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How to make the best, simple, rustic, homemade apple pie

Every February, our small church honors their Norwegian roots and hosts a traditional Lutefisk Supper and each family is required to make two pies.

I panic.

I don’t make pie.

I call my girl Ree. (Translation: I google, “Pioneer Woman pie” and pull out all three of her cook books that I own and with sweaty, nervous, non-pie-making hands, I search the index pages for pies.)

For the past two or three years, I’ve limped by with the frozen Oreo pie box kits from the grocery store. I feel badly doing this, since the supporters of the meal are actually coming for regular pie. I do love an easy Oreo pie, but…it’s a bit of a female crutch to NOT be able to make pie.

So, we made the leap and made our first apple pie. I say we, because John helped. Knowing that I couldn’t focus during the day with Joslyn at my side or finish this daunting domestic task during nap time, this became a post-bedtime project. John used my fancy apple pealer and I made the crusts and topping.

We rarely cook together, so this was fun. As in, alert the press, we made our pies together. That’s such a winter time thing. This would never happen for us in the summer. It was fun! Actually, it wasn’t fun. My third-trimester legs were aching! But, we made it through and the result was worth the pain.

I have trouble over-baking. Especially, when I’m nervous. So we wound up with four pies instead of two.


I wanted to have three so we could test one to make sure it was edible before delivering the other two to church. The fourth we froze to save for later.

In all, I learned three things:

  • Ree’s recipe rocks! Try it!
  • Pie making is not hard. Crust making is not hard. Making the top crust pretty: is hard. So, we cheated and did a crumble top crust like in this recipe. So, I call it a rustic pie. Not a fancy pie. No stress. This was do-able. You can do it! We did it!
  • Freezing didn’t work so well. The first pie we ate was amazing, flaky and crispy. The pie we froze, baked and ate later, not so good. The apples were runny and the crust got soggy. So, I don’t recommend that portion of the recipe. Everything else is spot on!

Happy rustic pie making!


  1. Laurel Wilson

    Hi Sierra,

    I remember my first pie crust. It was for a meal management class my Sophomore year at Montana State. The fork I used to poke holes in the crust to be filled later stuck straight up without support in the unbaked crust. Needless to say, the crust could not be eaten after baking. The crusts I used my Mom’s pastry method crust recipe to make came out MUCH better. I still like making pies with Mom’s method.


    • Sierra Shea

      Oh boy! That’s a good one! I’m glad you got the knack of it later on!

  2. Jayci

    You might try mixing up the filling and crust and freezing them separately. Honest I haven’t done it but we freeze sliced apples that you can just toss sugar and cinnamon into to whip something up. 🙂 Miss you!

    • Sierra Shea

      That’s a great idea. I could see how that would work, because when you thawed the apples if they were too juicy/watery you could squeeze or drain some of the water off before combining them. Miss you too!


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!