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I Tried 4 Famous Apple Pie Recipes To Find The Very Best One

Not all pie recipes are created equal.

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Hello world! My name is Jesse and I take pie ~very~ seriously.

So, in an effort to make sure your pie comes out perfect this year, I decided to test four popular recipes to find the best one:

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This was my lineup:

1. Michelle Obama: Because I would literally trust Michelle with my life, so I had complete and total faith that her pie recipe would be banging β€” and her low and slow baking method piqued my interest.

2. Martha Stewart: Because Martha is the queen of classic recipes, and her traditional pie recipe seemed like everything I ever wanted out of a pie. It looked classic, simple, and unfussy β€” but she of course had a trick up her sleeve to make it special. (Hint: It involves butter.)

3. Michael Symon: Because he makes his crust with sharp cheddar cheese β€” which I know is a thing, but I just can't wrap my head around it. I needed to try it out for myself.

4. Gordon Ramsay: Because he actually caramelizes his apples in a pan before putting them into his pie, and I was curious to see just how different they would taste.

Here are their methods and how they stacked up:

First up was my first lady, Michelle Obama. She starts by mixing sliced Granny Smith apples with brown sugar, spices, and a bit of flour.

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Pop that mixture in the fridge and let it hang out overnight. This allows the spices to go "all the way through the apples."

The next day, butter and flour a baking dish, layer the bottom with store-bought pie crust, and dump your apple mixture on top.

Gwenaelle LeCochennec/BuzzFeed

Top the filling with a few pats of butter, cover with another layer of pie crust, and pinch the sides shut.

Brush the top with melted butter, then bake at 300Β° F for THREE HOURS. So, is a low-and-slow bake the key to making perfect pie?

Gwenaelle LeCochennec/BuzzFeed

Maybeeeee. The pie really did taste great. It had a deep, caramelized flavor that tasted like it was legit made with caramel sauce. The filling was dark, rich, and complex. The only downside was the crust. It was flimsy, not flaky, and the flavor was disappointing. If this pie were made with a homemade crust, it could have been a banger.

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎

Get Michelle Obama's recipe.

Up next was the queen of Thanksgiving herself, Martha Stewart. Her recipe is super traditional with a ~ special twist. ~

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She starts by cooking butter until brown and nutty (!) and tosses it with apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour, and fresh vanilla bean. The browned butter adds a "rich nuttiness" to the filling and makes sure this classic pie isn't boring.

Roll out a disc of her double pie crust recipe (which is a fairly traditional recipe), and place it in a pie pan.

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Fill with the prepared apple mixture, then top with another layer of pie dough. Crimp the edges shut, cut steam vents, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake. So, is traditional best?

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In this case, no. The pie was super bland and was missing flavor. There was no spices β€” not even cinnamon! The vanilla bean added a nice hint of flavor, but it wasn't enough. The flavor of the brown butter got lost, and I don't think it was worth the effort. This was a bit of a disappointment, TBH.

Rating: 🍎🍎

Get Martha Stewart's recipe.

Then came Michael Symon's recipe. He puts flour, sugar, salt, cheddar cheese, and butter in a food processor to make his crust.

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Pop the cheesy crust in the fridge and let it firm up.

To make the filling, toss sliced Granny Smith apples with brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cream, and spices.

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Line a pie pan with half of the prepared dough, fill with the apple mixture, and top with another layer of dough.

Crimp the edges shut and cut an X on top. Egg wash the top, sprinkle with turbinado sugar, and pop it in the oven. So, is cheese + apples legit?

Gwenaelle LeCochennec/BuzzFeed

It wasn't bad! I'll admit that the scent made me nervous. It smelled hella cheesy as it was baking, but the flavor wasn't overpowering. You couldn't really taste the cheese, but it gave the crust a savory flavor that balanced the filling nicely. I didn't love this pie, but I appreciated the uniqueness.

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎

Get Michael Symon's recipe.

And last but not least came Gordon Ramsay. He starts by cooking peeled and sliced apples with spices, sugar, and butter in a pan until caramelized.

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The edges of the apples will start to brown, but this is OK.

Then roll out one recipe of Gordon's short pastry (which is just butter, sugar, egg, and flour) and line a tin with it.

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Fill with the cooked apple mixture and cover with another layer of pastry.

Cut a slit on top, sprinkle with sugar, and bake. So, was caramelizing those apples actually worth the effort?

Gwenaelle LeCochennec/BuzzFeed

You know what, I think so. The apple filling was delicious, but the star of this pie was actually the crust! Sure, it isn't as pretty (or easy to work with, TBH) as the other recipes, but it tasted amazing. It's crispy, not at all soggy, and tastes like a sugar cookie. That combined with the filling made this pie a true star.

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎🍎

Get Gordon Ramsay's recipe.


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THE WINNER: Gordon Ramsay

This pie was truly delicious. The crust was crisp, tender, and unique, and caramelizing the apples before adding them to the pie gave them a ton of flavor that took this pie to the next level. Get the recipe.

SECOND PLACE: Michelle Obama

This pie was rich, complex, and delicious. The filling cooked for such a long time that it basically turned into caramel and tasted amazing. If you have three hours to spare, I definitely recommend this pie. Get the recipe.

THIRD PLACE: Michael Symon

Listen, I appreciate the addition of cheddar cheese in this pie, but it just didn't add that much flavor. The pie was fine, but not great. Maybe if the filling were better it would do the crust justice β€” but overall it was pretty ~bleh~. Get the recipe.

LAST: Martha Stewart

This pie was bland, boring, and sad. It seriously lacked flavor and would have benefited from some spices. It may have looked traditional, but it definitely didn't taste traditional. Sad! Get the recipe.

TL;DR: If you're looking for a great apple pie, go with Gordon Ramsay's recipe β€” you'll fall in love with his pie crust. But if you're looking for something different, Michelle Obama's three-hour pie is caramelized, flavorful, and delicious.

Watch the full showdown:

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What ultimate recipes should we test next? Let us know in the comments below!

And if you're looking for more Thanksgiving recipes, tips, and tricks, check out our Tasty-est Thanksgiving to help make this Thanksgiving the best one yet.

Ellie Sunakawa / Taylor Miller