I love all things sweet: cookies, candy, cake, donuts, pie. I love baking, too. This Thanksgiving, just like last years, I elected myself the baker. (I jump at any chance to bake; that way I can eat some of the dough or batter before it goes in the oven!)

This apple pie, hands down, is the best pie I’ve ever made. I haven’t actually baked that many pies (there are so many different desserts to bake!), but still, this thing was awesome. Why was it so good? Believe it or not, it was my lack of proper kitchen utensils and general carelessness that led to this delicious pie.

This apple pie can be made with this recipe (and this pie crust) and the following 5 baking blunders:

1) Cut the dough with a potato masher. Since I didn’t have a pastry cutter, the masher seemed like the next best thing. Now, a potato masher can only combine flour with butter so well. Result? The huge lumps of butter left in the dough were much bigger than “pea-size” (what the recipe had called for) leading to an even flaker and fluffier crust.

2) Use the wrong ingredients. When baking, one shouldn’t go modifying the recipe willy-nilly. That’s for cooking. Ah, but I didn’t have any McIntosh apples. Honeycrisps would have to do. Yes, they’re super sweet and most pie recipes recommend all tart apples, but who cares? I threw in Honeycrisps, a Fuji, the couple Granny Smiths I did have and called it a pie. Also, I substituted cloves for allspice ’cause they’re pretty much the same, I think.

3) Use a vodka bottle as a rolling pin. (This was intentional.) If you bake pies as often as I do–once or twice a year–what’s the necessity of a giant wooden rolling pin when a SKYY Vodka bottle works just as well? Besides, a SKYY bottle isn’t a single-purpose tool, it makes great pie crusts and great happy hours.

4) Smear the beaten egg white on the pie shell with your hands. Yes, it says to brush the egg white (this is what gives a pie its golden shine) on the pie shell with a brush, but I didn’t have one of those. There’s really no substitue for a brush. A spoon, maybe, but heck, I didn’t have time for that painstaking nonsense. I just scooped that globby stuff up and smeared it on the pie crust with my fingers. The upside to the hand method is this: a brush applies a light coat to the crust; hands, however, have only enough finesse to glob it on, meaning that pie top is doused in egg white. Result? A wonderfully crisp and firm pie shell.

5) Bake the pie at the wrong temperature. I forget to reduce the heat halfway through the baking time, as the recipe had instructed. Instead, I baked the pie at a toasty 425°F for nearly an hour. Fifteen minutes before it should have been done, a quick peek in the oven revealed the crust was already a deep golden brown. I thought, well, this is weird, this pie’s gonna burn, so I decided to take the pie out early. (It wasn’t like my pie had raw chicken in it.) Result? The apples were cooked through just fine. The shell–this is the good part–turned out crispy on the outside, yet still soft on the inside, especially in the thick part that rings the edge. Sooo goooood.

Here’s a review of the pie in the words of my friend and Thanksgiving dinner cohort, Kyle: “This is f—ing awesome.”

Yes, it was one badass apple pie. ☼