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With all that delicious fruit an apple pie should be healthy, but the truth is a slice can have as much as 750 calories. For the most part, the culprit is the crust. We use whole-wheat pastry flour to add fiber and lower the saturated fat by replacing some of the butter with canola oil. The brown sugar-sweetened filling in this pie is made with two kinds of apples for the perfect balance. A slice has half the calories of a typical version—sweet!

Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2007


Credit: Ken Burris

Recipe Summary

4 hrs

Nutrition Profile:


Here are a few tricks to get a healthier pie without sacrificing flavor:

1. Keep the saturated fat in the crust to a minimum. 

Butter doesn't have to be totally off limits, just use less of it. In this recipe, reduced-fat sour cream replaces some of the butter, which keeps the dough moist and tender, without adding tons of saturated fat. And we follow the basic rules of great pastry: always use chilled butter and ice-cold water, use a light hand when working with the dough and let the dough chill before rolling it out.

hands working butter into a bowl of flour
Credit: Ken Burris

2. Add some fiber by using a mixture of whole-wheat flour and all-purpose flour in the crust. 

There's a fine balance between making your pie crust healthy and making your pie crust taste like cardboard. The results can be less than appetizing if you use all whole-wheat flour, but in this recipe, we use a mix of traditional all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flour. The pastry flour adds fiber, but keeps the texture tender, and by blending it with all-purpose you get a less wheaty taste.

3. Choose apples for flavor and texture. 

And use plenty of them! Apple pie should taste good, but not feel like mush in your mouth. We like to use a mix of McIntosh and Granny Smith in this apple pie recipe. The McIntosh add a nice tangy flavor while the Granny Smith apples also taste good, but break down less when they cook, giving the filling a more toothsome texture. And since this is apple pie, use plenty of fruit. We made this version deep-dish so there's extra room for the filling (and more apples means an added bump of soluble fiber).

cooking down apples in a pot
Credit: Ken Burris

4. Keep your sugar in check. 

Apple pie is about apples. Why drown them in sugar? Cook down a portion of the apples for the filling before adding them to the crust. Why? Well, so the crust doesn't collapse and crack as much while it's baking (the filling won't shrink as much if some of it is already precooked) and it concentrates the natural flavors and sugar of the apples, so you don't have to add as much sugar to your filling.

side shot of an apple pie with a slice taken out
Credit: Ken Burris




Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat flour, 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and, with your fingers, quickly rub them into the dry ingredients until the pieces are smaller but still visible. Add sour cream and oil; toss with a fork to combine with the dry ingredients. Sprinkle water over the mixture. Toss with a fork until evenly moist. Knead the dough with your hands in the bowl a few times--the mixture will still be a little crumbly. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead a few more times, until the dough just holds together. Divide the dough in half and shape into 5-inch-wide disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, make filling: Combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and pinch of salt in a large bowl. Reserving 4 cups, transfer the rest of the apple mixture to a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the apples are tender and beginning to break down, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the reserved apples and 2 tablespoons flour; let cool for about 30 minutes.

  • To assemble & bake pie: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator; let stand for 5 minutes to warm slightly. Roll one portion between sheets of parchment or wax paper into a 13-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet and invert the dough into a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan. Peel off the remaining paper. Scrape the filling into the crust. Roll the remaining portion of dough between sheets of parchment or wax paper into another 13-inch circle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and invert the dough onto the fruit. Peel off the remaining paper. Trim the crust so it overhangs evenly. Tuck the top crust under the bottom crust, sealing the two together and making a plump edge. Flute the edge with your fingers. Combine 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the crust with egg white and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Cut 6 steam vents in the top crust.

  • Bake the pie on the bottom rack for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for about 1 1/2 hours before serving.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the crust (Step 1), wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Equipment: 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan

Ingredient Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice
345 calories; protein 4.3g; carbohydrates 61.8g; dietary fiber 4.7g; sugars 33.3g; fat 10.1g; saturated fat 3.7g; cholesterol 14.6mg; vitamin a iu 199.8IU; vitamin c 7.8mg; folate 51.4mcg; calcium 34.2mg; iron 1.2mg; magnesium 12.7mg; potassium 213.4mg; sodium 146.5mg; thiamin 0.2mg; added sugar 17g.

2 starch, 2 fruit, 2 fat