Whoops! If this website isn't showing properly, it could be that you're using an old browser. For the full American Magazine experience, click here for details on updating your internet browser.
Ambassador Johnson's Grandmother's Apple Pie US Ambassador Woody Johnson offers his family recipe for Apple Pie ready for Thanksgiving. Photos courtesy US Embassy, London

Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.

Ambassador Johnson’s Apple Pie
The US Ambassador, Woody Johnson, offers his Grandmother's recipe for Apple Pie with a Cheddar Cheese Crust ahead of Thanksgiving

Published on November 15, 2018

In his Thanksgiving message to Americans in the UK, Ambassador Woody Johnson explained how important Thanksgiving is for family, describing it as providing "the unbeatable combination of family, friends, food and football!". Another important factor, of course, are family traditions. The Ambassador said "every family celebrates in their own unique way - with customs and traditions passed on from one generation to another. In my family, Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without apple pie and cheese. This dish may divide opinion, some people prefer their apple pie with ice cream - but to all the sceptics: it really is delicious and I'm publishing my grandmother's recipe so you can try it yourself!"

The Ambassador has kindly supplied this recipe for you to try at home. In his Thanksgiving message, he finished off by saying "I wish all Americans living in the United Kingdom the very happiest of holidays." We at The American echo is sentiment, and hope you, your friends and family enjoy this slice of Johnson family history!

Serves 8


2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and frozen for 15 minutes

1/3 cup ice water, plus extra as needed


2 pounds Granny Smith, Empire, or Cortland apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 pounds Golden Delicious or Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

6 tablespoons (2 2/3 ounces) granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed (1 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

FOR THE CRUST: Process flour, sugar, salt, mustard and cayenne in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. Scatter cheddar and butter over top and pulse until butter is size of large peas, about 10 pulses.

Pour half of ice water over flour mixture and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Repeat with remaining ice water. Pinch dough with your fingers; if dough feels dry and does not hold together, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons extra ice water over mixture and pulse until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, 3 to 5 pulses.

Divide dough in half and form each half into 4inch disk. Wrap disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Let chilled dough sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes, before rolling.

FOR THE FILLING: Stir apples, granulated sugar, brown sugar, lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon together in Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until apples are just tender but still hold their shape, 10 to 15 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice. Spread apple mixture on rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Roll 1 disk of dough into 12inch circle between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.

Ambassador Johnson's Grandmother's Apple Pie

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Fill pie shell with apple mixture. Roll other disk of dough into 12inch circle between 2 sheets of parchment or plastic. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto filling.

Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Crimp dough around edge of pie plate using your fingers. Cut four 2-inch slits in top of dough.

Set pie on foil or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer pie to wire rack and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve.

Click Here to read Ambassador Johnson's Thanksgiving Message in Full


© All contents of www.theamerican.co.uk and The American copyright Blue Edge Publishing Ltd. 1976–2019
The views & opinions of all contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that all content is accurate
at time of publication, the publishers, editors and contributors cannot accept liability for errors or omissions or any loss arising from reliance on it.