And in even more words, I made a freaking pie!

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

So here’s the deal.

I have now come to believe that in order to make a pie, you have to own it. You have to own the fact that you are going to make the darn pie. There can be no “oh, I’m going to try to make a pie” or “I’m going to make a pie and I hope that it works out.”

No. You have to think “I am going to make this pie or else.” Wait. No. Not even or else. Just – I am going to make a pie. It’s happening and I’m making it and that’s it. Boom.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

Yeah yeah – you might remember that I tried to make pie crust three years ago and claimed that there must be a pie gene and that I didn’t have it and that I had no clue who Mother Lovett passed it on to. I’m sort of calling BS on myself. I mean, I think it’s kind of true – pie making definitely comes easier for some that others. Especially when it comes to BEAUTIFUL pie making, which I really can’t do.

Sidebar: that’s why I topped my pie with a crumble because dealing with TWO pie crusts (i.e. a top and a bottom) totally broke my brain. Well, that and the fact that… I don’t really like pie crust. Yeah. There. I said it. It’s true.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

I just don’t love it like some people do. In fact, pastry crust in general is not my cup of tea. Pies aren’t what I lose my you-know-what over – that’s more like cheesecake and massively trashed up desserts. I love puff pastry, but that’s a whole new ballgame. However, apple pie? If it’s GOOD apple pie, like homemade apple pie, I can handle a hot slice with some ice cream. And if it’s apple pie made with, like, bourbon!… that can definitely be done too.

So there’s that.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

I still stuck with Mother Lovett’s never fail pie crust that I discovered in her recipes a few years ago, but let me refresh your memory. We are pretty convinced over here in this family that it wasn’t the true recipe that she used. Actually, she didn’t use a recipe at all, hence why none of us have the slightest clue on how to make a pie. Also, she made her pie crusts with lard – yep, real life LARD! Someday I would like to attempt that but given that it’s not easily accessible and that for some unknown reason I am scared to ask for things and talk to my local grocery store employees, meaning I have no idea where the lard would even be, I stuck with butter.

So yes, this is an all butter crust.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

On top of that, I made the entire thing in the food processor. It was SO easy. Had that not been the case, like if I hadn’t learned that I could make it in a food processor, I never would have done this. I can’t be bothered to cut cold butter into flour. Read: I’m too lazy and impatient.

The actual reason behind how I got up the confidence to attempt the pie again? I do some freelance photography for relish magazine and back in the summer, had to make THREE pies. Three freaking pies. Anxiety ensued. Not only did I have to make the pie crust and make the pie and eat the pie, I had to photograph the pie which to me, is just impossible. I loathe photographing anything in a triangle shape and I mean… getting the perfect slice? Oomph.

But. It’s life and work and I had to do it, and that’s when I learned that in order to make it I had to do the whole owning thing. And it happened. That’s when I knew I could make one on my own accord.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

My pie crust didn’t turn out to be the prettiest – I didn’t prebake it and I still really have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to pie. In a few weeks I’ll do a more in-depth post (like one of my exactly how I do it posts) on making it, but that sure doesn’t mean it’s the right way. I simply tossed the dough in the plate, threw in some apples, topped it with the crumble and baked the heck out of it. The edges shrunk a bit but it was so buttery and flakey.

I ate it for dinner.

I ate it for breakfast.

I had to give it to my parents before I sold my soul to the pie devil. Serious love.

I’m still not a pie person and I don’t think I ever will be, but I feel semi-complete that I got it together enough to make one. And of course… to eat one.

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I


Cider Bourbon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble


crust (as a note, this makes 3 pie crusts)
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 1/2 cups cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (3 sticks or 24 tablespoons)

6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

oatmeal cookie crumble
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cups loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Add the flour, sugar and salt to a food processor and pulse just until combined. In a small bowl, whisk mix together the egg, vinegar and water. Add the cold butter pieces into the food processor and pulse until small coarse crumbs remain. Sprinkle the water/egg mixture over the flour and pulse again until the dough comes together.

Remove the dough with your hands and wrap it in plastic wrap. This dough makes enough for 3 pie crusts, so you can either separate it into 3 sections now, or separate it after it's refrigerated. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the apples to a large bowl and toss them with the flour and the cinnamon. In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon, cider, sugar, butter and vanilla extract. Bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook it for 5 to 6 minutes, until slightly thickened. Pour it over the apples and toss.

