The Best Streusel Apple Pie Ever
Prone to hyperbole? You bet I am.
Serving Size: 8
I know the title is braggy, but this Streusel Apple Pie deserves as much hyperbolic praise as it can get. The apples are blanketed and bound up with a custardy coating, and a thick layer of sweet, crumbly streusel topping makes this like an amazing apple crisp in a pie crust.
I make three of these every year for Thanksgiving, and have for many, many years. Thanksgiving is always at my parents’ house, usually with twenty-some-odd people, and there are a number of other desserts on the table as well. One pie is gone in moments, and the second pie gets carved into, though there will almost always be come left. Almost everyone is a bit-of-this-and a bt-of-that when it comes to desserts and you don’t want to miss my sister’s cheesecake.
The third pie almost never leaves the kitchen. More on that shortly.
Let’s take a moment from the discussion of pies to say that Thanksgiving is both my favorite and most tension-producing holiday of the year. I know there are many of you with me on this. All of our family dynamics are on full display, and at some point buoyed by a glass of wine too many someone says something they shouldn’t, a dog greets a cousin’s crotch with too much enthusiasm, and a mini-drama ensues.
Or I forget to put a pan under the pie, and that causes the fire alarm to go off. Or the timing of the day gets wayyyyy off, and my father-in-law asks theatrically, intended comically, when exactly we are going to eat, more like, “Hey, oh my God, where’s the food? We’re starving out here!” which puts a pained smile on my mother’s face.
Anyway, back to that third pie. For a long time I made them all at my parents’ house, the morning of Thanksgiving, at which point my mother always said with disingenuous surprise, “Oh! You’re making three pies? Do we need three pies? We never seem to cut into the third. Really, never.” And I try to unclench and remind her that I, too, like leftover pie, and since Thanksgiving is not at my house, I make that third pie to feed my family and the 6 to 10 in-laws I have staying with time for the weekend. Who also like leftover pie.
And now, problem solved, I make the pies at my house! And bring just two to her house! And as I walk out the door on Thanksgiving morning with the two pies, I give a little wave to the third pie sitting on my counter and whisper, “I will see you later, my sweet apple pie.”
The pie is great still warm from the oven, and as you can see, I firmly believe a wedge for breakfast the next day is a gift.
The Best Streusel Apple Pie Ever
For the Streusel Topping:
- 1⁄3 cups cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cups firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Pie Filling:
- 6 large Granny Smith apples, or a mixture of Granny Smith and any other firm baking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1⁄2-inch thick
- 1 unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1 large egg
- 1 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional, but well worth it), for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Make the streusel topping: Combine the 1⁄3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the ginger, and salt in a food processor and give it a good whirl. Add the pieces of butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Do not overprocess; you don’t want a paste (see Cooking Tip #1). Set the streusel topping aside.
3. Make the pie: Put the apples in the pie shell.
4. Combine the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the 3 tablespoons of flour, the 1⁄2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and the cloves in a small bowl.
5. Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the cream and vanilla and blend well. Add the sugar mixture to the egg mixture and stir to blend. Pour the custard mixture over the apples; if the mixture comes more than three quarters of the way up the side of the crust, stop pouring so it won’t bubble up and overflow.
6. Place the pie on a baking sheet in the oven (see Cooking Tip #2) and bake it for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pie from the oven, making sure the custard mixture doesn’t pour over the side. Evenly and carefully (take your time) distribute the streusel topping over the top of the pie. Carefully (again) return it to the oven and bake until the top is browned and a knife inserted into the pie ensures that the apples are cooked through, about 50 minutes longer.
7. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 20 to 30 minutes, then serve it warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired (and who wouldn’t desire that?).
Cooking Tip #1
If you don’t have a food processor, you can make the streusel topping by using your fingers to rub the cold butter into the dry ingredients until the topping is fairly uniform and crumbly.
Cooking Tip #2
It is a good idea to put a baking sheet under the pie pan as it bakes (you can put it right under the pie pan, or on a rack below if you have the oven space), as the streusel topping can tend to bubble over the side a bit, and trust me when I tell you that your kitchen will get more than a little bit smoky if that happens.
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