Three pies on a wooden table

The Great ICE LA Pie-Off

Two ICE LA chefs pit their apple pie recipes head-to-head. Who will be the apple of their eye?

We take pie seriously at the Institute of Culinary Education.

To celebrate the holiday season, two of ICE LA's Chef-Instructors put their apple pie recipes to the test.

The pies came from Assistant Dean of Students, Chef Bridget Vickers, and Pastry & Baking Arts Chef-Instructor Marina Cope. Chef Bridget adapted her Nana's traditional Scottish apple pie recipe (including the lard she used in the crust) to create a festive holiday fruit pie filled with apples, pears, cranberries, spices and a little bit of brandy. Chef Marina made a salted caramel apple pie topped with a sweet cinnamon-oat crumble.

The competition aspect of the pie-off is extra difficult, considering the fact that both pies are delicious. Chef Bridget's pie recipe yielded a gooey, moist filling contained in a buttery double crust, while Chef Marina's pie was full of caramel-coated apples that held together for each perfect slice.

In the end, both recipes are top-notch and deserve a place on your holiday table. Here's how to make them at home.


Chef Bridget Vickers' Autumn Pie and Chef Marina Cope's Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Cinnamon Crumble

Yields one pie per recipe


Chef Bridget's Nana's Autumn Mixed Fruit Pie

For the double pie crust:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold lard   
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1" cubes
  • 6-8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 4-6 green Pippin apples (to make 4 cups)
  • 5-6 ripe Anjou pears, to make 3 cups
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries  
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider  
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar  
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch  
  • 1 orange worth of grated fresh orange zest  
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice  
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Chef Marina's Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Cinnamon Crumble

For the Sour Cream Pie Dough:

  • 255 grams all-purpose flour
  • 3 grams salt
  • 110 grams butter
  • 170 grams sour cream

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Splash of milk

For the Salted Caramel:

  • 28 grams glucose
  • 290 grams sugar
  • 240 grams heavy cream
  • 5 grams salt
  • 25 grams butter

For the Salted Caramel Apple Compote:

  • 115 grams sugar
  • 45 grams butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 4 to 5 apples, peeled, cored and diced

For the Cinnamon Oat Crumble:

  • 100 grams all-purpose flour
  • 75 grams butter
  • 15 grams sugar
  • 50 grams rolled oats


Chef Bridget's Nana's Autumn Mixed Fruit Pie

For the crust:

  1. Place first three crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse; then add butter and pulse 3 times. Add the lard and pulse until mixer has pea-size pieces of butter and lard.
  2. Add 6 tablespoons to mixture and pulse until dough starts to come together but still crumbly. If needed, add your additional water one tablespoon at a time until dough is soft and dampish.
  3. Remove from processor and fold dough over onto itself 3-4 times. Divide into two and flatten into two disks (making one larger than the other), wrap with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Place apples and pears in a large bowl with cranberries.
  2. Place cider into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to 1/3 cup. Pour over fruit mixture, along with the granulated sugar, and toss. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. 
  4. In a small mixing bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and cornstarch. (This allows for the cornstarch to evenly distribute through the fruit mixture). Add orange zest and juice to the mixture, then add and combine with the fruit mixture.

Assemble the Pie:

  1. Once rested, roll out into a circle, the first disk 3" larger than the pie dish. Roll up dough onto a rolling pin. While holding both sides of the rolling pin, unroll the crust into pie dish.
  2. Gently lift dough pressing into bottom and sides, and cut off excess to the rim.
  3. Fill pie crust with filling.
  4. Roll out the top crust into a circle 1" larger than the pie dish. Roll onto a rolling pin and unroll on top. Cut the excess with scissors leaving 1/2" from the edge, and brush egg wash around the rim of the bottom crust, then fold edges under the bottom. Flute edges using both forefingers and thumbs, alternating around the edge. 
  5. Gather trimmings and cut leaf decorations to place on top.
  6. Brush finished crust with a strained egg wash mixed with a little water or milk wash and sprinkle with raw sugar, and cut vent holes. Chill for 15 minutes.
  7. Place on a sheet pan onto the center rack for 45 minutes at 425°F, then remove from pan and place directly onto the center rack. Reduce heat to 375°F and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly. If crust starts to darken too much, cover with aluminum foil.
  8. Allow to cool 1 hour before serving.

Chef Marina's Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Cinnamon Crumble

    For the Pie Dough:

    1. In a bowl, combine all-purpose flour and salt.
    2. Cut 110 grams of cold butter into small cubes and add them to the flour mixture.
    3. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.
    4. Gently fold in sour cream until the dough begins to come together.
    5. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it a few times until it forms a cohesive ball. Divide the dough in half, shape each portion into a disc, and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out for your pie crust.
    6. Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface.
    7. Mix all of the ingredients together for the egg wash.

    For the Caramel:

    1. In a saucepan, combine glucose and sugar and heat it over medium heat until it melts and turns amber in color.
    2. Gently warm heavy cream in a separate saucepan.
    3. Carefully stir in heavy cream, taking caution as it may bubble.
    4. Add a pinch of salt to enhance the caramel flavor, adjusting to taste.
    5. Once the mixture is smooth, remove the saucepan from heat.
    6. Stir in butter until fully melted and incorporated.
    7. Let the salted caramel sauce cool slightly before using or transferring it to a jar for storage. (You can use this delicious salted caramel over desserts or use it as a dip.)

    For the Compote:

    1. In a saucepan, melt 45 grams of butter over medium heat.
    2. Add 115 grams of sugar, stirring until it dissolves and turns into a golden caramel.
    3. Carefully toss in 4 diced apples, ensuring they're coated in the caramel.
    4. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into the mixture to balance the sweetness.
    5. Sprinkle a pinch of salt for that delightful salted caramel flavor.
    6. Cook the apples until they soften and the caramel thickens, usually around 8-10 minutes. Allow it to cool slightly before using.

    For the Crumble:

    1. Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of cold, cubed butter, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of oats in a bowl.
    2. Use fingers or a pastry cutter to blend until crumbly.
    3. Sprinkle the crumble generously over your pie filling.
    4. Bake as directed below.

    For Assembly and Baking:

    1. Fill the prepared pie crust with the apple compote and cover generously with the crumble topping.
    2. Bake in 350˚F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Keep checking on the pie at 30 minutes and remove from the oven once the topping is golden brown.
    3. After removing from the oven, let the pie rest for at least an hour before cutting.
    4. Serve with extra caramel sauce drizzled on top if desired. Enjoy!

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