Friday, November 26, 2010

My Apple Pie


 Everyone has a favorite pie on Thanksgiving, be it pumpkin, pecan or apple...or maybe all of them in many cases, but my favorite is apple.  I know, a lot of people may think that apple is nothing special, because it is often made other times of the year than just around the holidays, but to me apple has a way of cleansing the palate that the other 2 favorites don't.  Plus, I don't know very many people who don't like apple pie, it is always a crowd pleaser.  This is part of the reason why I decided to bring an apple pie to Thanksgiving dinner at my boyfriend Dave's family's Thanksgiving.  I have always enjoyed bringing desserts to my Family get togethers so I thought it was a wonderful idea to volunteer to bring one! 


My apple pie however is not exactly what you would call a classic.  It is sort of a hybrid between a pie and a crisp, combining the elements of both that I enjoy.  A buttery flavorful crust a sweet tart cinnamony filling, and of course the glorious oat streusel topping that everyone likes to steal pieces of as soon as it emerges from the oven.  At home actually I usually skip the bottom crust altogether and make crisp because I love the topping so much, but this time for a special occasion, and for serving purposes I felt I needed to have one. 
My Mom always made her apple pies with a crumble topping rather than a pastry top, and her streusel always contained oats...I guess her influence rubbed off on me because I always have to make mine this way!  My oat topping was not going to be just oats for texture however, I added pecans and coconut, because I love the nutty and toasty dimensions they both add to the crumble!  The filling on my pie needed to contain a lot of cinnamon, of the Chinese cassia variety because to me it is the most sweet and fragrant, as well as maple sugar, because I much prefer its deep flavor to simple brown sugar. 


I assemble and "bake" my pie in a little bit of an unusual way.  It is sort of a mixture of two different test kitchen recipes for pie and crisp, but with my own measurements and such for ingredients and amounts.  The crust is first blind baked so it gets golden brown and keeps its texture once filled, and prevents soggyness.  The filling is then cooked stovetop, to ensure the apples are the perfect consistency, then is poured into the crust.  Lastly the topping is scattered on the pie, and baked until golden and fragrant in the oven.  This process results in a pie that has crust, filling and topping perfectly cooked.  It may be more labor intensive, but in my opinion it is worth it once you dive into that pie! 


It is really quite scrumptious with the buttery crust, sweet, tart, caramelly spiced apples, and crispy nutty topping.  It needs no adornment, but if you want to guild the lily a nice scoop of coconut milk based ice cream puts it WAY over the top.  Don't wait for a holiday to try out this pie...

Amy's Honeycrisp Apple Crumble Pie
makes 1 9 inch deep dish pie

Crust:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp maple sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
7 Tbsp cold Earth Balance vegan butter
2-3 Tbsp ice water, or as needed

Filling:
9 cups diced honeycrisp apples (6 large)
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp maple extract
a large pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Topping:
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
8 Tbsp cold Earth Balance vegan butter
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1  cup pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups large flake coconut

To make crust, whisk together flour, sugar, and sea salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal and has chunks of butter no larger than pea sized.  Add about 2-3 Tbsp ice water and start to squeeze the dough together with your hands and knead it slightly until it forms a cohesive ball (adding a little more water if too dry).  Knead slightly and form into a disk.  Roll out on parchment paper to a 13 inch circle, and using parchment to lift dough, transfer to a 9 inch deep dish pie plate, and carefully fit into the bottom.  Decoratively flute the edges of the pie, using thumbs and forefingers.  Cover dough and place in fridge to chill until very cold, for at least an hour, or overnight.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prick crust with a fork on the bottom and sides, and place a sheet of foil over the crust fitting it snugly against the bottom and sides and folding it over the edges.  Fill the foil with pie weights or dried beans and place in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown about 10 minutes more.  Meanwhile, to make filling, place apples, lemon juice, maple sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Cook apples, stirring occasionally until soft and caramelized, about 20-25 minutes.  Stir in extracts, sea salt and flour (you may need to add a little more than half a cup if apples are very juicy).  Pour filling into baked crust.  To make topping, combine pasry flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until there are only very small chunks of butter the size of peas left. Add oats, pecans and coconut and squeeze dough together with your hands, mixing as you go until you have evenly distributed the mixture and it is clumping together in places.  Scatter the topping over the pie, and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown and fragrant (keeping a close eye on it, as coconut can brown quickly).  Let pie cool at least an hour, then feel free to dive in!

10 comments:

  1. I'm not a big fan of apple but your apple pie looks so tasty. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and clearly recipe. Your apple pie looks so good makes me want to have a slice of pie now. :)

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  2. hi, me too not much interested in apple... urs tempting me to have it now... but friend of mine have lot of interested in it... sure i ll show this recipe to him...

    http://cookingbachelors.blogspot.com/

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  3. Well you know how to make me happy! Apple is most certainly my favorite pie, and I loved seeing how you made this classic your own! I am going to try your method the next time I need to make one. I love the thought of cooking the apples first! Thanks for sharing sweet girl!

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  4. Your apple pie sounds absolutely delicious! Great idea to add coconut & pecans as a topping :).

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  5. oh man, that looks so crumbly! i like! that's a great apple pie dish with a twist on the coconut topping ;)

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  6. Looks wonderful. I love the crisp topping especially with the coconut added in. I like to cook my filling separately as well...an extra step but makes a huge difference. ;)

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  7. Looks wonderful especially the crisp topper.

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  8. This is definitely healthy compared to other apple pies! I love that you used maple sugar! I only recently used that for the first time at work, and it was definitely a fun new ingredient for me :)

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  9. This is my favorite apple pie, too. Well, okay...I love traditional apple pie a lot, but if I was at a buffet and had to choose...well, I would take a piece of both, but I would eat this one first! Well done, gorgeous photos!

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  10. This year I ended up changing a recipe for Apple Crisp from joythebaker.com to fit my vegan needs and I liked it, but this might actually be even better! I made a horrible apple pie once and I've shied away from them ever since, but this looks like a recipe I need to try. I'm in charge of desserts for Christmas this year and I am definitely taking this recipe with me! Thank you!

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