Thursday, March 14, 2013

Apple Crumb Pie

Happy pi(e) day everyone! Since today is 3.14 it only makes sense that I share with you one of my favorite pies to make and one that everyone always seems to just love - apple pie! This pie is a classic, but the real question I have for you is crumb topping or crust topping? For me, I am a crumb girl through and through. There is just something about that brown sugar crumbly goodness that makes the apple pie, apple pie. Maybe it's the fact that you have to crack through it to get to the apples and cinnamon that gets me every time. I may never really able to tell you why I love the crumb, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't eat apple pie with a double crust. That would just be a silly reason not to eat pie. Ridiculous to be exact.

Today, I share with you my all time favorite recipe for apple pie. This apple pie is loaded with fresh and tart apples, cinnamon, lemon and topped high with crumb topping. If you realllllly wanted to do a lattice or double crust here you could, but just promise me you'll try this recipe just once. Then, if I still did not convince you with my crumb topping, then you can go back to the crusty goodness. Promise. Now, many people debate on which kind of apples to use. Fuji apples are my favorite to eat for a snack, but since they are so sweet, they would not be the best kind to use here. You want to use a tart and firm apple. Something that will stand up and balance well with the sugar and cinnamon. Most of the time, I just use granny smith, but if I am feeling really wild, I will do half granny smith apples and half honeycrisp, if I can find them. Honeycrisp apples are firm and have a good balance of tart and sweet. But to be honest, most of the time I just stick with granny smith apples because they are always easy to find and they seem to really hold up during the baking process.

This pie couldn't be easier to throw together. The first and almost most important part of the pie is the crust. You want a crust that is slightly salty and slightly sweet, but not too salt or too sweet. Did I just confuse you? You can always use store bought pie crust, but why use that when you can whip up your own homemade dough and have it ready to use in under 30 minutes. To make the pie crust I always use in my pie and quiche recipes, check it out here. It's flaky and so so delicious. Once you make homemade crust, you probably won't ever by store bought again. Just saying. Now that I think about it, I think I already told you this before. Oops. It's just a really yummy pie crust!

Okay, now on to the filling. You'll need to peel and slice (not to thick, but not too thin) about two and a half pounds of apples. If you can get someone to help you peel all of those apples, even better! Once the apples are peeled and sliced, you coat them simply with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, a little flour and some lemon juice. Simple and clean. Add the apples and the juices to the prepared pie crust and then top with the crumbs. Lots and lots of crumbs. I swear this is the best part about this pie. You may think the apples are, but I say it's the crumbs. Here is a word of advice - before you stick this in the oven, make sure to put the pie on a foil lined cookie sheet. If you don't, you'll end up with thick sugary goo all over the oven and that's no fun to clean up. Also, about half way through the baking process, keep an eye on the topping. If it's looking a bit brown, place a piece of foil over the top to prevent it from burning. Burnt pie is never a good pie.

This pie smells absolutely heavenly while baking, but just because it's done cooking, doesn't mean you can eat it right away. Do you want to burn your tongue? I don't think so. You need to let this pie cool for at least a couple of hours. This will allow everything to cool down and allow the pie to firm up a bit. Once the pie is cool, slice yourself a big ol' piece and top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Nothing says happy pi(e) day like a big slice of homemade apple crumb pie a la mode!

the line up

pie filling!

crimp that crust
I make my crumb topping ahead of time and just keep in the fridge until I am ready to use it

load up all those apples

a mountain of crumbs

baked and ready to eat!

Apple Crumb Pie

2 1/2 pounds granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced  (about 6 cups sliced apples)

1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 recipe crumb topping (see below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Roll and lay pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pie crust into plate without stretching it. Crimp edge as desired. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices and lemon juice and gently toss until coated. Transfer apple mixture to the pie crust. Coat the top of the pie with crumb topping. Bake for one hour or until the filling it hot and bubbly. About half way through the cooking process, check on the topping. If it's getting too brown or the crust is getting too brown, cover the pie with a piece of foil for the remainder of the baking time. Cool on a wire rack. To serve warm, let pie cool at least 2 hours.

For the crumb topping combine 1 cup flour, 1 cup packed brown sugar,  1-2 teaspoons cinnamon and 6 tablespoons of cold and cubed butter into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or your hands, combine until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Tip - grating the cold butter will make this come together in no time!

Happy happy apple pi(e) day!

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