I have always been a crust person, choosing crust over filling any-day. Thankfully my husband prefers the filling; a perfect match. I made this particular apple pie for the first time last year combining my pumpkin pie shortbread crust with an apple filling, then topping it with lots of crumbles.
I've always struggled with apple pie; apples to firm or too mushy. I never seemed to get it right. Then I decided to cook the apples before filling them into the crust. BINGO! that was it. I combine the spices and liquid and get the apples to taste just right, them cool and put them into the crust to bake. The shortbread crust cooks pretty quickly, so the apples are perfect and the crust is not burned!
I hope you like it as much as my family did.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- 8 apples, a variety for different texture and flavor. I used Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Gala
- 1 teaspoon mixed spices, cinnamon ginger and nutmeg (more if you like it). Pumpkin pie spice works perfect.
- The zest of half an orange plus the juice of the orange. You may use the zest and juice of a lemon if you prefer.
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar (this recipe is not super sweet. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweet pie, or after baking add caramel sauce or serve with ice cream or whipped cream which is sweetened).
- Optional, 1 to 1.5 ounces of Grand Marnier, Sweet Sherry or Red Vermouth
- 3 tablespoons Butter
Prepare Apple filling:
Peel apples Cut into eighths or 10ths depending on the size of the Apple. I use about eight to 10 apples medium to large size. If you have a little extra, you can pile the pie higher. Remove the core and seeds when you cut them. Toss them into a large Dutch oven and add the spices, sugar, vanilla, orange zest, juice and liqueur.
Add butter to Dutch oven and apple mixture. Cook all together on medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes or until apples are soft but still have texture to them. Some of the apples may be mushy but that's OK, they'll form part of the sauce Let them cool will you make the crust.
I use a 10" deep pie dish or a 10" false bottom or spring-form pan. If you don't have a 10", use a 9" dish and pile the apples a little higher. It will be beautiful.
|Spicing things up|
Basic Recipe for 1- 9" pie:
- 1 cup flour
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Add the melted butter to the flour and sugar blending with a fork until incorporated. It should have enough flour to hold together, but will also feel wetter than a normal pie pastry. Form it into a disk. Use immediately using the shortcut below or roll it out like a traditional pie crust.
Shortcut Crust: Because this is really a cookie dough, at this point you avoid rolling the dough altogether. Empty the dough mixture into the pie dish and gently press it into shape making sure it is even. Start from the center and press outward toward the edges, working your way up the sides of the pie dish. Once cooked, nobody will know it wasn't rolled. If it breaks or cracks while you are pressing it into place, just patch it up. I have used a false bottom/spring-form pan and regular pie dish. The false bottom dish delivers a great presentation.
Note: If you double or triple the recipe, wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap. If you refrigerate this dough it will be too hard to work with so before using it, bring it to room temperature until it softens and can be pressed out. It is ideal for cookies.
- 5 tablespoons cold butter cut into small pieces
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons quick cooking oats
- Optional Pumpkin pie spice
Work the flour, sugar and spices into the butter until small pea size clumps form. Add oats in and blend. Top the apples in the pie dish with the crumbles.
Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until browned at 350 degrees.
Remove and let cool before cutting into.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or caramel sauce drizzled over the top.
|Waiting for the first slice to be cut|