i haven’t made a pie in quite some time. now that it’s november, i guess you can say that fall (!) is finally here. good apples are available at the farmers market right now so make some apple pie while you can. i use a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour for the pie crust because i like the slightly nutty taste that whole wheat flour has, although if you like the super tender pie crust just use all white flour.
i think that pies are probably one of the less precise and exacting things you can bake. i make the pastry by touch and sight these days because i know when the dough is done. those of you who want a more precise recipe and instructions consult this.
apple pie with walnut streusel
inspired by the various apple pie and pastry recipes i have looked at over the years
for the pastry (makes for one crust)
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp cold butter cut into small cubes
several tbsp ice water
1 egg yolk
whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt. cut in the butter using a pastry blender or 2 knives or your fingers until the butter is the size of lentils. whisk together the egg yolk and a few tbsp of ice water and drizzle it into the flour and butter mixture. stir lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. you may need more water. you want the dough to just barely start coming together, but if there are dry patches do not worry. scrape everything onto a sheet of plastic wrap and bundle it up and chill it for at least 1/2 hour. by the time you come back to the dough, it should have magically become a single disk and feel smooth but you should still be able to see bits of butter in it.
for the apples
4-5 large preferably organic baking apples, peeled, cored, and chopped. use a mixture of apples for a more rounded flavor in the pie. good apples to use are granny smiths, golden delicious, empires, cortlands, and winesaps.
1/4 cup sugar, adjust according to your taste and the apples
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
a few generous gratings of nutmeg. grating your nutmeg is a million times better than the pre-ground sort.
several tbsp flour, adjust according to the apples
zest and juice of one lemon
toss everything together, making sure everything is well distributed and set aside.
for the streusel
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup or so flour
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt and cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or other nut if you prefer
2 tbsp ground flax (for your omega 3’s)
3 tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp maple syrup, the real kind please!
mix together the oats, flour, nuts, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and flax. cut in the butter until it forms small crumbs and lightly stir in the maple syrup.
for the pie!
preheat the oven to 350. after prepping everything, the pastry should be about done chilling. if not, stick it into the freezer for a couple of minutes. flour your work surface and start to roll out the dough. if it gets too soft while you are rolling it out place a chilled baking sheet on top of the dough for a minute to chill it again. roll it out so that it is larger than your pie pan and keep turning the dough and reflouring the board to insure that it does not stick. roll the dough on to your rolling pin and then roll it back out into the pie pan. press the dough into place and trim the excess that falls over the edge. crimp the edge. prick the crust all over with a fork to allow steam to escape. sometimes i partially bake the crust for maybe 10 minutes, but you don’t really have to do this. fill the crust with the apples and top with the streusel. bake the pie for about one hour, but check around 45 minutes. the finished pie should be golden brown and delicious and the apples should be soft. cool for as long as you can stand and serve with some ice cream or whipped cream and a fork.