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  1. Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    Crumble Apple Pie with Homemade All-Butter Crust and Two Streusel Topping Options

    I’m suddenly obsessed with making pies. I’ve made SIX in two weeks. My podcast chat with pie expert Kate Lebo really had an influence on my behavior apparently! Since I’ve got pie on the brain, this week I’m going to share the recipes for the three pies I made for Thanksgiving. They were all mighty good, so it’s only right I do some blog posts. Also, I don’t want to forget what I did so I can make them again myself. So, in the end, I guess I’m just being selfish. But at least you benefit, right? Today I’m kicking things off with Crumble Apple Pie.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Traditional apple pie with a double crust is good and all, but I really love crumble apple pies, you know the kind, with a crumbly streusel topping. Flaky crust on the bottom, buttery crunchy yumminess on top. The combo can’t be beat.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    I have made two crumble apple pies in the last two weeks, with two different streusel toppings. Honestly, our family can’t decide which we like better, so I’m going to give you both streusel recipes!

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynard

    A note about the apples: I discovered the best way ever to slice apples for pie. Peel the apple, then cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you’ll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into perfect, even-width apple slices. Slicing the apples went so quickly this way and it was a cinch getting the apple slices the same size as each other.

    How thick should the apples be? The thicker the slides the more bites of cooked apple pieces there will be in the pie. If you make the slices thinner, then there will be less apple chunks and the apples all kind of cook together into a delicious mess. I like thinner, personally, but I know other people love big chunks of apple. Do whatever makes your apple-pie-loving heart happy.

    Without further ado, Crumble Apple Pie with two streusel topping options. Oh, if you haven’t made homemade pie crust, do it! It’s the best and really not hard…promise.

    Crumble Apple Pie
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • ¼ cup white sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 pinches salt
    • 8 granny smith apples, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 pie crust (see recipe below)
    • Streusel Topping (see recipes below)
    1. Place 1 pie crust in a 9.75-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp the edges. Freeze pie crust for 30 minutes. (Please note: Kate's crust recipe is for a 9-inch pie plate, but it works for my 9.75-inch pie plates as well - the crust is thin, but not too thin and tastes great.)
    2. Preheat oven to 450º F.
    3. While crust is in the freezer and the oven is preheating, toss together brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch.
    4. Peel the apples. To slice, for each apple cut off the opposite sides of the apple, getting as close to the core as possible, then cut off the last two opposite sides, so you'll end up with 2 large half-apple pieces, and 2 smaller wedges. Turn those pieces on their flat side, then cut the apples into even slices. The thicker the slices, the more apple chunks there will be in the pie. (I like to go thin, it's a personal preference.)
    5. Toss the apples in the sugar mixture. Pile the apples into the pie plate, making the pile taller in the middle.
    6. Evenly spread the streusel topping over the top of the pie, packing it down and around the apples.
    7. Place the pie on a cookie sheet. Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350ºF and bake for about an additional hour, starting to check the pie around 40 minutes for doneness. Keep an eye on the streusel topping – if it starts to get too brown while baking, cover with foil, though this will probably not be a problem. Pie is done when a knife very easily pierces the pie. Do not undercook.
    8. Cool on a rack before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
    9. Can be stored, covered, at room temperature for 1-2 days. If you need to store it longer, refrigerate.
    10. You can also freeze the pie. Freeze fully cooked, uncut pies for up to 3 months. Let pie cool completely, wrap well, then freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator then reheat in a 350º oven for about 25 minutes until just warmed.

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #1

    Streusel Topping #1 for Crumb Apple Pie
    From Epicurious. This streusel topping is lighter and has more of a sandy texture. Describing it as "sandy" makes it sound not good, but that could not be more untrue. It's delicious!
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ¼ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes (Jane note: next time I'm going to try 8 tablespoons of butter just because I'm curious!)
    1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Add butter and blend together by hand with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a food processor except butter. Blend together. Add butter a few tablespoons at a time, pulsing the food processor, until mixture resembles wet sand.
    2. Top on an apple pie before baking (see recipe above).

    crumble apple pie with homemade pie crust and two streusel topping options by @janemaynardPictured here: Streusel Topping #2

