29 October 2010

French Apple Pie


Seasonal Variety

In Washington State fall is a multi-course feast of apples. There are so many varieties, even at the local produce market there are nearly a dozen or so different types of apples. Many are locally grown and some are organic. They come in colors from pink to green to yellow and bright red. Many have new and interesting names: Honey Crisp, Aurora, Sweetie, Ambrosia.

The development of original apple varieties is not a new thing, nor is it unique to this area. Farmers and others have long tried their hand at coming up with the perfect apple. While discussing family food traditions my Father-in-law told us a little about his childhood in Yonkers, New York, during the Great Depression:

Grandfather used to always graft branches onto apple trees trying to come up with new varieties of apples.  He would get an apple tree growing really well and then graft different branches onto it.  He had one tree in the back he grafted seven or eight different branches onto, so every branch grew a different kind of apple.

I remember one apple he came up with that was the size of a cucumber.  It was all pulp and had no flavor.  We called those pig apples.  Nobody really wanted to eat them but they fed them to the pigs.

Back then people were always trying something and if it worked out they would share it with others.


Trying Something New

I love apple pies. I make them every fall. They are quite possibly my family’s favorite pie. For the most part I make them the same way every time: a two crust pie with a simple filling. The greatest improvement in the last few years has been the addition of homemade pie crust to the equation. Even though I am not that good at making pie crust my crusts are still appreciably better than store bought, though I’m not above using store bought when time is short.

This year my first apple pie of the season took a slightly different turn. I gathered the apples and made the dough for the crust. When the filling was ready there was enough for more than one pie so I split the crust between them and looked up a recipe with a different topping. I found this one for French Apple Pie. It has a cinnamon streusal topping that crisps a little while baking to give it a scrumptious crunch.



French Apple Pie
from "Betty Crocker's Cookbook"

Single crust for a 9-inch pie

Topping:
1 cup flour
½ cup firm butter
½ cup brown sugar

Filling:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
6 cups tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry for a single crust pie, using the recipe for (Nearly) Foolproof Pie Dough, your own favorite recipe or a purchased pie crust of your choice.

Prepare the topping by combining 1 cup flour with the butter and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly until crumbly. Set aside.

Prepare the filling by combining the sugar, ¼ cup flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the sliced apples until coated.

Turn the filling into the prepared pie crust. Scatter the topping over the pie filling.

Bake for 50 minutes at 425 degrees. Cover the pie loosely with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Enjoy!

9 comments:

June said...

YUMMM! Not much more can be said about absolute perfection. What a beautiful pie!

Kate said...

Perfect! I love the fall. There are so many apples and recipes it is hard to choose..I choose this one!

theUngourmet said...

I've been wanting to make an apple pie but I didn't want to do a top crust. I love this cinnamon streusel topping idea! Tomorrow is the last farmers market for the year. I am going to pick up a bunch of apples for pie.

Ivy said...

Having a tree with all different apple varieties on it sounds so Willy Wonka and fun. :)

P.S. Thanks for coming over to say Hi.

MaryBeth said...

Perfection on a plate....This would make a wonderful Thanksgiving Pie

grace said...

this kind of pie rocks because you get the yummy crust on the bottom AND a buttery batch of crumbs on top. delicious pie, lisa!

Cindy said...

I've spent several hours looking through my pie recipes for something new to add to the Thanksgiving pie lineup this year. Thanks! I've found it! That looks incredible!

Anonymous said...

The filling of pie is so tender. I love it.

How many oz of flour for 1 cup of topping?

Anonymous said...

I have made this pie with this recipe for all our family/friend BBQs or parties and it is always a HUGE hit!! Thanks so much for sharing it :)