This Upside-Down Apple Pecan Pie won our holiday pie recipe contest

Southern Kitchen
Upside Down Apple Pie

About the recipe

This clever recipe comes courtesy of Southern Kitchen reader Joann Conway, who won our holiday pie recipe contest. Conway said she was first inspired to make the pie while traveling and picking up a free booklet containing a similar recipe. “I believe it was in North Carolina,” she wrote in an email. “The upside-down technique intrigued me.”

The original recipe, by Elizabeth Deer, was a winner of the North Carolina Consumer Apple Recipe contest in 2004. Conway, however, has upped the molasses flavor by using all brown sugar and increased the ooey-gooey sauce by adding more butter to the base. Home-mixed apple pie spice also helped to build flavor and a lighter touch with the pecans makes for a more elegant presentation. We also chose to bake the pie for over an hour to ensure a crisp crust and ultra-tender apples.

It turns out that upside-down apple pie is a sleeper hit in recipe contests. It first made an appearance in the 1951 Pillsbury Bake-Off using, of course, Pillsbury Pie Crust, and a corn syrup-filled sauce. This style of pie has also made an appearance, topped with a crumbly chopped pecan sauce, in Southern Living and Taste of Home, where it gets a sugary cinnamon roll-inspired glaze over the top.

Serves: 8

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cups pecan halves plus 1/3 cup chopped pecans

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Cream Cheese Pie Dough, or other pie dough for a double-crust pie, both halves rolled into 10-inch rounds

6 Rome apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Use your hands or a rubber spatula to spread the butter across the bottom of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Arrange the pecan halves in the pie plate and gently press into the butter. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the brown sugar over the pecans and press firmly to adhere to the butter and pecans.

Place one the rounds of pie dough over the brown sugar and press into the sides of the pie plate. Leave additional overhanging crust in place for now.

Combine the remaining brown sugar with the apples, chopped pecans, lemon juice, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Toss gently to combine. Spoon the apple filling on top of the first layer of pie dough and spread to an even layer. Place the top crust over the apples.

Trim the edges of both layers of pie dough so that there is about 1 inch of crust overhanging. Fold the top layer of crust over the bottom to seal. Crimp the edges, if desired. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until the apples are tender and the crust is crisp and browned, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Place a large platter over the top of the pie and very carefully flip the pie out onto the platter so that the pecans and sugar syrup are on top. Serve.