My Very Favorite Apple Pie

 

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I’ve never been a big fruit pie person.  Crazy, right?  I always loved pumpkin pies, and cream pies, and chocolate pies, but fruit pies never really did it for me.  But then I discovered fruit pies with crumb toppings and my life was changed forever.  (ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic there.  But, really.  Crumb toppings are a total game changer.)

This recipe is my twist on the Deepish Dish Apple Pie recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  Her recipe is for a massive pie, made in a spring form pan.  I loved everything about it, but it was just too much for a normal day.  In my recipe I halve the SK pie crust recipe and press it into a 9 inch ceramic pie dish.  I’ve switched up the filling a little bit adding a splash of bourbon and more spice (thanks to my co-worker Al who taste tested and said “really good, but needs more cinnamon!”).  Then I top it all with a full batch of the Smitten Kitchen crumb topping because that’s my favorite part.

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I have made this pie SO MANY times over the past couple of years.  Just off of the top of my head, it made it to Thanksgiving at Spatular’s house last year, a work picnic, my bible study, a football tailgate, a surprise engagement party, and will be traveling across the state with me for Thanksgiving in my hometown this year.  I wanted to post the recipe early enough so just in case you are still looking for a holiday dessert recipe, you can add this one to your menu.  This pie is the perfect balance of sweet and spicy, with the flakiest all-butter crust, a gooey filling, and crunchy top.  The texture and flavor are out of this world!

Note: Despite the photos in this post, once cooled, the pie slices hold their shape really nicely.  I just got excited and cut into it before it was completely cooled (because… hot apple pie) so the slice in this post looks a little sloppier than normal.

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INGREDIENTS:

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 Tbs cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water

Filling:

  • 2 lbs of apples (about 6 medium)
  • 1 Tbs bourbon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Crumb Topping:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 8 Tbs melted butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Cut 1 stick of cold butter into small cubes and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut the butter into the flour mixture.  Combine the butter and flour until the largest chunks of butter are about the size of a pea.
  4. Start by adding 2 Tbs of very cold water to the dough and mix with a spatula until incorporated.  Continue adding and mixing the water in 1 Tbs at a time.  On hot days, I use less water, on cool fall days I usually use the full 1/4 cup.
  5. Once the water is incorporated, the dough should still look a little dry and piece-y.  Use your hand to kneed it a few times until a ball forms.  Pat the ball of dough into a disk and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
  6. While the dough is chilling, peel, core, and cut the apples into thin slices.  Combine the apples with the bourbon, flour, sugar, salt, and spices in a large bowl, making sure the apples are coated evenly.
  7. Once the dough is chilled, roll it thinly on a lightly floured surface, and transfer the dough to a 9 inch ceramic pie dish.  Trim the excess dough and use your fingers to crimp the edges.  Use a fork to poke some wholes in the bottom of the pie.
  8. Transfer the apples and all of their juices to the prepared crust.  Gently push the apple slices down to get them into all of the edges of the pie.  Bake the pie for 30 minutes.
  9. While the pie is baking, prepare the crumb topping.  Combine the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
  10. Meanwhile, melt the butter in the microwave.  Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and mix until well combined and crumbled.
  11. After half an hour, remove the pie from the oven.  Turn the temperature down to 325 degrees.
  12. Cover the surface of the pie with all of the crumble topping.  Transfer it back to the oven and bake for 1 more hour.
  13. I bake my pie uncovered to achieve a nice gold brown, but if you think your pie is getting too dark, cover it with tin foil until it finishes baking.

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