La Buona Cucina America: Apple Pie – Torta di Mele

We couldn’t possibly compile a collection of American recipes without including apple pie–and here is my mom’s version (and yes, her hands feature in the photos below).

This is of course my all-time favorite apple pie, but I realize that everyone has their own tricks and secrets as to what makes a delicious apple pie, so please share your thoughts in the comments!

Apple Pie


  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c shortening/lard
  • 5-7 tablespoons cold water


  • 8 tart apples
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons flour (more if apples are moist)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter

1. Chop together flour, salt, and shortening until pieces of dough are the size of peas. Add water slowly, mixing with hands and being sure dough isn’t too moist or too dry.

2.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put it in refrigerator for about twenty minutes.

3. In the meantime, peel, core, and cut apples into thin slices.

4. Mix apples, sugar, flour, and cinnamon together.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut in half.

6. Roll one half of the dough between two sheets of wax paper until 1/8″ thick, and use the rolling pin to transfer to pie pan.

7.  Fill shell with apple filling, and put butter in pieces on top (as shown).

8. Roll other half of dough until 1/8″ thick and transfer it to cover the pie.

9. Seal edges by pinching dough around the edges as shown.

10. Put small slices in top crust to prevent it from overflowing, and sprinkle top with sugar.

11. Bake in 400°F oven for 15 minutes, and then turn oven down to 350° and let bake for about another half hour. The apples inside will be soft when the pie is ready.

12. Let cool before cutting.

Torta di Mele


  • 280 g farina
  • un pizzico di sale
  • 75 g lardo
  • 5-7 cucchiai di acqua fredda


  • 8 mele aspre
  • 200 g zucchero
  • 3-4 cucchiai farina (di più se le mele sono umide)
  • 1 cucchiaino cannella
  • 28 g burro

1. Mescolate la farina, il sale e il lardo finché i pezzi della pasta sono la misura dei piselli. Agguingete l’acqua lentamente, mescolando con le mani assicurando che la pasta non è troppo umida ne troppo secca.

2. Mettete la pasta nella pellicola e mettetela in frigo per circa venti minuti.

3. Nel frattempo, sbucciate, togliete il torsolo e affettate le mele a fette fine.

4. Mescolate insieme le mele, lo zucchero, la farina e la cannella.

5. Togliete la pasta dal frigo e tagliatela a metà.

6. Stendete una metà della pasta tra due foglie di carta oleata finché la pasta stesa è circa 3 mm. Usate il matterello per trasferire la pasta stesa alla teglia.

7. Riempite la teglia con il ripieno, e aggiungete burro a pezzi (come è mostrato sopra).

8. Stendete l’altra metà della pasta anche di 3 mm e coprite la torta con la pasta stesa.

9. Chiudete il bordo come è mostrato sopra.

10. Fate piccoli tagli nella pasta stesa sopra e spargetela con un po’ di zucchero.

11. Mettete la torta al forno a 200°C e fate cuocere per quindici minuti. Quindi abbassate la temperatura a 175°C e fate cuocere per un’altra mezz’ora. Quando la torta è pronta le mele dentro sarà morbide.

12. Lasciatela raffreddare prima di tagliare.

Buon appetito!

32 Beans of Wisdom to “La Buona Cucina America: Apple Pie – Torta di Mele”
  1. 10.24.2008

    Ooooooooooooooh I love a good apple pie & your Mom’s looks great! I usually add a dash of lime juice & some chopped walnuts &/or raisins in the fruit filling!

    Deeba’s last blog post..GLAZED PRUNE CAKE…SPICED UP FOR SHF!

    I’m not big on nuts in pies, but I do love raisins in anything 🙂

  2. Love, love, love apple pie. Yum!

    Me too! I wish my mom was here….

  3. Gil

    I know what I’ll be looking for later today, a nice warm piece of apple pie and some vanilla ice cream! Your Mom’s pie sounds better than anything that I’ll be able to get here unless my wife makes one or maybe I venture to one of the local apple orchards that bakes.

    I sure hope you find a nice slice, Gil…and pick up some extra apples for me at that orchard! Yum!

  4. 10.24.2008

    Looks delicious !
    I have an abudance of apples from the garden, sitting in my cellar, just crying to be cooked.
    I spread a little apricot jam on the base before I put the apples in.
    Then Bye Bye Miss Apple Pie !

    Scintilla’s last blog post..The Art of Persuasion.

    Oooh that sounds lovely 🙂

  5. That looks like one gorgeous pie. I just the way I like it nice and simple, I wouldn’t add or change a thing. Custard maybe or better still cold thick cream. There is something so comforting about pies, they always make me smile:)

    amanda@A Tuscan View…’s last blog post..Flora and fauna

    My favorite way to eat a slice of apple pie is actually in a bowl of milk–my mom tells me it’s the Pennsylvania Dutch way. GREAT for breakfast 🙂

  6. 10.24.2008

    I always add nutmeg whenever I use cinnamon…I just love the smell!

