Recipe: Apple Crumb Pie

If I had to make a list of the top 100 things I loved in this world, I think that below my family, friends, cats, health, my iPhone, my KitchenAid, and a handful of personal belongings would be "Pie For Breakfast."

To me, Pie for Breakfast, is the ultimate breakfast spurge (which I indulge in anytime there is pie in the house). It's sweet and fruity and makes you feel like you're breaking the food laws without doing anything too terrible. And when I think harder about it, pie probably isn't the worse thing you could eat for breakfast. A giant stack of french toast or donuts are probably way more calories than a slice of pie. And at least pie has a little fruit mixed in? I feel like that has to count for SOMETHING. But what do I know, and I honestly don't care very much. Everyone deserves pie for breakfast every once and a while. It's important for your self care.

So today we are getting back to basics with an apple pie. I wanted something that would be a cross between an apple pie and an apple crisp, which is make usual go-to use for apples. So we're making a pretty standard apple pie and adding a crumbly top. Win-win all around!

Apple Crumb Pie

Yields 8 slices
Crust recipe via The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Crust:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice

Filling:
3 medium tart apples (like Granny Smiths)
4 medium sweet apples (like a Honey Crisps or McIntosh)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Topping:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup quick oats
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crust: Sift together flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces into the flour mixture and using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour. Work quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain (a few larger pieces are okay, don't overwork). 

Combine the water, ice, and vinegar into a mixing cup. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of liquid over the flour mixture and cut it in with the pastry blender until fully incorporated. Add more of the liquid, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, using the pastry blender or your hands until the dough comes together. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.

Let's make a pie: Roll dough on lightly floured work surface to a 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9 1/2-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of pie plate and unfolding. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place; refrigerate dough-lined pie plate for 10-15 minutes. While the pie is chilling, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Core, peel, and slice all the apples and add in a large bowl with lemon juice (so not to brown). Add sugar, spices, salt, lemon zest, and flour to the apples and mixture until apples are evenly coated. Remove dough from the refrigerator and begin adding and evenly layering apples. Apples should fill the pie plate slightly below the lip of the plate. Flute edges of the crust.

In a large bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture. Add handfuls of the mixture on top of the apples squeezing it and crumbling it as you go. Cover all the apples evenly.

Place pie on a baking sheet and place on the bottom rack in a 425-degree oven for 20-25 until the crust is just starting to set and brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the filling is slightly bubbling. Cool pie on a wire rack for 2-3 hours.

Recipe: Apple Crisp

Have I ever told you that I'm a terrible cook? I can make donuts and cakes no problem and pride myself in being able to whip up a really great creme brûlée, but cooking just never seems to turn out right. I try to taste as I go and I follow the recipe in front of me, but I'm rarely excited by anything I cook. But with the heavy snow a few weeks ago + living on a small street in Philadelphia that's low on the plow list, I suggested we stay in and cook at home even though that makes me uneasy. We kept it simple: pasta, Italian chicken sausage, a salad, and apple crisp. Why apple crisp? Because A) I always have 90% of the ingredients on-hand, B) It's one of my favorite desserts and everyone likes it, and C) if dinner is a disaster, at least we have apple crisp we can smother in ice cream and forget about it.

All in all, nothing with dinner was a disaster (because it was pasta, even I can manage that), we ate at my dining room table and I remembered to light the candles, and then we promptly devoured half this pan of apple crisp. Done deal. 

Apple Crisp

Yields 6–8 servings

For filling:
4 apples (2 granny smiths, 4 honey crisps), sliced
1 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

For topping:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup quick oats
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9x9 inch glass baking pan.

Mix sliced apples with flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar until apples are coated. Set aside. In a medium sized bowl, mix melted butter and vanilla with flour, oats, and brown sugar. Add apples to the greased baking pan and even them out. Using your fingers, crumb the topping into small pieces over the top of the apples. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and apples tender. Top with ice cream and maybe a little caramel sauce. Eat leftovers for breakfast.

Recipe: Apple Galette

It's the time of year when everyone goes pumpkin crazy. I'm honestly surprised they don't have a pumpkin aisle in Trader Joe's because they must have released 45 pumpkin flavored things this year. Don't get me wrong, I like pumpkin, but that's like whoa. Not kidding that I saw pumpkin spice chicken sausage at the supermarket this week. THAT SOUNDS SO BAD. We've taken it too far. Let's just save the pumpkin for baked goods and coffee, okay? Can we be decent and do that?

With pumpkin getting all the Fall hype lately, what about the apple? There was a time when Fall also meant celebrating the apple. Apple pie, Carmel apples, Jewish apple cake, just simply picking your own apples. But this weekend, there's no time to sit and make a whole pie. So we're making the quirky, fancier-than-it-really-is stepcousin, an apple galette! Easy to throw together. Impress your friends. Top it with ice cream and enjoy it with some pumpkin coffee.

Apple Galette

Yields 6-8 slices

  • 1 store-bought pie crust
  • 2 apples (1 granny smith, and 1 honey crisp)
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (or make an egg wash)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel, core, and slice your apples in thin slices. 

In a large bowl, mix sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix to combine. Add apples, add lemon juice, and toss until the apples are covered in the mixture. 

Roll out a pie crust onto a very lightly greased baking sheet. Arrange the apples in a circular pattern, starting from the center and working your way around. Leave 2 inches of crust around the outside for folding in the next step.

Fold the sides inward, working your way around the galette and overlapping slightly. Cut the tablespoons of butter into smaller chunks and sprinkle them around the tops of the apples. Brush the crust with maple syrup (or egg wash) and sprinkle a little sugar. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm!