Marjorie Johnson’s Toffee Walnut Apple Pie

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Famed Minnesota baker Marjorie Johnson added another notch to her already heavily notched belt this weekend by triumphing over four other finalists in Kitchen Window‘s Emile Henry pie bake-off. Her winning recipe was a classic apple pie with a twist, a subtle, quiet recipe with a mellow balance that grows ever-more delicious with each bite. The crust uses lard and butter; the filling features Heath toffee bits and walnuts.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

(You can read our account of the pie contest and the five-course wine dinner that followed here.)

Marjorie Johnson’s Toffee Walnut Apple Pie
Courtesy of Marjorie Johnson and Kitchen Window

Pie Crust Ingredients

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
½ cup cold lard
¼ cup butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
5-6 Tbsp ice water

Toffee Walnut Apple Pie Filling Ingredients

6 cups peeled, sliced apples
1 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup Heath toffee bits
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp butter

Pie Crust

1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Cut in lard and butter until they are the size of small peas.
3. Combine vinegar or lemon juice and 5 tablespoons of the ice water.
4. Sprinkle water mixture over flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing together lightly with a fork until all the flour is moistened. If needed add the other tablespoon of water.
5. Gather dough into a ball and divide into two equal parts. Flatten each part into a  6-inch pancake size. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
6. Roll out one part 2 inches larger than a 9-inch pie pan.
7. Place dough over the rolling pin and place in pie plate. Ease dough into pie plate, trimming crust to around the edge.
8. Put in filling.


1. Toss apples in a bowl with the lemon juice.
2. Combine sugar, salt, flour and cinnamon  and combine with apples.
3. Fold in the toffee bits and walnuts.
4. Spoon into a unbaked pastry lined pie plate.
5. Dot top of pie with bits of butter.
6. Cover with rolled out pie crust. Crimp edges.
7. Bake at 400° F for 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent over browning of pie.
8. Cool on wire rack.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table


  1. KTFoley

    Were the directions for the pie crust cut out to save space? I’m curious as to what Ms. Johnson did with the lemon juice there.

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