    Barbara’s last blog post..MADE IN AMERCIA – APPLE PIE

    Yes actually in this recipe, a pinch of nutmeg is “optional” as my mom said. I don’t taste any difference with it or without it, so I just left it out hoping if people see fewer ingredients, they’re more likely to make this 🙂

  7. 10.24.2008

    Oh yum! There are two sweet things in life to which I am partial… (gluten intolerance notwithstanding…) – apple pie and pecan pie!

    Sorry about your gluten intolerance; hope you still get to enjoy a bit of your favorite pies 🙂

  8. 10.24.2008

    Yummm! Apple pie, one of my favorites. I like Apple Crumb too. With apples being in season, I just may have to make one.

    Mary’s last blog post..I’m Italian….

    Me too! I was going to include crumb directions too, but wanted to keep it simple. I *really* love blueberry crumb….

  9. joanne at frutto della passione

    This is very similar to the recipe I use (that I got from my mom) I use butter instead of shortening (because I can’t find it here – and I prefer it) and I also add nutmeg to the fruit filling. This is the perfect time of year for this post! I think I’ll make one this weekend!

    joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..A taste of things to come

    Yes, we made these in June–NOT the best time to make them, but that’s when Mom was here. Still delicious! Enjoy yours 🙂

  10. 10.24.2008

    My beautiful wife adds cranberries to her apple pie. The contrast of colours and flavour is wonderful.

    running42k’s last blog post..I can live with this.

    Sounds great to me; save me a piece next time please 🙂

  11. carol

    Your pies are gorgeous…….and delicious too no doubt. I’ve always preferred pie pastry made with shortening instead of butter. It makes a much flakier crust, IMO. Does lard give the pastry a meaty flavor?

    I have to admit, I’ve never used lard; I included it as a substitute since shortening isn’t available here (my mom brought Crisco). I agree with you on the flakiness, which is why my mom tells me that if I must substitute, to go with lard, which is apparently what they used in the olden days 😉

  12. 10.24.2008

    This apple pie looks so delicious! Just like my grandmother’s pies. I don’t know exactly what she uses to make them but they are simply the best thing on Earth. The crust is crispy and she adds lots of cinnamon to the apple filling. It’s just too delicious to resist! 🙂

    Mmmm cinnamon makes me so happy 🙂

  13. 10.24.2008

    I’m really not sure there’s anything better than apple pie. Truly. I had fun making it in Russia for friends there, too.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Blog Blast for Education: Geoffrey Canada and The Harlem Children’s Zone

    Jen, the more apple pie I eat, the more I agree with you. It truly is one of my favorite things in the world 🙂

  14. 10.24.2008

    I think this is the best apple pie i have ever seen. That filling looks so yumm. I have never ever made a pie, i just think it is so difficult to make them. Now that i have this delicious looking pie recipe i think i should give it a try.

    I hope you enjoy it! It’s definitely *my* favorite apple pie 🙂

  15. 10.24.2008

    Delicious! I am making this Monday night for friends – grazie mille for the “inspiration”! 🙂

    Hope everyone loves it as much as I do 🙂

  16. I’ve never met an apple pie I didn’t like and yours looks gorgeous!

    Michelle at Scribbit’s last blog post..Lukaro Salon in Beverly Hills

    Thanks Michelle 🙂

  17. 10.24.2008

    I will be *right over*.

    PS~ There’s a pretty good laugh at my page today… you will definitely get a KICK out of it…

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Be sure to come while the pie is still warm…on second thought, I’ll come over with a slice now 😉

  18. 10.24.2008

    It’s a cold and rainy day here. A perfect day for this perfect apple pie! This looks fabulous!

    The fall is definitely great for pies 🙂

  19. 10.24.2008

    Oh, does that look delicious! Apple pie is one of my all time faves! Mmmm…

    Time to make some Erin 🙂

  20. 10.25.2008

    Wow, I think I’m gonna make me a pie.

    Have you seen the film “The Waitress”? It’s not the best movie ever, but it is a pie-lover’s dream. As is the show “Pushing Daisies.” MMMMMmmmm.

    pizzocalabro’s last blog post..Sign the Courage Campaign’s Letter to Mormon Church President!

    Haven’t seen either, but if there’s pie, I’m in 😉

  21. 10.25.2008

    I just made an apple pie the other day. Sadly, it seems to have all disappeared.

    There is something about the pictures of your mom’s hands that make me think of my grandma. She was always the big pie baker of the family.

    Susan’s last blog post..How I Got My Printer to Work

    Apple pie *does* have a tendency to disappear quickly, Susan 🙂

  22. 10.25.2008

    Apple pie is one American dish that usually goes over well with Italians, I’ve found. Especially if you reduce the quantity of cinnamon, which they do not seem to love.

