Apple Flambé Pie

Apple cider, fresh and dried apples join forces in this stovetop apple pie filling. The pie is topped with flaming apple brandy just before serving.

Apple Flambé Pie
Photo: Photo: Victor Protasio / Food Stylist Torie Cox /Prop Stylist Claire Spollen
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 10 mins
8 to 10 servings

Apple cider and a combination of fresh, cooked, and dried apples join forces in this stovetop apple pie filling enhanced with licorice-laced pops of toasted fennel seeds and fragrant orange zest. Just before serving, the pie is topped with flaming Calvados for an extra punch of apple flavor — or, if you'd like to play off the cinnamon in the pie, flambé using Fireball. (Stay classy!) You can make this pie with any prepared piecrust, but for an additional twist, pair it with a Sweet-and-Salty Pretzel and Waffle Cone Piecrust (pictured) — it's a great match for the caramel apple filling. Look for unsweetened cold-pressed apple cider in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. Shelf-stable cider is often heat-treated and will have a muted flavor. Any bourbon or brandy with an ABV of 40% or higher will work for flambéing.


  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened apple cider

  • 1 cup organic light brown sugar

  • 2 ½ ounces dried soft (not crunchy) apple rings, chopped (about 1/2 packed cup)

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • 4 medium Honeycrisp apples (about 2 1/4 pounds)

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons cold water

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)

  • 1 (9-inch) prepared piecrust

  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

  • ¼ cup apple brandy (such as Calvados) or cinnamon whiskey (such as Fireball)

  • Vanilla ice cream (dairy or nondairy) (optional)


  1. Bring cider, brown sugar, chopped dried apple rings, fennel seeds, cinnamon, salt, and cloves to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until dried apples are plump, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  2. Peel and core 3 Honeycrisp apples; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and add to cider mixture in pan. Cook over medium-low, stirring often, until Honeycrisp apples are tender, about 15 minutes. Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Gradually add cornstarch slurry to apple mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over medium-low, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in orange zest and juice. Transfer mixture to a large heatproof bowl. Let cool, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

  3. Pour apple filling into piecrust, and spread in an even layer, reserving about 1 tablespoon thickened apple syrup in bowl. Core and cut remaining Honeycrisp apple into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Arrange fanned slices on top of apple filling. Lightly brush fanned apples evenly with reserved thickened syrup. Chill, uncovered, until set, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

  4. Sprinkle pie evenly with turbinado sugar. Place apple brandy in a heatproof measuring cup with a spout; set aside. Heat a small saucepan over medium until warm, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat (making sure to turn off burner); pour in brandy. Using a utility lighter, carefully ignite fumes just above surface of brandy. Slowly and carefully pour flaming liquid over pie. Let flames extinguish. If desired, serve with ice cream.

Make Ahead

Pie can be made up to 1 day in advance and stored in refrigerator. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar and flambé just before serving.

Related Articles