And while you’re making sweet stuff….
December 2, 2015
You may recall that, a while back, I was making coconut cake, one which requires a three-day sojourn in the fridge before it can be consumed. Naturally enough, having a wonderful confection in the refrigerator and knowing you CANNOT EAT IT for 72 hours is enough to drive one crazy.
(For some of us, that’s a real short trip.)
So I made an apple pie. A Dutch apple pie, in point of fact, which I have never made before, but which may become my new go-to standard of apple pies, because this one? Is good. Real good. Yes — I’ll admit it — Sweet Baby Jesus good.
The recipe is one sent to me by my friend Cindy, my dining companion in my trip earlier this fall to the Catbird Seat, and someone whose love of fine food is as great or greater than my own. With full credit to her, it is:
Dutch Apple Pie (adapted from a recipe by Cooks Illustrated)
- 1¾ – 2 lbs Granny Smith apples
- 1½ – 1¾ lbs McIntosh (preferred) or Golden Delicious apples
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 TB unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup golden raisins
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 160 g (1¼ cup) all-purpose flour
- 70g (⅓ cup packed) light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 TB cornmeal
- 8 TB unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425. Have ready a prebaked pie crust.
For the streusel topping: Combine flour, sugars, and cornmeal in medium bowl; drizzle with melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms pea-sized pieces. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread streusel in even layer on baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
For the apple filling: Peel, quarter, and core apples; slice each quarter crosswise into pieces 1/4 inch thick. Toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl to combine. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over high heat until foaming subsides; add apples and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in raisins; cook covered, stirring occasionally, until Granny Smith apple slices are tender and McIntosh apple slices are softened and beginning to break down, about 5 minutes longer.
Set large colander over large bowl; transfer cooked apples to colander. Shake colander and toss apples to drain off as much juice as possible. Bring drained juice and cream to boil in now empty Dutch oven over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and wooden spoon leaves trail in mixture, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples to prebaked pie shell; pour reduced juice mixture over and smooth with rubber spatula.
Sprinkle streusel evenly over pie filling. Set pie plate on now empty baking sheet and bake until streusel topping is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and serve.
There were some things I did differently. First, I had only Granny Smith apples in the house, and those are typically the only kind I keep on hand. Since they are quite tart, and I didn’t have the sweeter influence of the Golden Delicious, I upped the sugar to 1/2 cup. It could have stood to be a bit less. I left out the raisins, as I do out of most any recipe that calls for them, and I added a pinch each of nutmeg and cloves, just because.
I made the first batch of streusel according to the recipe, with the addition of walnuts. Note I say “first batch.” That would be because I burned it. There wasn’t enough of it salvageable to top the pie, so made another batch. I thought the first batch was an awful lot of streusel (the nuts, obviously, added some volume; I used about a cup of pieces of walnuts in the first, pecans in the second, because I’d used all the walnuts on the first try), so I cut it back to 3/4 cup each of brown sugar and flour, a half-stick of butter, and the cup of pecan pieces, or the same streusel topping I use on my holiday sweet potatoes.
When I drained my apples, I got perhaps less than two tablespoons of juice. I didn’t think that would be enough, so I dumped my apples in my prebaked pie shell and took a few tablespoons of water and rinsed out the pan with it, and added that. Added the cream, reduced, poured over the filling, streusel on top, baked.
This is a fair amount of work for apple pie, which by its very nature is labor intensive just because you have to stand there and peel and slice all the apples. But ohmygosh, it’s good. With a couple of slices of sharp cheddar cheese alongside, it’s sublime.
Next time you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em want to be all-American, bake you one of these, cook a hot dog, watch a baseball game.