Saturday, September 21, 2013

Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Tomorrow is the first day of fall season and I can already see there's a lot of fall fruit recipes on the Internet for at least a couple of weeks.  I guess we're ushering the fall with open arms and open mouth? :)   I don't want to fall behind in enjoying the in-season fruits so I made this apple pie with oatmeal crumb topping which is really a perfect ending in cooler weather trend.

Let's not forget that I love crusts.  Some people may gravitate more towards crumbles, crisps, cobblers, and the like; but I like to have flaky, tender padding at the bottom of the fruit and kind of the same closure on top as well.  What to do when you want to combine both?  The answer is of course to make the top crust a crumb topping.  This recipe originally uses Golden Delicious apples but all I had was Gala, some Granny Smith and SweeTango apples.  I decided to mix the apples and I found out the combination was pretty good.

When it's still warm, an apple pie is hard to resist.  As shown on the picture below, evidently I cut the slice when it's warm; hence the slight breakdown of apple slices and crust.  I just couldn't help it!

Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 recipe for single crust pie crust (recipe below) or 1 crust of refrigerated store-bought pie crusts


7 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced mixed apples

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Oatmeal Crumb Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick cooking)

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

If you're using a homemade crust, let it chill until firm enough to roll for about an hour.

On a lightly floured waxed paper, roll the homemade crust into a 13-inch circle with a floured rolling pin.  Inver the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center, and peel off the paper.  Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge.  Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  If using a store-bought crust, simply drape the crust over the pie pan and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge; place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Combine the apples, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, and the lemon juice and zest in a large bowl.  Mix well, then set aside for 10 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.  Place a rack at the bottom of oven.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar with the nutmeg and cornstarch.  Add the mixture to the apples and stir the fruit well.  Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth with your hands to even it out.  Bake the pie for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crumb topping.  Put the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Scatter the butter over the top.  Pulse repeatedly until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Empty the crumbs into a large bowl, and rub them between your fingers until you have large, buttery crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove the pie from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degree F.  Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them over the surface with your hands.  Tamp them down lightly.  Return the pie to the oven, placing it so that the part that faced the back of the oven now faces forward.  Just in case, slide a large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet onto the rack to catch any spills.  Bake until the top is dark golden brown and the juices bubble thickly at the edge, 30 to 35 minutes.  If necessary, cover the pie with loosely tented aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of baking to keep the top from browning too much.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Note:  the crumb topping recipe yields more than you need.  If you don't want to use it all, simply keep it in freezer bag and freeze it for another pie or muffin recipe.

Basic Flaky Pie Pastry

Makes 1 single crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces

1/4 cup cold water

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor.  Pulse several times to mix.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse for 5 to 6 times to cut in.  Fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl.  Scatter the shortening over the flour and pulse 5 to 6 times.  Fluff the mixture again.  Drizzle half of the water over the flour mixture and pulse 5 to 6 times.  Fluff the mixture and sprinkle on the remaining water.  Pulse 5 to 6 times more, until the dough starts to form clumps.  Overall, it will look like coarse crumbs.  dump the contents of the bowl into a large bowl.  Test the pastry by squeezing some of it between your fingers.  If it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the pastry and work it in with your fingertips.

Using your hands, pack the pastry into a ball.  Knead it once or twice, then flatten the ball into 3/4-inch thick disk on a floured work surface.  Wrap the disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.

Source:  Pie by Ken Haedrich

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