Ina Garten Puts a ‘Surprising’ Ingredient in Her Apple Pie for More Flavor

Ina Garten flavors many of her desserts with surprising ingredients. Her popular brownie recipe calls for instant coffee granules. The Barefoot Contessa host’s apple pie is yet another one of Garten’s dishes that have a surprising ingredient to enhance the flavor. 

Ina Garten flavors the pie with orange and lemon

'Barefoot Contessa' star Ina Garten addresses an audience while sitting in an orange seat with a microphone in hand
Ina Garten | Brad Barket/Getty Images for The New Yorker

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The Barefoot Contessa is known for turning up the volume on classic dishes. Her Deep Dish Apple Pie is no exception. Garten adds more flavor by including the zest of an orange and lemon as well as the juice.

“This not only flavors it but it keeps the apples from turning brown,” Garten said on Barefoot Contessa as she poured lemon juice into the filling, according to The Food Network.

Thanks to the spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice — and of course, the apples, the orange and lemon aren’t dominant sources of flavors. The two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of orange juice complement the other flavors while maintaining the green color of the apples. 

Salt is a must-use ingredient in this Barefoot Contessa pie

Think putting salt in the filling of an apple pie is odd? Considering skipping it? Don’t. Not only is Garten a proponent of always following recipes exactly but the addition of salt in this pie is key. The best-selling cookbook author explained why as she added a teaspoon of kosher salt to the filling. 

“I know it’s surprising to put salt in a pie but it really brings out the flavor of the spices and the apples,” she said. 

So don’t skip it. If that’s not enough of a reason, know that people often misuse salt in Garten’s opinion.

How to make Ina Garten’s Deep-Dish Apple Pie

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The Barefoot Contessa starts this pie recipe by preparing the filling. Once that’s done, Garten moves on to the crust. She uses her foolproof pie crust recipe to make the base and the top.

Using a rolling pin to transfer the crust to the pie plate, the Food Network star is careful not to stretch it to fit. Otherwise, it will shrink back in the pan as it bakes.

Then the filling goes in followed by the top. Garten crimps the bottom and top crusts together to ensure none of the juices leak out. After applying an egg wash and a dusting of sugar, she makes slits in the top to let steam escape. The pie bakes in the oven for a little over an hour then it’s ready to eat.  

Ingredients for the Barefoot Contessa’s Deep Dish Apple Pie: 

  • 4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Perfect Pie Crust, recipe follows
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Perfect Pie Crust:

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water