I adore pie (pie > cake any day of the week) but I’m not that great at making it. The real trouble arises when I try to crimp the edges of the pie crust. I just can’t seem to get the hang of it.
My Aunt Debbie, an expert pie maker and my personal pie mentor, led a pie bootcamp for me a few years ago. We spent the afternoon in her kitchen and she coached me in the basics of pie baking from crimping to lattice work. Unfortunately, years later it still doesn’t come naturally to me.
But here’s the saving grace in my pie game – struesel topping. It’s delicious and will cover up any unsightly crust errors. Plus, it’s a cinch to make – just crumble together butter, sugar and flour and dump it on top of your pie.
This apple pie recipe is adapted from my pie-guru Aunt and makes the perfect fall dessert. The crust is flaky and delicious, the apple filling stays perfectly in place when you slice it and it’s got all of the delicious fall spices. Your friends will ooh and ahh over the fact that you made a pie from scratch (I promise it’s not hard!) and it makes the perfect end to a fall dinner.
Adapted from Aunt Debbie
For the crust:
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ T powdered sugar
1/8 t salt
6 T unsalted margarine or butter
2 ¼ T Crisco
2-4 ½ T cold water
For the apple filling:
6-8 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 c granulated sugar
3 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
½ lemon, zested
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the streusel topping:
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup softened unsalted butter or margarine
1/3 cup granulated sugar
To make the pie crust:
Put flour, margarine or butter cut into chunks, powdered sugar, salt, and Crisco into a food processor. Pulse off and on, until crumbly. Then add water, 1 T at a time, through the top, while pulsing, until a ball forms. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ½ hour or more.
Lightly flour 2 pieces of waxed paper. Remove ball of pie dough from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature – about an hour. Flatten ball slightly and using a rolling pin, roll to a thin round disk. Disk should extend one inch beyond the sides of an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fold the dough in half using your rolling pin and place in your pie dish and unfold it. Form a “standing ridge” around the sides of the pie pan by folding the extra pastry under, and then flute the edge. Consult YouTube for further instructions.
Assembling your pie:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the apples with the sugar, flour, spices, salt, lemon zest and juice. Pour apple mixture into your pie crust. Cover apples with streusel topping.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 45-55 minutes or until apples are tender. Took me a good 1:15 to get the top nice and golden and apples tender.