The MOM 100 Blog
Prone to hyperbole? You bet I am. But this pie deserves as much hyperbolic praise as it can get. It is inspired by an apple pie from an old cookbook, Marcia Adams’s Cooking from Quilt Country. The apples are blanketed and bound up with a custardy coating, and a thick layer of sweet, crumbly streusel topping makes this like an amazing apple crisp in a pie crust. The pie is great still warm from the oven, and a wedge for breakfast the next day is a gift.
For the Streusel Topping:
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Pie Filling:
6 large Granny Smith apples, or a mixture of Granny Smith and any other firm baking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1⁄2-inch thick
1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional, but well worth it), for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the streusel topping: Combine the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the ginger, and salt in a food processor and give it a good whirl. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Do not overprocess; you don’t want a paste (see Cooking Tip #1). Set the streusel topping aside.
- Make the pie: Put the apples in the pie shell.
- Combine the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the 3 tablespoons of flour, the 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the cloves in a small bowl.
- Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the cream and vanilla and blend well. Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture and stir to blend. Pour the custard mixture over the apples; if the mixture comes more than three quarters of the way up the side of the crust, stop pouring so it won’t bubble up and overflow.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (see Cooking Tip #2) and bake it for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pie from the oven, making sure the custard mixture doesn’t pour over the side. Evenly and carefully (take your time) distribute the streusel topping over the top of the pie. Carefully (again) return it to the oven and bake until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the pie ensures that the apples are cooked through, about 50 minutes longer.
- Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then serve it warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired (and who wouldn’t desire that?).
Cooking Tip #1
If you don’t have a food processor, or you aren’t in the mood to whip it out, you can make the streusel topping by using your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the topping is uniform and crumbly.
Cooking Tip #2
It is a good idea to put a baking sheet under the pie as it bakes, as the streusel topping can tend to bubble off the side a bit, and trust me when I tell you that your kitchen will get more than a little bit smoky if this happens.
You can bake the whole pie a day ahead of time, even two if necessary, and keep it in the fridge, well wrapped. Either let the pie return to room temperature before serving or warm it in a preheated 300°F oven.
What the Kids Can Do
Measure the streusel ingredients and, if you choose to make the streusel topping by hand, kids can help with that or—with supervision— help pulse the streusel in the food processor. If they are old enough, they can peel the apples. They can make the custard and help whip the cream.