Honoring National Pie Day – Testing Sour Cream Apple & Brown Sugar Crumble

“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” Jane Austen

Monday 1/23 was National Pie Day!  I never need an excuse to make a great pie but since it was National Pie Day…now I have an excuse!

After deciding I was going to partake in honoring such a wonderful “holiday”, National Pie Day…I had to decide on what pie I was going to make.  I have an abundance of apples, squash, citrus, and sweet potatoes… which do I choose from???  After mulling it over I decided on apple!  When I make apple pie I typically go with a red wine caramel filling.  I’ve grown bored with it and wanted to try another version of this great fruit.  I think I read there are over 200 variations of the apple pie…whoa!

I decided to call upon my childhood memories for something different…when grandma couldn’t make an apple pie from her own apples she would order a Marie Calendars Sour Apple Pie.  The sweet and sour flavor of the filling and the sweet crumbled topping is calling me!

I did some searching and found several versions of a Sour Cream Apple Pie… here is my version…a jumbled mix of them all.  I’m a crust junky, so I’m keeping the lattice top for this test…but…I’m guessing it’s going to be a bit much.  Using fresh local organic apples, a crust made from tallow, and a crumbled topping… it just sounds good…this pie has to be a winner!

* = organic
*^ = organic / local

Sour Cream Apple Pie & Brown Sugar Crumble

6 – 8 apples *^ (I typically use any apple that is in season, which means I may need to cook the apple slightly before placing it the pie to bake.  Also the # of apples could vary depending on their size; remember the apples reduce in the cooking process)
1 1/4 cups sour cream *
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar * (I offer the variance depending on how sweet you like your pie.  I found 3/4 cup being just a bit too sweet for my liking)
1/4 c flour *
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla *
1 egg *^

2 1/2 cups flour *
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar *
3/4 cups tallow  *^ (you can use butter or a shortening of your preference)
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice-cold water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar *

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup flour *
1/2 cup brown sugar *
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup walnuts *^ (optional)
3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed *^

Getting Started

In a food processor with dough blade or stand mixer with a dough hook add flour, salt, sugar, and tallow (or fat of your choice).  Mix till the flour turns into a crumbling texture.  In a measuring cup add vinegar to water and place in the freezer for a couple of minutes to get the water ice-cold.  Remove the water from the freezer (do not let it freeze).  With your mixer on medium speed, slowly pour/drizzle the water into the flour mixture until the dough barely holds together when pinched.  {TIP} Do not overwork the dough otherwise you will have a chewy pie crust.  Remove the dough from the bowl and roll into a ball.  Cut the ball in 1/2, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes or overnight.

Next, prep the crumbled topping by mixing the flour, sugar, and spices in a bowl.  Cut in (using a pastry blender…two butter knives will also do the trick) butter till the mixture is crumbled.  Cover and place the mixture in the refrigerator till ready to use.

For the apple filling, peel & slice apples – set aside in a large bowl. {TIP}Depending on the type of apple you use, if it’s not a typical baking apple I recommend cooking down your slices in a couple teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar before incorporating with the sour cream mixture.  In separate bowls combine flour, sugar, salt and set aside; cream together sour cream, egg, and vanilla.  Incorporate the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and pour over already peeled and sliced apples.  Mix well making sure apples are evenly coated.

Remove one of the balls of dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. {TIP} You can freeze your remaining dough for future use. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle. Keep lifting up the dough and turning it a quarter turn as you roll, rolling from the center of the dough outwards to make sure equal thickness around the circle. Fold the dough in half and transfer to a 9 inch pie pan.  {TIPs} Leave the edges hanging over the sides of the pie dish because the crust will shrink during baking.  For this reason I like to pre-bake my bottom crust for a couple of minutes to make sure there is minimal shrinkage during the bake time and to make sure it’s cooked through by the time the fruit is cooked.

Place bottom crust in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Remove and let cool slightly before adding in the apple mixture.  If there is still any crust hanging over the edges at this point, it can be removed by carefully running a knife around the edge of the crust.

[NOTE] I made a lattice top for this pie…after testing it… I don’t recommend it.  I mentioned I’m a crust junky so I wanted a double top with crust & crumble.  Unless you REALLY LOVE crust, I’d go with a simple crumble top for this one.  If you would like instructions on adding a lattice top to this pie, let me know and I can update the post accordingly. [END NOTE]

Pour the apple filling in the pre-baked pie crust and place back in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cover the pie with the refrigerated crumble topping.  Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, keeping watch the topping does not burn.

Cool on rack…serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (organic please!)…enjoy!


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