For me, Fall is aaaaall about apples. This Cinnamon Pie with Apple Cider Meringue is just what I needed!
This Cinnamon Pie with Apple Cider Meringue has a flaky pastry crust filled with a cinnamon cream cheese filling, piled high with apple cider meringue, then topped with homemade apple chips! This unique pie is perfect all Fall long!
Here's everything you need for this pie, as well as some explanations as to why I chose to use some of the ingredients. You can find the amounts for all the ingredients in the recipe card, below.
Pie Crust Ingredients
- Flour - Provides structure for the crust. I used all-purpose flour.
- Vegetable Shortening or Unsalted Butter - For moisture and a flaky texture. You want your shortening or butter to be cold. I like an all-butter crust as much as the next gal, but sometimes I prefer shortening because it's so much easier to work with the dough, and the dough will keep it's shape better when baked. The butter, of course, has more flavor. If you're curious about a better-quality shortening option, check out the kind that I use here. It's organic, fair-trade certified, and only uses sustainable palm oil.
- Egg - For moisture and making the crust more pliable and easier to roll out.
- White Vinegar - To help prevent the formation of gluten, so your pie crust will be more tender.
Cinnamon Filling Ingredients
- Cream Cheese - For flavor and creamy texture. I used full-fat cream cheese. You want your cream cheese to be at room temperature so that your filling will mix well with the other ingredients and have a smooth texture.
- Brown Sugar - For sweetness and a slight molasses flavor.
- Eggs - For thickening and structure for the pie. The eggs also lend the pie an extra smooth and rich texture. The eggs should be at room temperature.
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - Softens the texture of the pie and adds moisture. You want the cream to be at room temperature.
- Flour - For structure for the pie filling. The flour helps to ensure that the pie doesn't crack and makes the pie easier to slice cleanly. I used all-purpose flour.
- Ground Cinnamon - For flavor.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For flavor. I love the flavor of vanilla bean paste, so I couldn’t resist adding some to the filling (and the meringue)! If you’d rather substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
- Salt - To balance and enhance the flavors of the pie.
Apple Cider Meringue Ingredients
- Egg Whites - The main component in the meringue, the egg whites get light and fluffy when whipped.
- Sugar - For sweetness, and helps to stabilize the meringue so that it doesn't collapse.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For flavor. If you'd rather substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
- Salt - To balance and enhance the flavors of the meringue.
- Reduced Apple Cider - For flavor. You want to use reduced (or "boiled") cider. This allows for more flavor with less liquid, which is important as too much liquid can collapse the meringue. You can buy boiled cider, but it's pricey, especially if you don't have multiple recipes to use it in. Your best bet is to reduce apple cider yourself (details in the recipe card).
Apple Chips Ingredients
- Apples - Can't have apple chips without them. 😉 I used Granny Smith apples since they would complement the super sweet meringue, but you can use whatever apples you prefer.
- Ground Cinnamon - For flavor.
Here are step-by-step instructions and some process photos to help you see how the pie comes together! Additional details are included in the recipe card and notes, below.
Making the Pie Crust
Combine the flour and shortening or butter and cut the butter in until no large pieces remain.
Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the flour mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms. Chill for at least one hour.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface large enough to fit your pie plate.
Line the pie plate with the dough, then place the lined pie plate and chill while you prepare the filling.
Making the Cinnamon Filling
This filling is so smooth and creamy because of it's cream cheese base, and has fantastic depth of flavor from the cinnamon!
Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and combine.
Add cream and mix to combine.
Add flour, ground cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Mix to combine.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.
Bake until filling is set around the edges, but still jiggles in the center.
Making the Apple Cider Meringue
This looks like any old meringue, but you won't believe the flavor! The reduced cider gives the meringue fantastic apple flavor that complements the cinnamon pie filling so well!
Whisk egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, warm the mixture to 160° F.
