The Modern All-american Spiced Apple Pie
Nothing says summer like outdoor BBQs, iced coffee, and warm Apple Pie with a large scoop of Vanilla ice cream! Yum. As an avid baker, home chef, and lover of all things delicious, I’d like to share with you a modern twist on the apple pie that will keep your family and friends coming back for more!
This recipe takes the best from many traditions and puts them together in a flavor combination that screams “next level!” Remember that most traditional apple pies are covered either by a full layer of crust (with fork holes) or a lattice of woven crust strips for the top. As this is a summer recipe, we are going to lighten up that dough with a strudel topping and then add two ingredients that will make your filling pop!
There are a couple of ways to go here.
If you buy a frozen pre-made crust it saves a lot of time.You may have a pie crust recipe that you love and it will work here as well.
Or you can use this one for an all-butter (no shortening) pie crust.
Remember that since there is no top crust you only need to make a single pie crust.
One 9-inch single pie crust
• 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes (use high-fat European butter if you can)
• 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water, as needed
In a food processor, pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima bean-size pieces. Slowly add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough just comes together. It should be moist, but not wet. You can also do this by hand.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk with the heel of your hand. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. When ready, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and shape it into the pie plate.
Pre-Make the Strudel Topping
• ¾ cup of flour
• ½ cup of sugar
• 1 TBS of Cinnamon
• ½ TSP of salt
• 5 TBS of cold unsalted butter cut in cubes
1. Mix all dry ingredients and then add in butter. Mix, roll, and press with your hands (about 6 minutes) until you have a crumbly texture like small peas.
2. Put in the refrigerator until ready. (Can be made the night before)
The Apple Pie Filling
You will need:
• 7-8 Apples (depending on size) We love Granny Smith. **Peeled and thinly sliced
• 8 TBS of unsalted butter
• 3 TBS of All Purpose Flour
• ¼ of cold water
• 1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
• 1 TSP of Vanilla extract
• 2 TBS of Cinnamon
• ¼ TSP of nutmeg
• 1/8 Tsp of ground Clove
• 2 shakes of black pepper
• 2 TBS of fresh ginger (grated or very small chopped pieces)
• 2 Big Spoonfuls of Lemon Curd (or if in Hawaii Liliko’i Butter)
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan, whisk in flour, water, and sugar whisking constantly.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
2. Wash, peel, and cut apples, and put them in a large bowl. Sprinkle all spices over the apples, add ginger, vanilla, and lemon curd (or lilikoi butter), and stir well.
3. Put Apple mix in butter mix (in the saucepan) and simmer for about 20 minutes.
4. When the apples begin to soften, pour out the filling mix into the pie crust.
5. Pack on the Strudel topping, making sure to leave no holes, and bake.
6. Oven Should be pre-heated to 425 and after the first 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake for 45 more minutes. You will want the top to have a nice crisp golden brown.
Note- I live in Hawaii so I always use Liliko’i Butter (Passion fruit) to mix with the apples but I have successfully used lemon curd as well. It really gives the flavor a zing. You can buy lemon curd at your local grocery or make your own.
Here is a recipe for making your own lemon curd.
Well, I hope when you bite into this pie, the ginger-forward nuance leading the spice brigade, with the bright acidity of the lemon curd balanced against the sweet apple filling will be a balance of flavors made in heaven. Notice you don’t actually taste the pepper. It does however lift and support all of the other spices.
The Strudel topping should be crunchy and add texture to the softness of the apples. Everyone I have ever made this for raves. I hope you enjoy it too. In fact, let me know how it turned out!
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Matt Carter is a retired teacher (1989-2018), part-time musician, farmer, and currently manages Greenwell Farm’s Tour and Retail Store Operations.