Friday, October 31, 2014

Apple Cheesecake Crumb Pie

With the holidays right around the corner (they always sneak up on me), I have started to test out some new pie recipes. Of course I always have my go to apple, pecan and pumpkin recipes, but this year, I want to switch it up. I want to honor the traditional flavors of each one of those pies, but add a little something, something to the mix. When I saw this apple cheesecake crumb pie from one of my all time favorite bloggers, I knew I had to make it. No questions asked. It had to be made. Let's be real here - apple pie and cheesecake?! You had me at apple pie.

Let me first tell you - there are several steps to this pie. They are not difficult, but you must be patient. It is well worth it though because this pie is nothing like you've ever had before. At least I don't think you have. This pie first starts off with preparing the crust. Now, you can make your own from scratch, but if you are in a rush or not in the mood to make your own, you can always use your favorite store brand crust. There is nothing wrong with that at all! Once the pie crust is ready to go, form it in the pan and bake it for just a few minutes. This is just to get the cooking process started, but not to fully bake it. Once the crust is par baked (that's what I like to call it), you'll then fill it with a silky smooth cheesecake like filling. It's creamy, rich and so good that you may want to eat it all before you put it in the crust. Then, you'll top the creamy filling with a layer of fresh chopped apples that have been tossed in cinnamon, flour and a bit of orange zest. If the pie was't amazing already, you then top everything off with a super amazing crumb topping. I love crumb toppings on almost anything. Especially pie and banana bread. I don't think those two things are complete without a crumb topping.

Once the pie has been filled and topped, it goes in the oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes until the top is nice and golden brown. If the topping and crust get too brown too soon, cover the whole pie with a piece of foil. This will keep the pie from getting too brown and overly crunchy. When the pie is fully cooked, you'll need to let it cool down to at least room temperature before you can enjoy. I know that it's painful to wait that long, but just trust me here. If you serve it too soon, it won't slice right and the filling may not have fully set just yet. So patience is key here. As soon as the pie is room temperature you can serve just as it is or top it with your favorite caramel sauce. Talk about amazing. This pie is even amazing served cold too. No matter how you enjoy it, this pie should definitely make it to your holiday table this season. You won't regret it!

how good does that pie look?

Apple Cheesecake Crumb Pie  (Christina Lane at Dessert for Two)

This makes one, six inch pie (which is smaller than normal pies - keep this in mind!)

5 ounces (1 cup) flour
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons cold water

Crumb Topping:
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons butter

Pie Filling:
1 small apple of your choice (I like Granny Smith since the tartness plays off all the sweetness)
Pinch of orange zest (optional)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon flour
pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

First, make the crust: stir together in a small bowl with a fork the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and use your finger tips or a pastry cutter to blend it into the flour. Once all the butter pieces are about the size of small peas, add the vinegar and a small amount of water, stirring between each addition. Add enough water so that the dough comes together in a ball, but isn't overly
sticky. Form the dough into a disk, cover it in plastic wrap, and let it chill in the fridge at least 30 minutes. If you don't want to make your own crust, use your favorite store bought brand, but cut it to size so you don't have extra dough hanging out all over the sides of the pie pan (see steps below for further instructions on transferring the dough to the pie pan).

Once the crust is ready to go, make the crumb topping. Combine all ingredients except butter in a small bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until well incorporated. Set aside.

Now, peel and dice your apple into ¼” chunks. You should end up with about 1 cup of diced apple pieces. Add the apple to a medium bowl and toss with the cinnamon, flour, salt and orange zest (if using). Set aside. In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, egg, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside while you prepare your pie crust.

Roll the pie dough disk (if using homemade) on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 8-9” in diameter. Carefully transfer this to a 7” pie tin and fit it in the bottom gently (do not ever stretch pie dough—it will shrink back in the oven). Fold the overhanging dough under the edges to form a double crust and make a pretty edge, either with a fork or your fingers. Do not prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Transfer the pie tin to a small baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven. If the crust has puffed up, gently push it back down before pouring the cream cheese mixture on top. Add the diced apples on top, followed by the crumb topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes. If the crumbs aren't brown enough, broil for a few minutes. This pie is great at room temperature, or even chilled. Serve with caramel sauce, if desired. Yum!

apple pie + cheesecake = true love

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