My dear and darling sister Josie just gave me a rather lovely compliment about my pie-baking abilities. While I will happily accept the praise, the real credit should go to my mum. When we were growing up, she spent several glorious months baking an apple pie a week, experimenting with different recipes and apple types until we unanimously declared that this was THE pie. The pie for all of your apple-iest desires. It is really quite wonderful. I think she found it in a Woman's Day or Family Circle or other such magazine circa 1992. Whatever the source, I still have not encountered an apple pie that I like better, and so I wanted to share it with you!
Apple Crunch Pie
1 pie crust (my favorite recipe follows)
For the Crumb Topping
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced small
- 7 medium sized granny smith apples (you can mix in other varieties if you like)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2. To make the crumb topping, mix together the flour, sugars, and cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Use a pastry knife to cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
3. To make the filling, peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut in 1/4 inch thick slices (I know that seems thin, but it works!) and place in a large bowl. Toss with the lemon juice. Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl, sprinkle over the apples and toss to coat.
4. Layer the apples in the pie shell, trying to make most of the slices lie flat, and mounding them higher in the center. Gently drop the crumble topping over the apples.
5. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes longer. I usually have to cover the pie with foil at some point after the first 15 minutes to keep the crumble for burning, so keep an eye on it.
6. Remove the pie from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
My Favorite Pie Crust
(from The New Best Recipe)
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 4-5 tablespoons ice water
1. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the shortening and cut in with a pastry knife until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and cut in with a pastry knife until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas.
2. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix. Press down on the dough with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if the dough will not come together. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before rolling.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator (if refrigerated more than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a nine-inch pie plate and crimp the edges. Refrigerate while you assemble the rest of the pie components.