Roll the pie crust out into a 12-inch circle (if you're using a 9-inch pie plate). Fold it in half to pick it up and gently place it in the plate, unfolding as you go and trimming any excess off of the edges - you can also use a fork (or another decorative idea!) to press the edges down. Add the apples to the crust.

oatmeal cookie crumble
Combine the oats, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to crumble it up and toss it in the mixture - I combine it for a full 5 minutes until it is really incorporated and crumbly. Sprinkle it evenly over the apples.

At this time, it's up to you if you want to cover the edges of the crust with foil strips in case they brown too much. I choose not to, and just check the pie halfway through. At any time you can place foil on the edges (or over top of the crumble) to keep them from browning. Bake the pie for 45 to 50 minutes - until the crust and crumble on top are golden. Let the pie cool for at least an hour or so before serving - if you want to be able to cut it into pretty slices. If not, go to town!

Cider Boubon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble I

The end.

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134 Responses to “Cider Bourbon Apple Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble. (in other words, the tale of never fail pie crust, part two.)”

  1. #
    Gaby — October 11, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

    So excited that you made a pie! The way you described pie making is exactly right- you have to own it. There’s no messing around or uncertainty when you’re making pie. You just frickin’ do it.
    Also, I made pie crust once using a cheese grater instead of a food processor…it turned out, but um. Yeah. Not happening again.


  2. #
    Javi Trulove @ T3treats — October 11, 2013 @ 8:20 pm

    This is Perfection.. A-Plus Recipe


  3. #
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective — October 11, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

    This is one amazing apple pie! I bought apples today, and I know just what I’m going to do with them now! :)


  4. #
    Kiran @ — October 11, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    That bourbon, oatmeal crumble and divine crust — oh my gah!


  5. #
    cheyenne — October 12, 2013 @ 1:05 am

    that looks like perfection. perfect for the fall!
    thanks for sharing!
    xo, cheyenne


  6. #
    Katie — October 12, 2013 @ 4:38 am

    WOW It really looks incredible! SO amazing!

    Love Katie ♥

    Just tried out a new Jamie Oliver recipe please check it out…


  7. #
    Emma — October 12, 2013 @ 5:27 am

    You nailed it! Yay for you!


  8. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 12, 2013 @ 7:12 am

    This pie seriously rocks my world. Apple pie on its own is perfect…but with bourbon too? Heaven.


  9. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — October 12, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    What’s not to love. This looks delicious!


  10. #
    cindy — October 12, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    I’m glad you conquered your pie-fear…cause now we get pie! and that crumble top…just stop it.


  11. #
    Sarah S — October 12, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    Giant Eagle sells lard in Pittsburgh for sure! The Market District in Shadyside definitely does. Look for it by the Crisco and other oils and stuff. Good luck! I have a thing with asking for stuff in the store too I totally get it.


  12. #
    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen — October 12, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

    I love everything about this pie, for not being a pie person you made a delicious one!!


  13. #
    Stefanie — October 13, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    This pie is so good! I didn’t have any bourbon, so I used one cup of cider which did make it a little too runny even after sitting a few hours. Next time, I may just stick with the half cup of cider. The topping is DELICIOUS!!!


  14. #
    Tara — October 14, 2013 @ 2:11 am

    Lard is actually ridiculously easy to make. Even more so if you have a slow-cooker. Go to your butcher. Yes. Butcher. Ask him for the pure white fat that is found around the kidneys/liver. Here we call it ‘speck’ but I’m not sure if that’s a South African-ism or not. Cut it up into smallish cubes, making sure there is no meat whatsoever on it. Pop it in your slow cooker on low over night. The fat will melt, leaving behind crispy crunchy bits. Strain those out and allow the hot fat to set. it should be pure white. Tada! Lard!! My personal favourite is lard made from lamb or mutton, and then used to cook crispy roast potatoes. To. Die. For.

    PS This pie looks amazing! As soon as we’ve move house, had the baby, and the weather cools down. I’m totally making this!!


