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