Upside-Down Apple Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    or More Servings.

Appears in

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1987

  • About

I have a good friend in New York, Gene Hovis, a professional chef, who was born in North Carolina. He came into my kitchen and demonstrated one of his mother’s prized creations, a hot upside-down apple pie. It is very much “down-home,” but greatly resembles the famed tarte tatin of France.


Short Butter Crust

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ½ pound chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water

The Assembly

  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot
  • 4 or 5 apples, such as Granny Smiths (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon


  • Put the flour in a mixing bowl and add the chilled butter pieces. Work the flour and butter together with the fingers or a pastry blender, until well blended.
  • Gradually sprinkle the mixture with ice water, using only enough so that the dough holds together and can be formed into a ball. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten slightly. Wrap closely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Pour the melted butter into a dish 1½ to 2 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter (the dish might also be rectangular).
  • Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, grated rind, and arrowroot.
  • Peel the apples and cut away any blemishes. Quarter the apples and cut away the cores. Cut the quarters in half lengthwise. Arrange the apple pieces in neat concentric circles over the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the bourbon over the apples.
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 13 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough on top of the apples and gently fold over the overhanging edges toward the center, pressing down lightly all around the outer rim of dough so that the apples are totally covered.
  • Cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the pie in the oven and bake 1 hour. Remove to a rack and let cool briefly.
  • Run a knife around the inside rim of the pie. Place a large dish over the pie. Quickly invert the pie onto the dish. Serve hot or at room temperature.