Michael has delicious memories of his mother's pies, and this is a favorite of hers, not just because it tastes good, but because it's easy. There is only one crust to roll out, and she used to make them in assembly line fashion during apple season, then tightly wrap and freeze them to pull out as a quick dessert.
It's also an easy pie to make with kids, and I had some assistance from my little chefs. My five-year-old helped roll out the crust, decorate the edge of the crust, pour in the apples, and sprinkle on the crumb topping. He was quite proud of himself! The baked pie looked great until Monkey Boy found it on the counter and started pulling bits of the crust off. After that we decided to call it a "rustic pie," and no one seemed to mind when it came time to enjoy a slice.
We like to make this with Granny Smith apples, but any firm tart apple will do.
Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy is celebrating her first blogoversary this month and having a virtual bash to celebrate. Where I come from we always take dessert to a party and pies are high on the request list, so I'm sharing my pie with Susan. Congrats on your first year of blogging!
[Updated November 23, 2009.]
French Apple Pie
- 9-inch pie pan
- large mixing bowl
- food processor
- aluminum foil
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
- ½ cup wheat germ
- 7 cups peeled, thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about ¼-inch thick)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch ( or unbleached all-purpose flour)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)
- Prepare the pie crust and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- After the pie crust has chilled, preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C.
- In the bowl of the food processor, add all the ingredients for the crumb topping and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture is crumbly.
- Roll out the dough and place in the 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges with a fork. (If the dough chilled for a long time and is too hard, allow it to rest on the counter until it softens and rolls easily.)
- In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until thoroughly mixed, then toss with the apple slices. Mound the apples high in the middle and dollop with pieces of unsalted butter. Cover the crust edges with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
- Sprinkle the crumb topping over the apples and press down slightly.
- Bake the pie for about 50 minutes, but check progress at the 45 minute mark. When the crust and crumbs are golden, remove from oven and allow to cool about 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.