Don't forget to vote next Tuesday! Baking and eating an apple pie to watch to election returns is just about as American as you can get.
This is my second apple pie of the season. My first apple pie came after an annual trek out to an apple orchard to ride in the tractor pulled wagon, pick a bag of apples, and eat way too may cider doughnuts and fist-fulls of kettle corn. It’s one of those things we do to mark the passing of time in New England.
That first apple pie I made was delicious, and I had planned to tell you all about it. It’s from a cookbook that is also a useful encyclopedia of apple varieties. My friends and I, while meandering the rows of the orchards, are often wondering, “What do we do with this kind of apple?” Stacy, Peter, and Melanie have even taken to marking the bottoms of the apples with a ball point pen to distinguish the varieties, because once they are in the bag, they all look the same.
Anyway, "The Apple Lover’s Cookbook" by Amy Traverso is definitely worthwhile if you like to know your apples. Not only does Traverso categorize the apples by taste and region for you, she offers a range of savory and sweet recipes to use up all those apples you lugged home from the orchard.
I made her favorite apple pie recipe in the book, which is a pastry shell bottom and a streusel top. I even rolled out my own dough. I was impressed, even though I need some practice. I like to make my own scones, but I have yet to be enamored with rolling out my own pie crust on a regular basis. After supper, Rebecca, Monica, and Gretchen came over and we devoured that pie. Most of it anyway. I finished it over the next couple of days. That was a lot of pie. I thought I had satisfied my apple pie quota for the season.
But! Family Circle, that magazine I remember from the 1970s my mom used to get but never actually bake from, sends me recipes via e-mail each week. Because of my childhood association, I have kind of a soft spot for Family Circle. A few weeks ago, there was a recipe for Apple Sour Cream Pie. The “sour cream” part caught my eye – I had some in the ‘fridge and I can never get through a carton of sour cream before it goes off. So I’m always looking for ways to use it up.
The recipe was similar to the one I had made from “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” in that it was a pastry bottom and a streusel top. It even suggested “1 ready-to-roll piecrust.” I took it a step further. I went straight to the store after work and bought a pre-made pastry shell.
I wasn’t sure how the sour cream was going to turn out. The pie has to “rest” about 4 hours, so I filled my apartment with that delicious pie-baking smell and went to bed without a piece. Don’t worry, I had a piece for breakfast! Apple sour cream pie is definitely one of the creamiest apple pies I’ve ever eaten. It may become a favorite.
Apple Sour Cream Pie
From Family Circle
1 ready-to-roll or ready-made 9-inch piecrust
2 tablespoons butter
3 lbs. (about 6) Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the streusel:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out your pie crust, or keep your ready-made crust in the ‘fridge until ready to fill. This keeps the crust from turning soggy.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and sprinkle 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook, stirring frequently about 12-15 minutes, until apples have just begun to soften. Move pan to a wire rack and let apples cool to room temperature (another trick to keep the crust from turning soggy).
For the streusel: In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cut up the butter and rub into mixture until crumbly.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in sour cream, vanilla, egg, and nutmeg. Fold in apples. Pour into prepared crust. Top with streusel and place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 60 minutes until apples are tender. After 30 minutes, tent the pie with a foil to keep from overbrowning. Cool 4 hours and serve.
Kendra Nordin blogs at www.kitchenreport.wordpress.com