Traditional Apple Pie and Custard – Autumn’s Sweet Symphony

Quick and easy Apple pie recipe

I was originally hoping to create the most traditional of British apple pies, the kind that my grandma makes, but it ended up a little different from that. The gluten-free pastry is particularly tricky to work with since it is gluten that gives the pastry its stretchiness.

So after battling with the base, the leftover pastry was too prone to falling to pieces to allow me to make a lid. So instead, I made pastry decorations for the top. The overall effect ended up a little rustic and most definitely homemade – but isn’t that what you want from an apple pie?

Simple recipe for apple pie
My homemade apple pie in the traditional British way

I also added lemon zest to the apples to give a last, summery lift to the dish. So, if you want a non-traditional pie, follow this recipe, otherwise, omit the lemon zest and make a complete lid for the pie. This is how to make apple pies.

Apple Pie and Custard

Autumn's sweet symphony and a timeless treat
5 from 1 vote
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, British, European
Servings 8
Calories 370 kcal


For the pie

  • 3 bramley cooking apples
  • 8 oz plain flour gluten-free, in this case
  • 4 oz butter
  • 2 oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Lemon zest if desired
  • brown sugar to sprinkle
  • Beaten egg to glaze pastry

For the custard

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 oz caster sugar
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  • To make the pastry, rub the flour, sugar, and butter together between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. (You can also whizz in a blender). Make sure your hands are cold when handling pastry at all stages – run them under cold water before you start.
  • Add a small amount of water and some of the beaten egg yolk and bring the mixture together to form a dough. Work the pastry as little as possible.
  • When it has come together in a ball, wrap it in cling flim and pop it in the fridge for 30 mins.
  • While the pastry is chilling, Preheat the oven to 200oC. Grease a circular baking tin or ceramic dish.
  • Peel and roughly chop the apples. Put into a pan of boiling water and stew for a few minutes until soft, but not mushy. Drain the apples and sprinkle over brown sugar and lemon zest, stirring in. Set the apples to one side and allow to cool.
  • Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is fairly thin. Lift carefully into the baking tin and press around the bottom edge. Cut away the excess pastry. Pierce the pastry base with a fork (or cover with baking beans) and blind bake for 15-20 mins.
  • While the pastry case is baking, cut out autumnal designs from the remaining pastry (or roll it out large enough to make a lid).
  • Fill the pastry case with the apples and top with the pastry designs. Glaze with the beaten egg yolk and bake for about 30 mins until pastry is golden.
  • While the pie is cooking, make the custard. Put the egg yolks, cornflour, sugar, and vanilla extract into a pan and whisk with a balloon whisk until combined. Add the milk and cream slowly, whisking together all the time.
  • Put the pan over a low heat and stir continuously until it thickens. Remove from heat and put into a jug. Stand the jug in a pan of hot water to keep it warm
  • Remove the pie from the oven and serve while hot with the custard. It can also be frozen for another day.


To store your pie, put it into an airtight container and keep it refrigerated for a maximum of 2 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Keyword baking, desserts, gluten free, pie

I know it seems like there is quite a lot to do and it is a little time-consuming, but none of it is particularly difficult and it is a very satisfying process. While you can blitz pastry in a blender, I find it a very calming thing to make by hand, letting the flour and butter fall between my fingers.

There is never more than one thing going on at a time, and ample time to clear up from each stage as you wait. This is my favorite kind of baking – an afternoon of happiness in the kitchen. Besides this traditional pie, you can read more about other traditional British desserts like rock cakes, parkins, or mince pies.

The iconic of the US

I noticed the first Autumn leaves this morning. Just a few, dotted on the pavement. Various shades of yellow, they crunched satisfyingly – the promise of the season which is just beginning.

I love Autumn, most of all because of the flavors at this time of year. Warm spices, slow-cooked stews, roasted fruit, apple pie. I like the zesty, light flavors of Summer, but for me, Autumn is the best time in the food calendar.

Healthy baked apple pie
Grandma old old-fashioned pie

Apple pie is an iconic American dessert. However, this cake originates in Europe. Early European settlers brought their pie-making traditions to the American colonies, where they adapted their recipes to incorporate locally grown apples. This fusion of culinary influences laid the foundation for what we now know as American apple pie. The phrase “as American as apple pie” reflects its cultural significance, to the point that it has a national day – May 13th.

While the classic lattice-topped apple pie is cherished, there are numerous variations to explore. These include Dutch apple pie, which features a crumb topping, Swedish pie with no top crust but a crumbly topping, the French version often brushes the top of the tart with a glaze made from apricot preserves for a glossy finish, while German pie may include a sprinkling of cinnamon and almonds.

Small slice of apple pie
Zucchini mock apple pie

Other variations can include apple crumble pie, cheddar apple pie with cheese, blackberry/cranberry/strawberry/pineapple apple pie, spiced, sour cream, and salted caramel apple pie.

This pie is often served warm, with many opting to enhance its flavor with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. This combination of warm pie and cold, creamy toppings creates a delightful contrast in temperatures and textures.

Its flavor and texture come from the choice of apples used. Popular options include Granny Smith for tartness and Fuji for sweetness and crunch. Gala offers a mild sweetness, Cortland adds a touch of tanginess, and Braeburn contributes crispness and sweet-tart notes. You can even combine these apples to create a well-rounded pie.

About the author

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

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