I first made this Captain America Pie four years ago to bring to a friend’s house for dessert. The Captain America movie had already been out for three years at that point but I was still obsessed. It is a perfect origin story movie that stands strongly on its own as well as fitting in nicely with the Avengers series. It remains my favorite Avengers movie of all the movies Marvel has done to date. Will that change when we see Avengers: Infinity War this week? We shall see!
This pie went through many iterations, including a completely red crust top and bottom. I decided to forgo this though for a regular crust on the bottom and a decorative top crust.
Though there are many steps to this pie, it is for all intents and purposes still a classic, delicious apple pie: cinnamon, brown sugar, and some sweetened condensed milk!
The extra steps are to guide the baker through adding color to the pie dough and cutting out concentric rings to make the Cap’s shield on top. The result is a really fun pie that is striking and versatile.
The red, white, and blue scheme works not just for Avengers movies viewing parties but for patriotic holidays too, like the 4th of July and Memorial Day.
Try this pie and have fun with it!
If you are worried about it not being perfect remember: Steve Rogers was not perfect either – the army rejected him for service five times!
And yet Steve, aka Captain America will love your All-American Apple Pie no matter what.
The recipe is below, and believe it or not I have even more Avengers themed treats for you!
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of butter, unsalted and very cold
- Ice water
- Red food coloring
- Blue food coloring
- 3 pounds apples (I like to use a combination of MacIntosh & Honyecrisp
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons half and half
- The templates are for the concentric rings of Captain America's shield that will go on top of the pie. The ring colors are in this order: red, white, red, and then a blue circle with a white star in the center. Find a piece of flat paper to draw the templates. (Don't use something rolled like parchment: the rings will roll up on you and be very annoying. I found out the hard way!) The templates you need are:
8-inch ring with a 6-inch hole in the middle
6-inch ring with a 4-inch hole in middle
4-inch ring with a 2-inch hole in middle
2-inch solid circle
2-inch sized star template or cookie cutter
- Begin by drawing an 8-inch circle on the flat paper, and then draw a 6-inch circle in the middle of this. Fold your paper in half with the fold going through the middle of the circles. Cut out both circles: this will give you your 8-inch ring and then the 6-inch circle can be used for your next template, and so on until you get down to the 2-inch center circle. Have ready a 2-inch star cookie cutter, or draw a star on another piece of paper and cut it out as a template.
- Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Slice the cold butter into very small cubes, about 1/4-inch sized. Work these into the flour using a pastry blender until the mixture is coarse.
- Move half of this flour mixture into another bowl. The first half of the mixture will be for your bottom crust. (Bowl 1.) The rest of the mixture is for the top crust and should be divided as follows:
Half of it in one medium bowl (Bowl 2, will be red dough)
The rest divided equally between two small bowls. (One will be white dough - Bowl 3. One will be blue dough, Bowl 4.)
Take Bowl 1: and add 3 tablespoons of ice water to it. Use a spoon to toss the mixture together until it looks shaggy. Try squeezing some dough together with your hand: if it sticks together easily it's ready. If it is still dry and crumbly, add a little more water, stir, and test the dough again. When it is moist enough, turn it out onto a work surface and use your hands to squeeze the dough together into a ball. This should only take a few squeezes and folds of the dough, and lumps of butter will still be visible. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, label it as "bottom crust" and put it in the fridge.
Take Bowl 3: and add a tablespoon of water to it. Follow the same steps as above to mix the water into the dry mixture, test to see if it's moist enough, and when it's ready squeeze it into a ball. Flatten it, wrap it in plastic, label it as "white top crust", and refrigerate it.
For Bowl 2: pour about 1/2 cup of ice water into a small bowl and add a few drops of red food coloring to it. (I use Wilton color System which as concentrated food coloring, and I used 5 drops. You may need a few drops more depending on your color.) Stir the water and color together. Add 2 tablespoons of the red water to the dry mixture. Toss it together with a spoon, give it the squeeze test, and add more water if needed. When it's moist enough squeeze the dough into a ball: the color will be splotchy but that's ok. It will get worked in further when the dough gets rolled. Flatten it, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it.
Finally for Bowl 4: pour 1/2 cup of ice water into another small bowl, add a few drops of blue food color and stir it in. Add 1 tablespoon of blue water the mixture and stir it together. Test the dough, and when it's moist enough squeeze it together into a ball. (Splotchy color is ok.) Flatten it, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate it.
- Refrigerate all the doughs for at least 30 minutes.
- Peel and core the apples and then slice them into chunks. Toss them with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Hold the bowl aside.
- Have a 9-inch pie plate ready. Roll out the dough labeled "bottom crust" to a 12-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Carefully lift the dough circle into the pie plate, and gently move it to fit it into the pan. Press it over the bottom and to the sides. Fold the edge of the crust under and crimp it all the way around. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the pie shell and refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
- Take the pie shell from the fridge and discard the plastic. Take the apple mixture, drain off any liquid that has formed, and pour the apples into the shell. Spread the apples to an even thickness, and then drizzle the apples with the sweetened condensed milk.
- Take out the red pie dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness. Place your 8-inch ring template on the dough and slice out the ring. Lay your 4-inch ring template on the circle of red dough in the center and slice out the ring. Discard the scraps or wrap them in plastic and refrigerate for another use.
- Carefully lift the 8-inch ring (you can use a spatula to help or grab someone in the house to assist!) and place the ring over the apples, centering it. There will be a gap between the crimped edge and the red ring. Then, place the 4-inch red ring on the apples centering it.
- Take the "white top crust" dough from the fridge and roll it out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use the 6-inch ring template to slice out a white ring. From the scraps you have, use your template or cookie cutter to cut out a white star. Hold the star aside. Carefully lift the white ring and place it on the pie: the ring will be between the two red rings.
- Take the blue dough and roll it out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use the template for the 2-inch circle to cut out a blue circle. Place the blue circle in the very center of the pie, and then place the white star in the center of the blue circle. Drape a piece of plastic over the pie and refrigerate it for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Move an oven rack to the lower half of the oven, and place a large baking sheet on the rack to get hot as the oven heats up.
- Take the chilled pie from the fridge and use a pastry brush to brush the top crust and crimped edges with half and half. If any puddles of half and half form on the crust, use the corner of a paper towel to soak these up. When the oven is ready, place the pie on the hot baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes: after 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake for 35 minutes longer. The filling will be just bubbling and the crust lightly browned. Remove the pie to a cooling rack. Allow the pie to cool before slicing.
- Serves 8.