Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Apple Crumb Pie
For this month's "You Want Pies with That?" recipe, we were to base our pie on our favorite Christmas song. My favorite is O Holy Night.
(Believe me, it was no easy task trying to figure out how to relate a pie to the birth of Jesus.)
As I was running ideas through my head, my mind kept wandering to the part of the Christmas story you rarely hear about... what it was like for Mary. I mean, really like.
The poor girl is "great with child", and what's she doing? Riding a mule (I'm assuming so, anyway). Traveling. Trying to find a place to stay, but finding none. Then there's the small matter of giving birth. Then comes the parade of visitors.
I remember those last few days before my kids were born. All I wanted to do was lay on the couch in my underwear feeling sorry for myself... all achy and big as a house. What if, when the time came to go to the hospital my husband had said "hang on a minute, hon, I gotta go saddle up the mule"?
Did they even have saddles back in Mary's time?
I can't help but think that Mary would have really enjoyed a piece (or two) of this homey, comforting apple crumb pie after baby Jesus had been tucked in, after all of the visitors had laid their heads down to sleep or been sent on their way, and the hubbub finally died down.
This recipe comes from my mom's cousin's good friend, Yvonne Busing. She's is no longer with us, but her memory lives on with this recipe. I did change it up ever so slightly, but I don't think she would have minded.
APPLE CRUMB PIE
Enough for one standard deep dish pie.
8-9 cups* apples, peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices (for a regular 9-inch pie pan, use 6 cups apples)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
* I used 2 large Granny Smith, 2 large Pink Lady, 2 small Jonathon, and 2 small Ida Red apples. I felt like I could have used another apple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter
Enough for one double crust pie crust or two single crust pies. For this pie, I made the whole recipe and froze half the pie dough.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 cup shortening, chilled, cut into chunks
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. ice cold water
Prepare filling - Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat pan over medium heat and add apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and just start to break apart, 5-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to pan and stir gently, cooking for a minute or so. Remove pan from heat, and using a slotted spoon, remove the apples and place in a large bowl, leaving as much of the liquid in the pan as possible. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the liquid to the apples and stir. Set aside to cool while you prepare the pie crust.
Prepare pie crust - this recipe comes from the Joy of Living and directions are shown in this YouTube video.
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening to flour mixture and cut in to flour mixture using a pastry blender until mixture has pea-sized chunks. Add water and stir with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together and forms a ball when squeezed between your fingers. If the dough is too dry to form a ball, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until it does.
Form dough into a ball. Divide ball in half and form each half into a disk. Cover well in plastic wrap and chill for thirty minutes. Place second disk in the freezer for later use if not using for another pie.
Prepare crumb topping - mix all ingredients together well, using a fork. Once mixed, I used my fingers to clump the topping together into small balls, pea-sized to small gum ball sized. It's OK if not all of the topping is in balls.
Assemble the pie - Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove pie dough from the refrigerator. (If dough has been in the refrigerator longer, you may need to let it sit at room temperature to soften slightly before rolling out, approx. 10 minutes). Roll out pie dough according to directions in video, above. Lay crust in deep dish pie dish and tuck into bottom, making sure not to stretch the pie dough. Trim edges and flute or press with a fork. Add cooled filling to the pie dish.
Cover filling with crumb topping, distributing evenly.
Refrigerate unbaked pie for 30 minutes.
Bake 40 to 50 minutes, covering edges with a pie protector or aluminum foil as needed to prevent over-browning, maybe after first 20 minutes of baking.