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Winter Pie

The month after Christmas is always the hardest. Sugar has lots its appeal as your jeans have gotten tighter. The sky, once bright blue, has turned gray. Piles of slushy snow sit on the curb, with litter and cigarette butts scattered all over. Leaving your bed has become an everyday struggle.

However, life goes on and soon you start realizing the beauty of winter. The way it makes you more motivated to plow through your library pile. The way it makes you crave hearty soups and piping hot tea. The way the lights twinkle amidst the falling snow. And, last but not least, the way the kitchen and oven become the center of your house.

I remember baking this pie and thinking that nothing could be better. Spending a chilly afternoon bundled up in the kitchen is not for everyone. Furthermore, the idea of baking a pie makes some people want to poke their eyes out. However, I’ve gotten used to the art of baking pie. The techniques for getting the perfect dough are still being learned but I think I am on my way to becoming an average pie baker. I still have issues with crimping my pie crusts and making it look like a work of art. But, taste wise, my pies get an A.

I made this pie originally on Thanksgiving. Amidst a backdrop of turkey, mashed potatoes, bread, and pumpkin pie, it got lost. However, when it came time to bring a dessert to my dad’s for Christmas, it was the first thing to pop in my mind. This Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie comes from Epicurious and it was deliciously easy. Apparently, I was not the only fan of this pie as it has been reviewed by over 240 people. Instead of bothering with a double crust (the bane of my existence), this recipe used a simple crumb mixture, adding more sweetness and crunch to the pie. After peeling and coring Granny Smith apples, you mix the apples with a brown sugar mixture, then dump it into your prepared pie crust. Top the apple mixture with the crumb topping, dot some butter on top, and pop it in the oven. See, fairly painless!

What emerges from the oven is something gorgeous and delectable. The golden-brown crust covers a glistening hot apple mixture, with juices oozing out of every corner. Needless to say, everyone at the dinner table was excited to dig in. With a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, we plowed in, grateful for winter and it’s bounty. And grateful to be sharing a dessert all together under one roof.

Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie
Attribution: Bon Appetit
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: One hour, 25 minutes
Yields One 9-Inch Pie

Ingredients:

Crust
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup frozen solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Filling
3 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Topping
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:

For crust:
Mix flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Add butter and shortening; rub in with fingertips until coarse meal forms. Mix 3 tablespoons ice water and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Drizzle over flour mixture; stir with fork until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic; refrigerate 30 minutes.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch; turn edge under and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate while preparing filling and topping.

For filling:
Mix all ingredients in large bowl to coat apples.

For topping:
Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. Add chilled butter cubes; using on/off turns, cut in until mixture resembles wet sand.

Toss filling to redistribute juices; transfer to crust, mounding in center. Pack topping over and around apples. Bake pie on baking sheet until topping is golden, about 40 minutes (cover top with foil if browning too quickly). Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake until apples in center are tender when pierced and filling is bubbling thickly at edges, about 45 minutes longer. Cool until warm, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream.

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January 18, 2011 - 1:47 pm

TheNoviceNosher - Oh wow, I love that I can really see that bit of juice oozing out in the last photo. Your images are gorgeous!

January 18, 2011 - 3:49 pm

Lisa J. - Amanda,

Your blog is absolutely calming, inviting and warm. Thank you for allow us to share in your love for life’s pleasure.

Lisa J.

January 18, 2011 - 10:19 pm

Megan - This is my favorite kind of apple pie and the only kind I will make. Forget the pie dough; I just want that crunchy, crumbly topping!

January 18, 2011 - 11:46 pm

deliciosity - Gorgeous! I’ve been on a huge pie kick lately… I want this.

January 19, 2011 - 1:34 am

Joyti - It seems like apple pie is so popular in the fall…but it sounds even better now – warm and comforting and delicious. Yum!

January 19, 2011 - 4:29 am

Amanda - haha that crunchy topping is so addicting!

January 19, 2011 - 4:54 am

Laura - Amanda, this looks so warm and comforting! I always enjoy reading your blog, especially because I’m moving to New York in August.

January 21, 2011 - 7:38 am

Rachel - This pie looks delicious!

Please come and take a look at my new blog, similar to “Slow Like Honey.” Looking forward to hearing from you!

Thanks :)

January 21, 2011 - 3:25 pm

noelani - Apple pie is so comforting, you simply can’t get sick of it. I first started baking apple pies when I was young (we had an orchard) and it is like coming back to an old friend when you make one. This version looks delish, can’t wait to try it out.

January 21, 2011 - 3:49 pm

Colleen - If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be pie.

January 24, 2011 - 9:48 am

Susan - I want to eat those photos. They look so yummy! lol

January 25, 2011 - 7:07 am

Molly - That is one gorgeous pie! Everyone should know how to make a good apple pie.

Did you know it was National Pie Day a couple of days ago? It makes me happy to think that pies have their own day of celebration.

January 25, 2011 - 5:16 pm

Linnea - That looks so yummy/warm/comforting! I have never seen a crust like that either… it reminds me of streusel topping… which is the best part. Oh… with ice cream, that pie would be splendid :o)

January 26, 2011 - 11:29 am

Katie - Nice photos–and as someone commented earlier, I like the way the pie drippings show. The first photo makes me long for East Coast winter (love the light)–as does your description of winter activity…mainly, cooking and reading. I won’t complain about California weather (esp when it’s in the high 60s today and sunny), but do miss that opportunity to turn inward that cold winter months create.

January 28, 2011 - 5:30 am

Amanda - I had no idea there was a national pie day but it sounded like a celebration I should get in on!!

January 28, 2011 - 12:55 pm

steph (whisk/spoon) - that’s funny– i made this same pie a ocuple weeks ago, but haven’t posted it yet. i loved how crisp the topping was, and how it stayed that way even for a few days. i think the kitchen is the best place to be on a chilly day!

January 30, 2011 - 7:44 am

Amanda - that was my favorite part of the pie too! the inside got all gooey and sugary but the top was like a crunchy sweet granola topping. Loved it!

February 7, 2011 - 7:08 am

Helen - I am not a pie person, especially a fruit one. However, that gorgeous apple pie picture has made me really want to make one!

I hope you’re enjoying all of this snow! My coworker recently moved here from CA and she’s pretty much over the cold. I don’t blame her one bit.

March 2, 2011 - 11:26 am

marching along « otherwonders - [...] to read a ton of Cormac McCarthy, take up fly fishing, get a dog, and bake a lot of good old apple pies. how good does this look? streusel solves a lot of problems. clearly, i need these for my new hobby [...]

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