5. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° and bake another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, start making the topping.
  6. Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter. Stir it in, first with a large fork, then switch to your hands and rub everything together well with your fingers. Refrigerate until needed.
  7. After the pie has baked for 30 minutes - 15 minutes at 400° and 15 minutes at 350° - remove it from the oven, place it on a heatproof surface, and spread all of the topping evenly over the pie. It will seem like a lot, and that's fine. Put the pie back in the oven and bake another 20 to 22 minutes, just until the top turns golden - a shade or two darker than it was.
  8. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool. Refrigerate while it is still slightly warm. I like this best served cold, but room temperature is fine also. Some may even prefer to serve it warm. Your choice. Makes 8 to 10 servings.