After watching the whimsical indie film Waitress (about a girl who spends her days creating pies in a diner), all I want to do is tie on an apron and get baking. To be honest, if I had to choose between a slice of pie and a slice of cake, I’d opt for the latter. Even though I’m not too fond of pies, I can’t deny the rustic appeal of a warm slice of homemade pie.
On the occasions when I am in the mood for a slice, I go for the classic: apple pie. This recipe reminds me the one they serve up at my favourite café on the boardwalk at the tip of the island. The combination of tart and sweet flavours works really well in this recipe. The contrast in textures is great: tender, soft apples in the sweet filling and a crunchy streusel topping. I love love love this streusel and filling. I drizzled some icing on top of the streusel. The filling is sweet enough as it is so it’s not necessary, but I think it makes for a nice finish. If you want more of a dome, add a few apples. I only used six, but next time I think I’ll put eight.
You can serve this pie at room temperature. I prefer to heat my slice up a little. It’s on the sweet side, so a tall glass of cold milk complements it perfectly.
Yields 8 portions
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
•cinnamon roll design
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg white
6 tart Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
1) Freeze the butter pieces for 20 minutes. Refrigerate the water in a small measuring cup.
2) I prefer making the dough by hand, but this recipe recommends using a food processor (the speed means the butter stays cold as long as possible). Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Place the dry ingredients in the food processor and add the butter. Pulse 6-10 times in 1-second bursts. It will be crumbly.
3) Transfer the contents of the food processor into a bowl. Pour the water over the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir. The dough will be in clumps. To test the correct moisture content, take a handful of dough in your hand and squeeze. If it falls apart and looks dry when you open your hand, you will need to add some water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Mix it in quickly. The dough is ready when it holds together. Make sure the butter is still cold and firm (refrigerate the dough if the butter is too soft).
4) Knead the dough 3 to 6 times, until well combined, on a lightly floured surface.
5) Flatten the dough into a 3/4 inch thick disk. This will make rolling out the dough later much easier. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. The resting time allows the gluten strands to relax. As well, the dough gets to finish hydrating and the butter firms up.
6) Roll out the dough on a well floured surface or between 2 sheets of parchment paper.
•cinnamon roll design
1) Brush the melted butter onto the rolled-out pie crust.
2) Sprinkle the cinnamon so that it covers the crust.
3) Roll the crust tightly and slice it into 1/2 inch thick rounds. It will resemble cinnamon rolls.
4) Spread the cinnamon rolls in the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie dish. It is important to fill any gaps.
5) Brush the egg white onto the pie crust. This ensures that the filling won’t seep into the crust, which would result in a soggy bottom.
6) Place the pie dish in the fridge while you make the filling.
1) Preheat the oven to 450F.
2) Pour the lemon juice over the peeled and sliced apples.
3) Mix the two sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a separate bowl.
4) Add the apples to the dry ingredients and toss to mix.
5) Pour the vanilla and cream into the apple mixture.
6) Melt the butter in heavy skillet.
7) Add the apple mixture to the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the apples are soft and the filling has turned golden.
8) Pour the filling into the pie shell.
1) Slice the butter into little pieces and mix it into the flour and brown sugar with your fingers or a pastry blender.
2) Sprinkle the crumble over the apple filling.
3) Place the pie dish on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As the filling bubbles some of the caramel seeps out, so it’s very important to use a baking sheet!
4) Bake the pie for 15 minutes.
5) Reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden. I ended up leaving my pie in the oven for a total of 1 hour 10 minutes.
1) Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk.
2) Once the pie has completely cooled, pipe the icing into a swirl on top of the crumble. I used a ziploc bag with one tip cut off.
Once sealed in plastic wrap, the dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 1 month.