Ready to kick your apple pie up a notch this year? Why not add a boozy twist?! This Drunken Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze plays off the natural oak, vanilla and caramel flavors of bourbon to add depth to your favorite classic.
The smell of apple pie is standard around Thanksgiving time, but the comfort of that sweet, caramel and cinnamon flavor-filled fragrance is welcomed any time of year at my house.
I will be the first to admit to you that pie is not easy. SO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG. The tastiest, flakiest, most crumbly of delicious crusts are super finicky to work with.
If the filling is overcooked or burnt at all you can get a really bitter taste. And as if that’s not enough pressure, the slightest imperfection in timing and cook temperature can land you a dreaded soggy bottom.
I’m a home cook, and while I LOVE cooking and have plenty of practice in the kitchen, I struggle with a classic pie EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
But what I can promise you is this—following this recipe will result in an absolutely delicious, while maybe somewhat rustic, (embrace it!) delightful dessert.
Drunken Apple Pie Ingredients
- Unsalted butter. It should be frozen, so that it doesn’t break down too much in the blender.
- All-purpose flour. It acts as the base of your pie crust dough.
- Brown sugar. For subtle sweetness and caramel tones.
- Salt. For flavor.
- Cold water. Make sure it is cold, so it does not melt the butter.
- Egg white and granulated sugar. To brush on top to get a perfect crispy, caramelized exterior.
Drunken Apple Pie Filling
Here’s everything you need:
- Unsalted butter. Salted will work in a pinch, just omit the extra added salt.
- Apples. It’s best to use half sweet, half tart.
- Lemon juice. This will keep your apples from browning as you slice them.
- Brown & Granulated sugar. The perfect combination for optimal flavor.
- Cinnamon. What’s an apple pie without it?
- Vanilla extract. For flavor.
- Salt. To ramp up all the natural flavors in this drunken apple pie filling.
- Bourbon. Use your favorite! I used Maker’s Mark.
Bourbon Glaze (Optional)
- Bourbon. Use your favorite!
- Powdered sugar. You will need anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup to get the right consistency.
Choosing The Right Apples
Always, always, always use half sweet, half tart. This combo is undeniably the best. This recipe calls for six apples, so for me, that always means 3 granny smith and 3 of whatever red or pink apple is on sale.
In my opinion, granny smith is the perfect tart apple for baking, but you could also use Braeburn, Pink Lady, or McIntosh for your tart apples.
Sweet apples range from Fuji, Gala, and Honeycrisp, to Ambrosia, Golden Delicious, and Red Delicious. I’ve had success with a number of different combinations, but my all-time favorite is Granny Smith and Gala.
Drunken Apple Pie Tips and Tricks
Start With Your Dough
This apple pie uses a basic flaky, all-butter pie crust you can make in the blender. Start by adding the unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, and salt to a food processor or high-powered blender.
Turn the blender on high. With the blender on, add your water and blend until the dough just starts to form. The idea is that some chunks of butter will remain, so try not to over-blend!
Form Your Bottom Crust
Transfer the dough to a large bowl or clean, floured surface and use clean hands to work the dough until no flour is left behind. Then, divide your dough into two equal parts.
Wrap one half of the dough in saran wrap or beeswax wrap and place it in the refrigerator for two hours to cool.
The other half can be directly pressed into your pie dish. Try to get it in an even layer, using your thumb and pointer finger to pinch the dough up the sides. Then, place it in the fridge with the other half to cool.
Get Going on Your Apple Pie Filling
While your dough is cooling in the refrigerator, you can get going on your apple pie filling and bourbon glaze.
Start by coring your apples and slicing them into 8-10 equal parts. We are looking for thin slices, about 1/2-inch thick.
Add your apple slices to a large mixing bowl. As you are cutting, squeeze small amounts of lemon juice on the apple slices to keep them from turning brown.
Cook Your Filling Down
Then, turn your apple slices into a large saucepan or shallow pot with the butter, sugars, cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt, and bourbon. Keep your heat on medium and cover for about 5 minutes, until the juices from the apple start to release and the ingredients start to simmer together.
Then, remove the lid, and simmer until the filling mixture thickens, about 20 minutes. Then, transfer the Drunken Apple Pie filling to a large bowl, and allow it to cool at room temperature, until your dough is done chilling.
Make Your Glaze (Optional)
In a separate small mixing bowl, combine your bourbon and powdered sugar to form your bourbon glaze.
Start by adding the bourbon and about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Whisk and assess the consistency. Continue adding powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisking in between until desired consistency is achieved.
You should not need more than 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. We are looking for a thick and sticky, but still pourable consistency (think Elmer’s glue).
Once your glaze comes together, you can add it to a piping bag if you wish, or just let it rest in the bowl if you prefer to drizzle it onto your pie with a spoon.
Assemble Your Pie
Once your dough has chilled and your apple pie filling has cooled, you’re ready to start assembling your pie! Remove both halves of the pie dough from the refrigerator and clean and flour a flat surface to work on.
Pour the cooled apple pie filling directly into your pie dish on top of the crust and use a spatula to spread it out evenly throughout the dish.
