I wish I could think of a wittier intro than “a blog post as American as apple pie,” but hey, there you have it.
This is the first pie recipe I ever made and is what got me on my one-pie-a-week kick (not sure how I’m not 500 lbs yet). I’ll let my mom and my younger brother decide who gets the credit for this recipe, but since my mom is a regular reader here, the credit is tilting in her favor. The recipe has changed a little bit from how I first encountered it, but this is a favorite of mine and its about that time of year when this is an appropriate dessert to be making. The crust is light and flaky, the filling is sweet and spiced (not tart), and the topping is nutty and crunchy. In short, this is not your mother’s apple pie (since it’s my mom’s *rimshot* This is the corny intro that just keeps on giving)! This is also my entry in Apple Day, hosted by Zorra over at Kochtopf.
- All butter pie crust
- 6 apples (I use Gala)
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp of granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp of flour
- juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- 1 tsp of cinammon
- optional: 1/2-1 tsp of nutmeg (some people really hate nutmeg, but I like the flavor it adds)
- Streusel topping:
- 1/2 – 1.5 cups of walnuts (if you like having the crumbly topping, use the full amount. If you’re not a huge nut person, use the small amount)
- 1/2 a stick of softened butter
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 4 Tbsp of dark brown sugar
First, the most laborious part of making any pie (in my opinion): prepare your crust, form a ball out of it, and let it sit in the fridge so it can recuperate from all of that handling.
Now, let’s move on to the filling. I like using Gala apples because while it may be more common to have a tart or sour apple, I’m a bigger fan of the sweet apple pie. The more sour apples can give you a pie that will really pucker your mouth and that’s just not for me. Gala apples share this vision of sweet apple pies–save the tartness for an apple tart! Anyways, go with whatever appeals to you. Then, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, cinammon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. The lemon juice does two nice things for you–it adds a certain “fresh” flavor and keeps your apples from oxidizing into an ugly brown, stale color.
Now, the second most laborious part of this pie: peel, core, and cut your apples into wedges. You don’t want to dice your apples super thin, because then they’ll just mush down into not-quite-apple-sauce, which is not an appealing texture for an apple pie. Likewise for making your slices too thick–they’ll stay too firm. So shoot for like 1/4-1/2 inch wedges. As you toss the apple wedges in with all of the other ingredients, you’ll notice that the dry mixture will get a little wet–this is called “macerating.” By simply letting the apples sit with the sugar, they’re coaxed to release their own juices and form a nice syrup. So just toss everything for a few minutes until it is nice and syrupy and everything is coated nicely. No dry spots!
With the filling all ready to go, preheat your oven to 350? and take your ball o’ crust out of the fridge. We’re going to use a 9-inch diameter pie pan so you’ll want to roll your crust out kind of thin. The idea is that you’re going to want some extra crust dangling over the sides of your dish so that you can loosely wrap that over the top edges of the pie. You shouldn’t totally cover the top of the pie though (after all, we have the streusel!)–just the edges. So lay your crust out in your pie dish, patch any problem areas (you don’t want the syrup to leak out!), and add your filling, being sure to get all of that syrup in there as well. Try to spread the filling out so that it is somewhat even–you don’t want any unnecessarily tall mounds. Then, lay your extra crust out over the edges of your pie and place it in the oven for an hour.
While the pie crust and filling are baking, now let’s get to the streusel. “Streusel” comes from German, meaning “something scattered or sprinkled” and it sounds so much fancier than “crumble” or “topping.” Coarsely chop up your walnuts (I give them two pulses in the food processor) and then mix well with the remaining ingredients. The butter will help the flour and sugar stick to it. Place this mixture in the fridge–you want that butter to firm up again so that you have a crumble and not just oily walnuts.
When the hour of baking is done, take your pie out of the oven and your streusel out of the fridge. Crumble and spread the streusel over the top of the pie. At this point, you might want to drizzle/brush a little bit of milk over the top of your pie and sprinkle some granulated sugar over the top for a nice shimmer. Don’t you want your pie to glitter with artery clogging sweetness from the other side of the room? (Hint: yes) After that, simply return your pie to the oven for an additional 30 minutes to crisp up the topping.
When time is up, remove from the oven and let it cool off for about an hour–resist the urge to jump into it right away. I enjoy eating mine warm with either a scoop of ice cream or a plop of whipped cream. Enjoy!