  15. #
    Dinah — October 14, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    Hey there, what type of apples did you use? I normally use 3 or 4 granny smith, depending on the size and then a few other, 1 or 2 red delicious maybe throw in a Fuji. I find that the granny smith are more dense or rather harder than the others so it holds it shape and doesn’t get mushy, BUT your pictures of the apples are mouth watering. They remind me of going to my grandmothers house in North Carolina and picking apples in the mountains….sweet memories!


    • Jessica — October 14th, 2013 @ 10:06 am

      i used cortland apples!


  16. #
    Amy — October 14, 2013 @ 10:40 am

    I love your blog. Always makes me laugh, and makes me feel that I can do it (whatever the “it” of the day is!) too. :)

    Re: lard. I find it at my local Hispanic store. You might see if you have one in your area. Very reasonably priced. The previous commenter’s info on making your own seems really easy but in a pinch, off-the-shelf is a lifesaver. Thanks for all you do.


  17. #
    Tracy | Pale Yellow — October 14, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    Fall in a pie plate. I’m done. Thank you. I can’t wait to make one in my kitchen!


  18. #
    Larry — October 14, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

    Apple pie is actually my least favorite type of pie (I hate HATE soggy fruit. Cherry pie? Barf.) but I LOOOOOOVE me a good apple crisp. And this right here…. that last pic? Ugh. You’ve got me!


  19. #
    Alexandra — October 15, 2013 @ 10:27 am

    Not gonna lie, I browned the heck out of that butter before adding the cider/bourbon ridiculousness. Took it right to the next level, not that it needed it to begin with. What a great pie. I will never make it any other way ever again. 10 firefighters couldn’t agree more – I had to make a second after I dropped it off (just so I could actually try some myself). Thank you thank you!


  20. #
    CathyKarr05 — October 16, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

    my girlfriends brother just got a new blue Volvo only from working part time off a home pc… check here Exit35com


  21. #
    aida mollenkamp — October 17, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

    Oh, my, lady! I’m definitely giving this a go this holiday season!


  22. #
    dawne — October 18, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    they sell lard in our grocery store and wal-mart over by the Crisco, but I do live in the south (FL) :)


  23. #
    Jenny — October 19, 2013 @ 1:24 am

    This pie would have been amazing if it had at least half the bourbon :( The taste is so overwhelming that I don’t taste apple, cinnamon, or vanilla. My family picked the oatmeal crumble off the top but no one wants to eat the pie :(


  24. #
    Jessica @ Floptimism — October 19, 2013 @ 8:55 am

    It takes a lot to get me to bookmark a pie recipe — they’re definitely not my favorite dessert to make or eat — but I couldn’t resist this one. It just looks too good! I wanted to let you know that I featured this post, along with your post about homemade pumpkin puree, on my blog’s Weekend Wrap-Up today. (I’m not sure there’s a week that goes by that I don’t find something on How Sweet Eats that I can’t wait to share with my readers…hopefully these comments don’t get too repetitive!)

    Here’s the link to the post, if you’re interested:


  25. #
    Katrina — October 20, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    Making this today!! So very excited. This is the first time I have ever bought bourbon, too! I’ll let you know how it turns out (which I’m sure won’t be anything less than amazing). :)


  26. #
    Kate — October 21, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

    Instead of cider and bourbon, I used chai tea concentrate (that boxed Tazo tea) and water. Adding in a bit of diced candied ginger to the oatmeal cookie crumble, this mounded pie morphed into a deliciously spicy corny joke: “would you like to Chai some Apple Pie?”


  27. #
    Jason — October 27, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

    Made this yesterday for a dinner party. Loved. It was gone instantly. I am a huge pie person, make them a lot, and this was one of the best pies I have ever had. Thank you. Love your recipes.


  28. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — November 1, 2013 @ 7:30 am

    How did I miss this? I mean it has the word bourbon in the title! My daughter thinks I like to put booze into foods too much. I wonder if she and I are even related.

    Anyway…or in language you will understand…anywho…or is it anyhoo? I forget but I digress. I love this. And I love pie. I have no doubt I love it because it was what my favorite Grandma made so there are so many happy memories of her and pie.

    But stick with it; I think there is too much pie anxiety in this world; add that to your self professed impatience and I can imagine crust making has been a royal pain.

