Recipe: Crumble-Top Apple Pie
This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
As a food-obsessed couple, we’re somehow lucky enough to agree on most preferences. Local and seasonal? Check. Earthy, gamey foods? Check. Lots of Brussels sprouts and kale? Check. Bacon? Check! Ok, that’s an easy one. But the one thing we can’t agree on? Pie versus crumble. Silka likes the crunchy chunks of a crumble’s topping while Jake much prefers the flaky crust of a traditional pie.
But now that it’s fall, we’re picking up a half dozen apples every time we go to the Co-op. And when we get home, we’re left with the same question: How are we going to get through all of these apples before we go back and thoughtlessly pick up another half dozen just because they are there and beautiful and we can’t help it? Silka generally tries to avoid the pie/crumble conflict by making apple cakes, bread and sauces. But this week she really wanted a crumble, so we decided to compromise with a crumble-topped apple pie. Nick Malgieri’s flaky pastry crust, made with wheaty Cayuga flour and rich Ronnybrook butter, was the perfect complement to a mix of Windy Hill Jonagold and Macoun apples. Topped with an oatmeal and molasses crumble and some vanilla ice cream, it was something we could both agree on.
Flaky Pie Crust
From Nick Malgieri’s Bake!
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
1. To mix the dough by hand, combine flour, salt and baking powder in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir well. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and add to dry ingredients. Toss once or twice to coat pieces of butter. Then, using your hands or a pastry blender, break the butter into tiny pieces and pinch and squeeze it into the dry ingredients. Keep the mixture uniform by occasionally reaching down to the bottom of the bowl and mixing all the ingredients evenly together. Continue rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse-ground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible.
2. Sprinkle the minimum amount of water over the butter and flour mixture and stir gently with a fork. The dough should begin holding together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add the remaining water — 1 teaspoon at a time for the smaller quantity of dough, a tablespoon at a time for the larger quantity, until the dough holds together easily.
3. To mix the dough in the food processor, combine flour, salt and baking powder in work bowl fitted with metal blade. Pulse 3 times at 1-second intervals to mix. Cut butter into 1-tablespoon pieces and add to work bowl. Process, pulsing repeatedly at 1-second intervals, until the mixture is fine and powdery, resembles a coarse-ground cornmeal and no large pieces of butter remain visible. About 15 pulses in all.
4. Scatter the minimum amount of water on the butter and flour mixture and pulse 5 or 6 times. The dough should begin holding together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add the remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk. Sandwich the disk of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and press it into a 6-inch circle. Refrigerate the dough until firm, or until you are ready to use it, at least 1 hour.
1/2 cup golden brown sugar — we used just under 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of molasses
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1. Mix oats, cinnamon, salt, golden brown sugar and flour in medium bowl. Add chilled butter and rub in with fingertips until moist clumps form.
6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (6 medium) — we like to use a mix of Jonagold and Macoun
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice — we used apple cider vinegar
1. Heat oven to 425°F. Place 1 pie crust in ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly against side and bottom. Fold in top edge to create a small ridge.
2. In large bowl, gently mix filling ingredients; spoon into crust-lined pie plate. Top with crumble.
3. Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender and crumble is golden brown.
4. Cool on cooling rack at least 2 hours before serving. (We never stick to that rule.)