    Please come visit my blog to pick up an award I’d like to give you!

    saretta’s last blog post..Madonna and Child

    Thanks Saretta 🙂

  23. 10.25.2008

    This looks divine. Thank you for the detailed recipe. I never bake, but I am saving this recipe to try it out. You see, there is one thing in the world my husband may love more than he loves me: apple pie. If only I could make him one!

    nova’s last blog post..Name Dropper

    Pies can be tricky with the rolling of the dough (knowing the right consistency)–there are lots of ready made crusts out there too that are actually quite good if you feel at all skittish about the dough part 🙂

  24. NewWrldYankee

    I love making apple pie from scratch. I just made it a few weeks ago, actually. I have to use margarine here in Hungary, as shortening is not available. Adding 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and 3-4 ground cloves each also gives a great touch. It makes it taste all Christmas-y, if that makes any sense. lol I linked to my recipe if you want to check it out. Also, two other tips – baking it on the lower rack prevent the top crust from getting too dry or browning too much, and also letting it sit for a few hours helps it solidify more and make it easier to give actually pie slices. Otherwise I get apple pie mush, which tastes the same, but somehow is less satisfying.

    NewWrldYankee’s last blog post..Do You Want Free Budgeting and Financial Advice Catered to You?

    Thanks for the tips! Yes, letting the pie cool a bit is definitely advisable. Of course I *do* rather enjoy a warm slice of pie, so it’s a fine line 😉

  25. 10.26.2008

    MMM, that looks tasty. Crust looks very buttery and flaky. I add raisins to my apple pies, not sure where i picked that up but I like it anyway.

    Peter Answers’s last blog post..More Pranks & Gags

    Yum, Peter! Love apples and raisins together 🙂

  26. 10.26.2008

    Are you positive you don’t deliver? 🙂

    Bily’s last blog post..A Pebble of Bone

    Well I don’t, but depending how close to you are to my mom in Pennsylvania….

  27. Taffiny

    I love apple pie. I keep almost buying one, but they are often expensive, and the ingredients not what they should be. It looks so easy to do when simply watching other people make them.
    But I have been down that road often enough to know nothing is simple for me in the kitchen.
    still, I think next weekend, Cheese and I will try to make yours. He does pretty well in the kitchen. And now I am so hungry for apple pie, I must either buy or bake.

    I’ve actually never liked a store-bought apple pie. I’m so spoiled. Best of luck to you and Cheese–the filling by itself is worth the effort 🙂

  28. Do you think your Mom will make me a pie if I swing by and pick it up? LOL

    That pie looks DELISH!!

    Now, a request:

    I tagged you for a Meme. Check out my post for the rules:

    I know, I know – I didn’t ask you first if you would participate, so I beg your forgiveness. Now go check out my post and see if you want to participate!


    Salena of The Daily Rant’s last blog post..Weird And Random

    What have you done?!!!!!! Hmm…..

  29. 10.26.2008

    Mmmmm. Can’t think of any improvements for that pie other than “Please pass me a piece :)”

    poppy fields’s last blog post..trainspotting

    Wish I could!

  30. 10.27.2008

    This is what Italians ask for if you offer to bring something to their party. Many times they are really surprised to see what it is really like!
    My version is much spicier, but I also have a recipe from a southern friend for which the apple part is less spiced because during the last part of the cooking a praline pecan mixture is cooked on top of the crust. Decadent, yes. Candied pie.

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..Made in America: Mom’s Apple Pie

    Oh wow. Candied pie. YUM! We’re not big on spices in my family generally–neither my mom nor I like a lot of spices in apple pie, carrot cake, etc…heartburn is one reason 😉

  31. 10.27.2008

    Try mixing the types of apples for your pie. Use half tart apples like Granny Smith and half sweet apples like Rome or Delicious. Makes for a nice pie.
    I also mix butter and shortening in my pie dough.The butter brings flavor and the shortening the flakiness.
    Another tip I picked up that sometimes helps novice pie dough handlers is to use vodka instead of water. The alcohol burns off and leaves no flavor but eliminating the water helps prevent the gluten from developing in the dough and making the dough tough from overworking and the secret to a good crust is to work it as little as possible.

    OK, I’ve heard of mixing the apples and even the butter and shortening, but vodka? *That* is a new one. Excellent tip, especially for novices (like me). I’ll give it a try next pie 🙂

  32. 10.27.2008

    Nothing better than the classic. I wouldn’t change a thing, except melt some cheddar cheese on a slice before eating.

    Nate’s last blog post..Aunty Marlene’s Banana Muffins Recipe

    You know I’ve never had that? I’m so particular about certain things that I like–I don’t even like them to change a little bit. Mom’s apple pie is definitely one of those things, but I’ve always been intrigued by the cheese thing….

Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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