Whip to soft peaks. Add the vanilla bean paste, then gradually add the reduced cider and whip to medium-stiff peaks.
Pipe or spoon the meringue on top of the chilled pie.
Making the Apple Chips
- Cut apples into thin slices, about ⅛" thick, and lay in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake apples for about an hour. Turn the pan around, then bake another 1-1½ hours, or until apples are crisp.
Instead of White Vinegar - If you don't have white vinegar, you can substitute another vinegar, but be sure to consider taste. Apple cider vinegar would be a good fit, but your aged balsamic would lend a strange flavor.
Instead of Vanilla Bean Paste - If you prefer not to use vanilla bean paste, you can substitute with one vanilla bean or an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Here are a few meringue variations for a slightly different flavor profile:
Cinnamon meringue - Instead of the reduced apple cider, add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the meringue for an all-cinnamon treat!
Vanilla bean meringue - Instead of the reduced apple cider, add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the meringue. The meringue will have beautiful black flecks of vanilla bean throughout and the flavor complements the cinnamon filling so well!
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Pastry Blender - While a pastry blender isn’t necessary to cut in the shortening/butter, it does make the job faster and easier.
Parchment Paper - Lining the baking sheet with parchment when making the apple chips makes cleanup much easier!
Because of the cream cheese in this pie, it should be stored in the refrigerator. The pie will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to four days. The meringue will be best in the first two days, as it starts to dry out and get gummy over time.
You can also freeze this pie (minus the meringue)! Bake and cool the pie completely, then wrap well. The pie can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight (8-12 hours).
A cracked pie isn't the end of the world, especially when it's going to be covered with meringue, but it will have prettier slices if it doesn't crack. A few tips: Make sure your oven is appropriately preheated, take the pie out of the oven before it's completely set, and allow the pie to cool slowly (let it come to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator).
Other Recipes You May Like
Cinnamon Pie with Apple Cider Meringue
- 1½ cups flour
- 10 Tbsps vegetable shortening (or unsalted butter), cold (see note)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar (see note)
- 2 Tbsps water, cold
Apple Cider Meringue
Cinnamon Apple Chips (optional)
- 2 small apples (I used Fuji)
- ground cinnamon
For Pie Crust
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour and vegetable shortening or butter. Using a pastry blender (see note) or fork, cut shortening (or butter) in until no large pieces remain.
- In a small bowl, combine egg, vinegar, and cold water. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly into a ball. Form the dough into a disc, wrap, and chill for at least one hour.
- After the dough has chilled, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface large enough to fit your pie plate. Line the pie plate with the dough, then place the lined pie plate in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.
- Preheat your oven to 350°. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, at least three minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate before adding the next. Add cream and mix to combine.
- Add flour, ground cinnamon, vanilla bean paste (see note), and salt. Mix to combine.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust, and set the pie plate on a baking sheet (this prevents spillage into the oven and makes the pie easier to move to/from the oven).
- Bake until filling is set around the edges, but still jiggles in the center, about 35 minutes. Allow pie to slowly come to room temperature to avoid cracks in the filling (see notes). Cover the pie and chill completely.
For Cider Meringue
- In a large heatproof bowl, whisk egg whites, sugar, and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, taking care that the water doesn't touch the bowl.
- Whisking constantly, warm the mixture to 160° F, about 8-10 minutes.
- Carefully transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip using the whisk attachment until it reaches soft peaks. Add the vanilla bean paste (see note). Turn the mixer on low and gradually add the reduced cider (taking care not to deflate the whites).
- Increase the mixer speed and continue to whip meringue until it reaches medium-stiff peaks. Pipe or spoon the meringue on top of the chilled pie.
For Apple Chips
- Preheat oven to 200° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut apples into thin slices, about ⅛" thick, and lay in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake apples for about an hour. Turn the pan around, then bake another 1-1½ hours, or until apples are crisp. Place apple chips on top of the meringue. Enjoy!