We’re gearing up for the Thankfully long weekend holiday. Our family is heading to Chattanooga where we have big plans to run the Turkey Gobbler race on Thanksgiving morning and drink whiskey slushies in the evening. I spent yesterday cooking my contributions to the weekend: French chocolate granola, the various components for two apple crumb pies (to be assembled and baked there), plain granola, and caramel popcorn. By evening I felt sickish from too many tastes.
About those apple crumb pies. I’ve always been a sucker for a two-crust apple pie—up until now, it’s been my standby. But a few weeks ago I decided I simply must have an apple crumb pie. Not having one in my repertoire felt like a moral shortcoming of unforgivable proportions. After a bit of digging around, I settled on this recipe. (I’m not sure where it is from. Perhaps Epicurious? Do forgive.)
What’s delightful about this topping is that the crumbs don’t melt into a lid of slimy sog. Perhaps this is because the topping calls for lots of nuts which help the topping hold up against the satiny apples and crispy-golden pastry. At first, some of my kids turned up their noses about the nuts, but I kept making the pies (I think I’ve made about six so far) and eventually they got over their silly hang-ups.
I never thought I would say this about a pie, but I actually think this one is better after it sits for a day or so. It gets deeper, or something. More luscious, but in a comforting sort of way. In other words, make two. Apple pie makes an excellent breakfast.
Apple Crumb Pie
I always make two pies at time, so I double the crumb topping. Even if you’re only making one pie, I recommend doubling the crumbs. They freeze well, and then your next pie is that much closer to becoming a reality.
To measure your apples, slice them into the empty pie plate. The apples will cook down in the oven, so the raw apples ought to mound up high above the plate. Once you have enough apples, dump the slices into a bowl, rinse and dry the pie plate, and proceed with the recipe.
for the pastry:
½ recipe rich butter pastry
Line a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with the pastry and crimp the edges. Place the lined pie plate in the fridge while readying the remaining components.
for the filling:
5-8 large apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
½ to ¾ cup white sugar
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 slightly rounded teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Stir together the flour, sugar, and spices before tossing with the apples. Arrange the apples into the pastry-lined pie plate. Pack them in—you want to eliminate air pockets and mound the apples high.
for the crumb topping:
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cup chopped walnuts
6 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon salt
Using your fingers, cut the butter into the other ingredients. Distribute the crumbs over the apples (don’t pack them).
Bake the pie on the lowest oven rack (to make sure the bottom crust browns) at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes before reducing the temperature to 350 degrees and baking for another 20-30 minutes. If the crust starts to get too brown, cover the top with foil. The pie is done when it is golden brown all over and the juices are bubbling merrily. (Merrily bubbling juices are important. If the juices don’t bubble, then the flour in the filling won’t cook and the pie will taste floury.) When you first pull the pie from the oven, it will be puffy high, but as it cools, the apples will settle and sink.
This same time, years previous: apple raisin bran muffins, how to use up Thanksgiving leftovers in 10 easy steps, sock curls, candid crazy, a Thanksgiving walk, ushering in the fun, right now, pasta with creamy pumpkin sauce, apple rum cake, chocolate pots de crème, and pumpkin pie.