This is the first year we are eating Thanksgiving dinner all by ourselves. A big part of the meal is all the pies that you get to eat. However, just us means me, Dave, and 4 little kids (who only want chocolate pie). I am used to eating dessert at my aunt's house where there are like 50 people and 20 different desserts. How can we compare to that? Well, I decided instead of making our three traditional "have to have" desserts on the day we cook our Thanksgiving dinner, I'd keep trying new pie recipes all week long to give us a sampling of things we might be missing out on/ can't possibly eat all by ourselves.
I found this pie recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog, when I wasn't even looking for a pie recipe. I was intrigued by the cinnamon cream mixture she added to the apples. In my whole pie making life, I have never made a single crust apple pie and frankly wasn't sure I'd ever want to. Well, boy was I wrong, this pie was sooo good, I had two pieces last night, one for breakfast and I'll certainly be having another for dessert tonight. :) Actually, it's so good, you don't even need to serve it with ice cream, I almost want to call it Apple Crisp Pie A La Mode. To me, it tastes remarkably like apple crisp, something my mom used to make for dessert a lot in the fall, so I felt that was a good name for the pie.
CRUST: (I used 2/3 of her recipe because I knew I wouldn't need all the extra in my freezer)
1 cup crisco (I ended up using about 2/3 cup crisco, 1/3 cup crisco butter- ran out of crisco, don't know where to get it here in a pinch)
2 cups flour
2 tsp white vinegar
3-4 TBSP cold water
2 tsp salt
Using a pastry cutter (or whisk of your kitchen aid or food processor)- cut the flour and crisco together until it forms small pea sized clumps. If using kitchen aid, switch to dough hook. Add in the egg (I didn't beat my before I added it, she recommended it). Add vinegar and salt. Slowly add water 1 TBSP at a time until dough just about forms a ball and looks sticky. Pick up the dough, knead with your hands for a minute or two. Split into two balls and place each in a freezer safe ziploc bag- if you flatten the ball slightly, it will make it easier to roll out later, if you freeze too long. Leave in freezer about 20-30 minutes, remove ball from bag and roll out on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Note: this makes two crusts, I left the second bag in the freezer for a TBD pie when I feel the need to make another.
While the crust is in the freezer, work on the apple and filling part.
4 large apples (if you are using a large pie pan)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I added more cinnamon than she recommended and heaped it)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP flour
Peel, core, and cut apples. I cut mine into long thin slices, about 1/8-1/4". Put in large bowl and set aside. Mix together sugars, cinnamon, and flour. Stir in heavy cream and vanilla. Mix, then pour on top of the apples. Stir so all of the apples get coated. By the way, she recommended don't try this because you might never get a pie, well a few of the kids and I each tried an apple slice, it was soooo good! Set aside.
7 TBSP butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans
In food processor, chop up nuts. At this point, I added the butter and chopped up with nuts. I then transferred the mixture to a small bowl with the brown sugar and flour, and mixed it by hand until it was crumbly.
To assemble the pie: Preheat oven to 375'. Remove the crust from the freezer, on floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll out dough. I think a trick to keeping the crust from getting stuck on the surface is to keep flipping it and reflouring the surface. It is very fragile, but I got mine to behave (and yes the ends cracked a bit like she said)- but since the dough is soft, I used my fingers to press and seal any holes.
Here's my crust in the pan:
Next, pour the apple mixture into the pan:
Finally, using your hands sprinkle the topping on. I almost feel like it was a bit too much, but that's just me:
I baked mine for 60 minutes and took it out. It was very juicy and the piece did not hold together like a perfect pie triangle like Pioneer Woman's. Then, I realized, I had left the foil on top of the pie the entire time because she said the topping might burn. I put the pie back in the oven for another 25 minutes with no foil on top and it really thickened up. Next time I make this pie, I will not put foil over the top unless I see the topping really looking burnt.
Of course, today, after being in the fridge overnight, I was able to cut that picture perfect pie triangle. Whatever the shape of my piece, it doesn't matter because it tastes really good! And, that is one flaky, crispy, yummy crust! Happy pre-Thanksgiving pie eating to me!