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.


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

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter

Pie Crust
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.


Natashya said...

Apple is the ultimate pie, in my books. Mary would have been quite happy with a slice of apple pie... of course there is that whole garden of eden - Eve and the apple....
Looks delish! Whether you are feeling holy or tempted!

Y said...

Great pie! My favourite song is probably Jingle bells. I can't imagine what pie could possible be vaguely related to it !

Judy said...

Apple pie is one of my favorites, especially with a crumb topping. Come to think of it, any pie is my favorite.

Alwayzbakin said...

Looks amazing. Your crust is so perfect.

Bunny said...

I adore Apple crumb pie!! I'm keeping this recipe to make for Christmas. NO I can't imagine being pregnant in that time, you did a great job relating the pie to the song!!

Anne said...

What a beautiful pie! O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song too- way to figure out a nice way to make it into a pie (I just couldn't think one, lol!)

The Food Librarian said...

This is the funniest post!! Love it and the pie. Mary would have loved this (and I'm sure she would give a few crumbs to the mule who helped her get there!)

Cathy said...

You did a great job connecting your pie to the birth of our Lord and Savior! I have no doubt that Mary would have appreciated this pie. I am sure that she handled the mule ride and the stream of visitors better than I would have, but then again, she is a saint and I am . . . not. I want to make your pie!

vibi said...

LOL You crack me up Jacque! LOL I too, I think would have probably slapped my husband silly, had he told me he was preparing the mule for me to go give birth! LOL ...and what to say about bulls and sheep breathing on you in the hospital!? LOL
Nevertheless, the crisp top apple pie was a great choice, and am sure just as delicious!

Maria said...

The crumb sent this pie over the top! Looks super duper good!

Mary Ann said...

You really put alot of thought into this theme. I am sure Mary would've appreciated a piece of this delicious looking apple pie too. The crumb topping looks fabulous!

Allergy Mom said...

Very nice! I gotta admit, after birth, I was more likely to ask for a morphine pie.

Madam Chow said...

Beautiful pie, beautiful song, and one of the nicest blog posts I've read in a long time. I loved it.

Rebecca said...

Wow, that crumb top looks fantastic.

Carrie said...

I think Mary would have liked a piece of your apple crumb pie, it looks delicious! Good Job! :-)

Tammy said...

I love your logic! and the pie looks delicious!

Tami said...

Your pie looks absolutely delicious!

Grace said...

who wouldn't enjoy a couple slices of this? i'm so glad i didn't live in those pre-pie times. :)

Vera said...

Jacque, you are hilarious!
The pie looks perfect! I can imagine how great it tasted!

Megan said...

I just remember being absolutely miserable during the last days of pregnancy - I would have paid extra to speed up the process.

How funny that I posted my apple crumb pie a day later?

Wait, are we related?

AmyRuth said...

Beautiful pie and pie crust. Great job. Are you kidding? Mary would have loved your Apple pie and thought it quite a delicacy. I don't think we can imagine..? Thankfully, we don't have to.
Yummy pie and beautiful comfort food.

Jessy said...

oh great goodness! I want that pie so much!
Good relation to mary, too many people forget real christmas values!

alexandra's kitchen said...

This looks so delicious. I recently decided that I much prefer this kind of a pie than traditional pies. I mean, the double-crusted pies are totally festive, but these are much tastier to me. Looks fabulous!

suz said...

Well this is certainly the most thoughtful pie. And crumb, in my opinion is always the best topping for fruit pies :)

Pamela said...

I've just sat down to catch up on my Google reader and I really enjoyed this post. First of all, the pie looks phenomenal, and I am not even that big of a pie fan! The crumb topping...YUM! LOL about Joseph saddling up the mule!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Hi Jacque
Very well presented post..nice apple pie and very illustrative and useful..thanks for sharing it, dear.

Anonymous said...

Mary definitely needed the love. Great looking pie.

Jen H said...

This looks so tasty! I love eating and making apple pie, I may have to try this one! I'm sure Mary would've have loved this on that night. Great job!