Form Your Top Crust
Unwrap your ball of dough and add it to a clean, generously floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to flatten your dough, working it in all directions until it is roughly 9-inches in diameter.
It does not by any means need to be a perfectly circular, but you want to make sure you have enough surface area to cover your whole pie dish.
You have two options for your top crust. You can make a classic lattice or keep your dough whole and make an air pocket.
If you’re making a classic lattice, cut your top crust into long thin strips, about 1/2-inch wide. You will use those strips to weave over and under, forming a lattice on top of your pie.
For a more traditional pie crust, keep your top crust whole, and use a sharp knife to slice an “X” shape in the center of the dough.
For detailed instructions on how to form your top crust, check out my in-depth instructions for All-Butter Blender Pie Crust.
Prepare Your Pie for the Oven
Whether you chose a classic air pocket or lattice top crust, brush your egg white on top and sprinkle it with granulated sugar.
The sugar will caramelize on top of the pie crust giving it a beautiful, crispy, golden-brown finish.
Bake at Two Temperatures
The best way to avoid a soggy bottom crust without overbaking the filling is to actually bake your pie at two different temperatures.
You’ll start out at 425°F for 20 minutes, then bring your oven temperature down to 375°F for the remaining 40 minutes.
Green tip: Get to know your oven! Get an idea of how long it takes your oven to preheat. By not pre-heating the oven too early, you can save energy.
Storing Your Drunken Apple Pie
This Bourbon Apple Pie will stay fresh covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can also freeze individual slices for up to 6 months. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight when you are ready to eat it.
I like to enjoy my pie warm, so I usually microwave individual slices on high for about 30 seconds to take the chill off.
Why You Should Make this Drunken Apple Pie
- The flaky crust. Crumbly, buttery pie crust makes this Drunken Apple Pie irresistible.
- It’s classic. Even though this pie has a fun twist, it still boasts those classic apple cinnamon flavors that feel like home.
- It’s boozy. The addition of bourbon to this pie enhances the already delicious flavors and adds an extra element of indulgence.
Okay, you’re ready! You have all the ingredients, tools, and info you need. A pinch of discipline and heaps of patience and this pie is YOURS. And remember, tasting the ingredients along the way is the best part.
So, if you have to make yourself a Fresh and Minty Bourbon Smash, or Reinvented Classic: New Fashioned to sip on while meticulously weaving latticed pie crust, all you’re doing is sampling a key ingredient.
I mean, it is called a Drunken Apple Pie for a reason 😉
Mouth-Watering Drunken Apple Pie with Bourbon DrizzlePRINT PIN RATE
All-Butter Pie Crust (Standalone Recipe Post)
- 1 cup frozen unsalted butter (1 cup = 2 sticks)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Drunken Apple Pie Filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 large apples (half sweet, half tart)
- 1 squeeze of lemon juice
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons Bourbon
- 1 tablespoon Bourbon
- ½ cup powdered sugar (you may not need all ½ cup)
- Next, with blender still on, add cold water and blend for about 10-15 more seconds. It's okay if there is still some loose flour.
- Transfer contents of blender to a large mixing bowl or clean surface and use clean hands to work the dough until no extra flour is left behind. You should still have chunks of butter in your dough!
- Split the dough roughly in half. Roll one half into a ball, wrap it in a clean kitchen towel, saran wrap, or beeswax, and place it in the refrigerator.
- Use your hands to press the other half into your pie dish, using your index finger and thumbs to pinch the crust up against the sides of the dish. Put your pie dish in the refrigerator, and let both halves rest in the refrigerator for two hours.
Drunken Apple Pie Filling
- While your dough is resting, make your filling. Cut and core your apples. I like to leave the apple skin on to retain some color. As you are cutting, squeeze small amounts of lemon juice on the apple slices to keep them from turning brown.
- Add the sliced apple to a shallow pot or large saucepan with the butter, both sugars, cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract, and bourbon. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until juices from the apples start to release.
- Remove cover and stir until apple is evenly coated in sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and bourbon. Cook until most of the liquid is evaporated (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
Assembling Drunken Apple Pie
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Remove the ball of dough from the refrigerator. Flour your surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is roughly 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips to make lattice (detailed instructions on how to make lattice crust here) or cut out an "X" shape in the center, to allow steam to escape the top while baking.
- Add cooled filling to the pie dish, and add top crust. Brush the top crust with egg whites and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425°F, then lower oven to 375°F and bake for another 40 minutes. Your filling should be bubbling and very aromatic.
- Allow your pie to cool before adding the Bourbon Drizzle.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a hand or stand mixer to whip 1 tablespoon bourbon and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until combined. Test consistency and add more powdered sugar if needed. It should be loose enough to drip off your spoon, but thicker than liquid (think glue!).
- Always use 3 tart apples and 3 sweet apples for the filling!
- Always flour your rolling pin.
- Allow your filling to cool completely before adding the lattice top.
- Love a good pie? You gotta check out this list of my best pie recipes!