When I first moved to the United States with my family, we settled in Stamford, Connecticut. My mother insisted we buy that particular house because of the massive apple tree in the back yard, complete with a swing tied onto a low branch. At the time, apples in Thailand (my native country) typically sold for close to $50 a pound, as they were considered “exotic” fruits. Naturally, my mother’s excitement over the prospect of unlimited apples in her own back yard got the best of her. Consequently, I learned how to make apple pie. Lots and lots of apple pie.
This pie worked out perfectly fine for me, until one day my fiancé requested one. It was then that the curve ball came. “I like it with crumbs on top,” he said. My eyebrow raised as my eyes widened. Crumbs on top? What matter of silliness is this? Then I thought, the guy gave me this huge diamond ring, the least I can do is give him a crumby pie. So I set to work, revamping my cherished apple filling to compliment and withstand a Dutch crumb topping.
This is what I came up with, and I must say, Eric might be onto something with these silly crumbs. Any way you slice it, it’s a great way to end a meal, not to mention a perfect way to start out the new year. L’shanah tova!
Your favorite pie crust (an all-butter crust seems to work the best here)
3 lbs Baking Apples (approximately 6 apples total, see note), sliced to about 1/8″ thickness
1/4 to 1/2 C Medium Brown Sugar, to taste
1/2 tsp to1 tsp Kosher Salt, to taste
1 to 2 tsp Saigon Cinnamon, to taste
2 tsp Corn Starch
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 C Rolled Oats
3/4 C All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Saigon Cinnamon
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
1/4 tsp Salt
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out dough to fit into a standard 9 1/2″ pie pan. Place pie crust into freezer. If you are not using an all-butter dough, brush the bottom of the pie crust with a beaten egg white before baking. While crust is in the freezer, combine sliced apples, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Taste frequently to make sure you have the seasonings right. This variation depends on how naturally sweet, spicy or juicy the apples naturally are. After well seasoned, add lemon juice, sprinkle corn starch over the apples and combine. If the apples are particularly juicy, you may need to add an extra teaspoon of corn starch. Remove the pie crust from the freezer. The crust should be very cold, but not frozen. Pour apples into the pie crust and spread evenly. Place pie into preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, to dehydrate the apples. While pie is in the oven, make streusel topping by combining the dry ingredients and incorporating the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter. Alternatively, you may use a food processor. Process/work the ingredients until you get crumbs. Remove pie from the oven and reduce the heat to 375F. Spread crumb topping evenly over the apples and return to oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes more. Pie is done when filling is bubbling and slightly thickened. It will probably smell pretty good too. Allow pie to cool a bit and serve. If you can’t wait that long, ice cream helps a lot. Enjoy!
1 regular frozen pie shell
2 cups of frozen berries
1 can apple pie filling
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup margarine
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put in a regular frozen pie shell in the oven for 10 minutes to cook it a little. Then take it out and cool it on a cooling rack. Meanwhile, mix the frozen berries with the apple pie filling in one bowl. In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients to make the crumble topping. When the pie shell has cooled, pour the berry apple filling into the shell and then top with the crumble topping. Put the pie on a piece of aluminum foil in case any of the liquid bubbles over. Bake for about 55 minutes or until the liquid is bubbling and the topping looks golden brown.
4 cups cranberry or pomegranate juice
2 bags frozen unsweetened strawberries
2 bags frozen unsweetened sliced rhubarb
1 cup good quality strawberry or black currant jam
1/4 cup kuzu, arrowroot or cornstarch (Passover: potato starch), dissolved in a little cold water in a small bowl until smooth
Bring all but last ingredient to boil in a medium pot. Reduce flame to low and cook 5 more minutes. Add starch mixture and cook only till mixture begins to boils and looks clear (a minute or two). The mixture will be chunky. If you like it smooth, cream it with an immersion blender. Wait until the mixture cools, then store in glass jars in the refrigerator.
Date nut bread, sounds dead-good-for-you-serious, doesn’t it? That is until you taste it. Plump and moist and chock full of goodies. I make it with spelt flour too, so it’s a win-win.
1 cup diced dates, packed
1 cup dark or golden raisins
2 1/2 cups flour, all purpose, whole wheat pastry or spelt (as always, spelt is my favorite)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot strong tea, decaf ok
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Mix the first set of ingredients together in a bowl. Mix the second set of ingredients in another bowl. Combine both mixtures, making sure not to overmix. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan, or 6-cup loaf pan, and bake 1 hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Muffins: Pour the batter into greased muffin molds (about 12 medium) and bake 30 minutes