all-american, all-delicious apple pie

I’ve made all manner of banana cream pies for Dave, and yet he remains convinced that nothing beats Baker’s Square’s. I have my doubts, as I don’t believe he’s been to a Baker’s Square since I started baking for him. But I keep trying.

By contrast, he declared the first apple pie I made for him the best apple pie he’d ever had. Not that that keeps me from trying new recipes. Just last month (a few days before October’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes were announced and I realized I’d be making more apple pie soon), I made a rum raisin apple pie that sounded great, but didn’t have quite the perfection of my normal recipe.

Clearly this calls for a comparison, especially because Dorie calls for tapioca as a thickener instead of apple pie’s standard flour. My original plan was to make side-by-side versions of Dorie’s recipe and my old favorite, but, like many cooking endeavors when I’m rushed, this one went awry. I underfilled both mini-pies (although at least I underfilled them equally), forgot the breadcrumbs and butter in Dorie’s, didn’t adequately stir the zest into the filling… Because the recipes are very similar, with the same ratio of apples to sugar to spices to thickener, it really ended up being a comparison of tapioca versus flour.

I couldn’t tell a difference – not in taste, not in texture, not in soupiness. Dave really enjoyed them both as well. Now I just need to keep him from trying Baker’s Square’s apple pie. One impossible pie standard to live up to is quite enough, thank you.

Emily chose this recipe for TWD, and she has it posted. My other favorite apple pie recipe is by Cooks Illustrated. It’s very similar, with an equal amount of flour substituting for the tapioca in Dorie’s, no breadcrumbs or butter, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice instead of the larger amount of zest that Dorie recommends.  In all photos, Dorie’s recipe is to the left (with the crimped edge, not forked).

One year ago: Allspice Crumb Muffins
Two years ago: Chocolate Cupcakes


  1. Apple pie. I think I need to make this asap.

  2. i’ve never heard of baker’s square…i’ve gotta look that up. i’m glad to hear the results of your comparison, b/c i didn’t feel like buygin tapioca for this recipe and just used flour…i thought it worked just fine, but am happy to hear it was no different.

  3. what a fun comparison! i loved dorie’s version and was wondering if the tapioca made a difference…so glad that now i know!

  4. I need to make an apple pie for Thanksgiving so I appreciate this discussion. Since I don’t have tapioca in my pantry, it is reassuring to know that I can go with a standard flour thickener.

  5. Auntie Carol says:

    I may have good news – I don’t think Baker’s Square is around anymore! The one in Cuyahoga Falls/Akron GONE. Haven’t found one anywhere. So you now have the top banana cream! Besides – they may have good filling but their crust is terrible.

  6. I grew up thinking that Marie Callendars pies were tops (pie baking was definitely not a tradition in my Korean family). Years later I finally tasted a good homemade pie and I finally saw the light!

    Great comparison – I’ve been meaning to try the CI recipe, and your post has peaked my interest.

  7. looks awesome! could we get your original recipe as well?

  8. bridget says:

    jess – It’s described in the last paragraph. It’s very similar to Dorie’s.

  9. yum! Your pie looks so tasty. Great job!

  10. Another comparison 🙂

    I’ve always been intrigued by tapioca, glad to hear it doesn’t make a difference!

  11. Dianna says:

    Where did you find miniature glass pie plates? Those are darling! I’ve never seen glass ones in a small size…tin ones, yes, but I’d prefer glass.

  12. Dianna – They’re from my grandmother. I have no idea where she got them, but I’m guessing it was a long time ago. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.