    This pie is a thing of beauty…and that cider bourbon part sure helps!


  29. #
    Samantha — November 1, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

    Is there anyway to make the crust/dough and freeze it for using it later?


  30. #
    Allison — November 17, 2013 @ 11:57 pm

    Could you make this pie a day ahead? If I want to serve it for thanksgiving would it work to make it on Wednesday to clear up some oven space?


  31. #
    Lauren E. — November 25, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    I have to say, I made this last weekend for a Friendsgiving and it was not good… The bourbon and cider never cooked down to a thicker consistency (I boiled then simmered for 5 – 6 minutes… then another 10… then another 15… and nothing) and tossed with the apples and baked anyway. The oatmeal crumble was divine but the apples? Like little individual shots of bourbon. It was nearly painful to eat and I’m glad I wasn’t serving it to children. I reread the recipe to make sure I did it correctly and I definitely made the pie as described.


  32. #
    Jenn — November 25, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

    Looking forward to making this for Thanksgiving. Thank you for sharing.


  33. #
    Jenna — November 25, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

    I made this pie for our “friendsgiving” on Saturday and just ate a piece for lunch dessert now. It is phenomenal!! Everyone raved about it but I think it gets even better as it sits??


  34. #
    Sandra — November 25, 2013 @ 10:08 pm

    I made this first thing this morning as a test for Thanksgiving. I am happy to say that it passed. It has a nice bourbon flavor but if you like bourbon you will like it. Thanks for adding to our holiday.


  35. #
    Tara — November 27, 2013 @ 10:23 am

    I have no shame in my cooking with alcohol game, so i will ask – can you use Hard Cider here?


  36. #
    Susan Margaret — November 27, 2013 @ 10:41 am

    Delicious. I had no cider or apple juice on hand so I subbed ginger beer with good results. Enjoyed it with friends last night and will have tomorrow for Thanksgiving.


  37. #
    Jenn — December 2, 2013 @ 10:57 am

    I made this pie for the holiday and per the other comments, I used 3/4 c. apple cider and 1/4 c. bourbon. The finished product was delicious, but I regret not following the recipe. I tasted zero zip zilch bourbon in my modified pie.


  38. #
    Ashley — December 9, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    I didn’t have success with this recipe :( The whole pie was cooked except the bottom crust was soggy and raw.


  39. #
    Elly — December 18, 2013 @ 2:51 pm

    I know I’m suuuuuuuper late to comment on this recipe, but I had to tell you that I’ve made this pie three times now already, and my family requested that I make it again for Christmas. Well done, Jessica! (ps, I’ll be blogging about it myself this week with a link back to your recipe – thank you for the awesome inspiration!)


  40. #
    Becca — November 23, 2014 @ 8:34 pm

    I made this yesterday for a dinner party and it was a huge hit! I admit I used a store bought crust, and I somehow totally forgot to add the cider, and it still turned out amazing!! I am making it again next week for my family.


  41. #
    Nicole — September 29, 2015 @ 11:40 am

    This looks great! Will be making it soon. Is the filling and crumble enough for 3 pies or just 1? Thanks!


  42. #
    Rebecca — October 7, 2015 @ 9:48 am

    I apologize for saying that I am a pie person. (But my sister will always be a better pie person so you can feel bad for me about that.) I’ve made this pie a few times and the flavors are amazing. My friends and family and i are not afraid of bold bourbon flavor. But each time I’ve made it, it’s come out with too much liquid. We live at 9000 feet so not sure if it’s an altitude thing? I’m going to try reducing the liquids but don’t want to lose the flavors (especially the bourbon). Any suggestions?


  43. #
    Karin Anderson — October 12, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

    We really enjoyed this pie! I made it with small, tart apples from old apple trees I found at the side of the street.
    My to-go crust is Cook’s Illustrated foolproof vodka crust., and I used hard cider. Made a few minor changes: reducing the sugar in the crumble, adding 1/2 tsp orange zest to the Bourbon cider syrup, and exchanging some for the AP flour for Einkorn flour.
    Definitely a keeper!


  44. #
    Ariana — November 19, 2015 @ 4:23 pm

    Looks delicious! Would this work as an apple crisp if I forgo the bottom crust?

    Thank you!



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