Just before Thanksgiving (can you believe its already been almost a month??), I conducted the Pie crust test. Well, I needed to do something with all those pie crusts I made. It was fall, and apples were everywhere. All different types were available in my local produce section, and I do not really are for Granny Smith apples, they just seem a bit too tart and they stay too hard for my taste. I wanted a nice apple, something that would not be too terribly juicy (nobody wants a soggy bottom, especially on pie!), and that would not totally turn to mush as it baked. I decided to go for a mixture, so I bought a few of each. I know, I know. I am going a bit overboard. But really, if you never made an apple pie before, and your best person to call is in another time zone, and your second best can’t remember, you have to wing it. I got home with my bags o’apples, and after washing them, cut one of each type and tried it. Seven varieties of apples. S-E-V-E-N. That’s more apples than anyone should eat in one day. Thankfully, I have birds that love them! After tasting, I settled on two: Jonagold, and Cameo. To be honest, I was still winging it…I based my choices on juiciness and texture. They all tasted pretty much the same to me. They were both really nice and crisp, but neither was super juicy, which is good (No soggy bottoms!), and while the Jonagold was a bit tart, the Cameo, which I might add was a really beautiful, rustic looking apple, was a bit sweeter. I know they would taste good together because, like all eccentrics, I took a bit of each and chewed them together. Duh. How else was I going to find out?
I got to baking, peeling, and coring, and slicing, plopped it all in the unbaked crust, and then realized I didn’t make a double recipe. After quite literally hitting my head against the wall, it came to me.
I have eaten a LOT of frozen apple pie in my
short life. Inspired by frozen pie, I strapped my ice-pack onto my head and whipped up a batch of streusel topping. Oh yes I did. It was 10pm and I did not want to wait another hour for another sheet of dough to chill okay. I admit it. I was lazy. And tired, don’t forget tired. I slapped the topping on and slid it into the oven, sat down to catch the news, and promptly fell asleep.
I had a dream about sleep, I was that tired. Luckily, the dog barked and I didn’t burn the pie! I knew she’d be more than a hyper cuddle monster someday. While I was thrilled to have it come out of the oven, I couldn’t bring myself to cut it hot and ruin the experience. I dragged myself to bed, house smelling of apple pie and puppy breath, and looked forward to morning (after all, pie for breakfast is not just relegated to quiche).
Here’s how I did it:
- 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 lb. Cameo apples
- 1 lb. Jonagold apples
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice (that bottled stuff if its all you have available in a pinch)
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt (1/8 tsp. if you only have table salt)
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. cold butter cut into small pieces
- 1 pie crust (unbaked)
- For Streusel topping:
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Peel, core, and slice apples. You don't want to leave them too thin, or they will just turn to applesauce, so leave them about ⅛" to no more than ¼" thick.
- Add lemon juice to apples and toss to coat. Like soggy bottoms, nobody wants brown apple pie. At least not made with brown apples.
- In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, kosher salt and nutmeg. Mix well, and add to apples, tossing to coat evenly.
- Layer apples neatly in unbaked pie crust, until full, and slightly mounded in the center.
- Dot the apples with the cold butter.
- If using traditional crust, cover the apples with your top crust, and pinch, flute, or decorate the edges how you like. Don't forget to cut a ventilation hole in the middle!
- If using the streusel topping: combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, water and butter and mix until crumbly.
- Carefully sprinkle topping over apples, covering them in a nice even layer.
- Place pie on baking sheet, and put on center rack of the oven.
- Bake at 400° F for 60-70 minutes or until crust and topping is browned, and juices are bubbling.
- Cool completely before cutting.