The days leading up to Thanksgiving are some of my busiest during the holiday season. Every year for the past four years I've been taking pie orders for friends and family. My oven wafts the smell of freshly baked pies even after they're all gone: good thing one of my favorite things to bake is pie!
I tried numerous recipes for Apple Crumb Pie since I began to bake and I finally found a combination that I love. It took a friend's recipe and my own palette but it came together. During one of my internships at the Food Network, I was working with a woman named Leah. She is a powerhouse when it comes to developing, in my opinion, some of their best recipes. While working on pies, she tried something that blew me away: she baked it in a sheet tray! No chilling dough, no rolling, less hassle! Leah's dough has become the base for many of my pie fillings and it is a recipe I've committed to heart and mind. You can find the recipe for her full Lattice Apple Sheet Pie here. I use her recipe exactly, minus the separated egg. Leah's recipe will make one delicious sheet pie and two 9-inch round pies. This sugar cookie-esque crust has become my favorite trick to the pie trade. Although it takes a little more time to make a classic pinched edge, it's worth the work. Remember to bake your unfilled shells to a very light brown before you add your filling. This will allow the crust to cook fully without over cooking the apples.
Every great pie shell deserves a great filling. For my apple pies, I like to use Granny Smith apples. Some people prefer another apple or a mixture so go with your favorites. But for me, the crunch and tartness of a ripe Granny Smith adds a great new level of flavor to my pies.
For my filling (for two 9-inch pies) I combine...
10 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Divide the apples between the two pie shells. The filling should form a dome. Don't worry about it being too high, the apples will cook down.
For my crumb topping I combine...
3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, half melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. I like to use my hands to mix the topping together but you can use a food processor if you prefer (if you do use a food processor, add your oats in after with spoon). Once the crumb topping resembles sand, sprinkle it on top of your pies to cover the top. Bake your pie in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove the pie and brush the crust with an egg wash (egg yolks, water, and a pinch of salt) and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the crust is a golden brown. The egg wash will help to enhance the color of the crust.
When baking your pies this Thanksgiving, remember to have fun with! A great pie comes from someone with the passion to make it. Find your favorite recipe, or mix of recipes, and serve up some homemade goodness this year.