In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, this Apple Schnitz Pie recipe is a very common Amish church pie. When I was a little girl, growing up in the Amish church, we had Schnitz pie with almost every church meal, which was every other Sunday.
Our traditional church meal consisted of bread, buns, and Amish peanut butter (find the recipe here), meat, cheese, pickles, and this Apple Schnitz pie. In later years, we more often had cookies instead of pie. I guess cookies were probably easier to make and could be made ahead of time.
Apple Schnitz Recipe for church dinner
On the Saturday morning before hosting church at our house, the ladies got up early to bake enough Schnitz pies to feed close to two hundred people. I don't remember exactly, but I think we used to bake twenty to thirty Amish pies. That's a lot of work, and we didn't want to bake them too far ahead. So that Saturday was always a very busy day with baking, cleaning, and getting all the last-minute work done to get ready for church at our house.
What is Schnitz?
Schnitz is slices of dried fruit, especially sliced dried apples. I believe the word Schnitz comes from German, meaning to carve or slice. So Apple Schnitz simply means sliced dried apples. Some people also spell it as Snitz Pie.
Sometimes my mom made this pie using apple butter and apple sauce instead of dried apples. We still called it Schnitz pie. It tasted very similar and was faster to put together.
But Pennsylvania Dutch Schnitz pie is typically an Amish apple pie made with cooked dried apples and spices. The filling is the consistency of thick apple butter.
I love this Schnitz pie recipe and it brings back childhood memories of eating church dinner.
How to make Apple Schnitz
I love dried apples, and sometimes you can find them in a big bag at bulk food stores. But around here it is hard to find dried apples in bulk. So I dried my own apples to make this Apple Schnitz pie recipe.
You will need a food dehydrator unless you have figured out how to freeze dry apples. I have not tried freeze-drying yet. I just use a dehydrator that I found years ago at a garage sale.
It's very easy to make your own dried apples, and my kids practically fight over them. Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples. I never measure my slices, but I think they are probably around 1/4" thick. Dip the slices in lemon water (add approximately 1/4 cup lemon juice to about 2 or 3 quarts of water). Pour the apple slices into a strainer and drain. Arrange in a single layer on your dehydrator racks. It takes several hours to dehydrate them. Exactly how long it takes to dry the apples will depend on your drier.
But drying food is a great way to preserve it for a long time.
Schnitz Pie Recipe
To make this Apple Schnitz pie (or Apple Snitz Pie, however you want to spell it), soak the dried apples in the water for several hours. I soaked mine overnight. Then cook the soaked apples in the same water until softened. I cooked mine for approximately twenty-five minutes on medium heat. Stir them occasionally and if there's not enough water in the bottom, add a bit more water.
The recipe I was following says to rub the soft apples through a colander. And I am guessing that the Amish probably do it like that if they don't have electrical appliances. But I just mashed mine in my Ninja chopper until it was a smooth consistency. Add sugar and spices and pour the filling into an eight-inch pastry shell.
Before you place your top crust on, get a cup of cold water and dip your fingers into the water. Run your wet fingers around the top edge of the bottom crust. You just want the rim a little moistened so that the top crust sticks better to the bottom, creating a good seal.
Poke a few holes (or cut a fancy design) into your top crust. Place it on the top and lightly press the edges together to seal the pie. Cut off any overhang and crimp the edges.
Bake your Schnitz pies in the bottom half of the oven (Not on the very bottom, position your rack just below the middle) for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 30 - 35 minutes.
Store in the refrigerator for up to several days.
Schnitz Pie Recipe Amish
This is an old-time classic Pennsylvania Dutch pie recipe. I honestly don't know if the Amish in other communities eat Apple Schnitz pie. But this is a very common pie in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And if you ever find yourself visiting that area look for an Amish bakery and try their Schnitz pie. And also their Shoofly pie. These are two unique and delicious Amish pies.
More Amish Pie Recipes
Amish Apple Schnitz Pie Recipe
- 2 - 3 c. dried tart apples
- 1 1/2 - 2 c. warm water
- scant 2/3 c. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- pastry for 2 (8 inches) pie crusts
- Soak dried apples in 1 1/2 c. warm water for several hours or overnight.
- Cook apples in the water they were soaked in.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- When the apples are soft rub them through a colander, or chop in your blender or food chopper until smooth.
- Add sugar and spices. Mix.
- Put mixture into an 8" unbaked pie shell. Moisten the edges with cold water.
- Poke several holes into your second crust. Cover pie with top crust. Seal edges by lightly pressing together and crimp.
- For beautiful browning, brush the top with cream or beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° and continue baking for another 30 - 35 minutes.
- Yield: 1 pie (8 inch)