    Streusel Topping #2 for Crumb Apple Pie
    Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." This streusel topping is a little heavier in texture than Streusel Topping #1 - it sort of "melts" more together, although melt is not really the right word. It's a bit butterier and not as crumbly. Equally delicious, just different!
    • 8 tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 pinches salt
    • ½ cup flour
    1. Mix all ingredients together with a pastry blender until evenly incorporated. Place on top of an apple pie (see recipe above).

    homemade pie crust recipe by kate lebo
    All-Butter Crust
    From "Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter" by Kate Lebo. Reprinted with permission.
    • 2½ cups flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) well-chilled unsalted butter
    1. Fill a spouted liquid measuring cup with about 1½ cups of water, plop in some ice cubes, and place it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have more water than you need for the recipe (which will probably use ½ cup or less) at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze the water or use all 1½ cups in the dough.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut ½- to 1-tablespoon pieces of butter and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
    3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat, until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky””mostly pea-size with some almond- and cherry-size pieces. The smaller bits should resemble coarse cornmeal.
    4. Take the water out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss to distribute the moisture. You’ll probably need to pour a little more water on and toss again. As you toss and the dough gets close to perfection, it will become a bit shaggy and slightly tacky to the touch. Press a small bit of the mixture together and toss it gently in the air. If it breaks apart when you catch it, add more water, toss to distribute the moisture, and test again. If the dough ball keeps its shape, it’s done. (When all is said and done, you’ll have added about â…“ to ½ cup water.)
    5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough in 2 roughly equal balls (if one is larger, use that for the bottom crust). Quickly form the dough into thick disks using your palms and thumbs. Wrap the disks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour to 3 days before rolling.
    6. Click here to read my (as in Jane's) instructions and photos for rolling out the pie crust.

    Click here to see my instructions and photos for rolling out pie crust.

  2. Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Swedish Apple Pie (a.k.a. Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie)

    I’m about to share a gem of a recipe with you. Seriously. It’s my new favorite apple pie recipe. So yummy and so easy.

    When my mother-in-law Pat was in town, she kept telling us how she was going to make us Swedish Apple Pie (which she did). She said it was a recipe from someone she knew named Grammy Dutton. I asked if Grammy Dutton was Swedish. Pat’s reply, with a laugh, was, “Not at all!” Apparently the real name for this recipe is “Grammy Dutton’s Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie.” But whenever Pat’s friends are looking for the recipe, they’ll ask for the Swedish Apple Pie recipe, and Pat will say, “The Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie recipe?” and then they’ll say, “Yeah, yeah, Swedish Apple Pie.” I guess this pie really wants to be Swedish. Because being Swedish is awesome. (That last sentence has nothing to do with the fact that I’m 3/4 Swedish, by the way.)

    Nomenclature aside, Nate and I both really loved this “pie.” I personally do think it’s better than traditional apple pie, but I’m sure there are people who would debate that point with me. But even those people would agree that this is a delicious dessert. The crust bakes on top of the pie and sort of seeps down into the apples in a super tasty, cobbler-like way, but it stays nice and crusty on top. Wow, that’s a terrible description for a really wonderful thing. You’ll just have to trust me. Plus, it’s way stinkin’ easier than making real pie crust. I’m all over easier!

    Swedish Apple Pie (a.k.a. Makes-Its-Own-Crust Apple Pie)
    From Pat Maynard who got the recipe from Grammy Dutton herself
    Recipe type: Dessert, Thanksgiving
    • Sliced apples, sliced but not too thin, peeled but you don’t have to be super meticulous about it (usually takes 4-7 apples, depending on the size of the apples - I start by slicing 4 apples, then slice more as needed)
    • About 1-2 Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar
    • 6 ounces (1½ sticks) melted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 beaten egg
    1. Fill a pie plate or any 8×8 casserole dish/pan with sliced apples. Only the center can be slightly above level with the top of dish or the topping will spill over the sides, so don’t get carried away. Sprinkle the apples with ~ 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.
    2. Mix together the butter, sugar, flour and egg. Pour evenly over apples, sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar if desired.
    3. Bake at 350 degrees F until deep golden brown - around 40-45 minutes or so.