Savoriesnsweets’ Blog

Kitchen Experiment: Apple Crumb Pie & Apple Crumb Tart

Posted on: October 10, 2009

I’ve been slow to make this post this week because I’ve been working hard on different projects from my externship.  I’ve also been trying to get old issues of Gourmet.  I’m sad to see that it’s being shut down and since I didn’t read it for very long, I’ve been trying to see if anyone had issues they would pass on. I’ve been very successful!  So successful, in fact, that I managed to find someone willing to give me a collection dating back to January 1967! I’m excited to be able to see food trends, issues and debates shift throughout the past few decades thanks to the generosity of a woman who saved and clearly, read so many of the issues.  I don’t know if you’re reading, but thanks for your generous gift!

That being said, I did manage to squeeze in one kitchen experiment this week.  I first made an apple crumb pie. It’s the first pie I’ve made with a Streusel (crumb) topping.  That pie however, wasn’t as good as it could have been. If you like your pies, not to sweet, then this is the pie for you. I felt it needed an accompaniment like some ice cream or whipped cream so that it really had nice sweetness and the flavors all would come through.  The tart was a much better attempt at making a nice dessert with a streusel topping.  Both used the same crust, a basic pate brisée and a combination of apples, spices and sugar.

Here’s my basic pate brisée recipe.  It makes enough fora pie that has both a crust on the bottom as well as a crust on top. There will be some extra so you can also use that to make mini-tarts, mini-pies or whatever you like.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 lb cake flour
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 oz cold water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt.  Cut your butter into pieces and add to your flour.  Then using your hands, move from the bottom of the bowl and break the pieces of butter.  (It’s kind of like you’re a miner and you’re digging for nuggets, only you’re breaking up your butter. At least that’s how my pastry instructor explained it.) Once you have cranberry size pieces of butter throughout, add the cold water.  Combine with  your hands until it has come together.  Then, turn out the dough to a lightly floured surface  and knead until it has completely come together.  Shape into a disk, wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  If at any point while making this dough, you notice the butter is melting, put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm it back up. You want to be able to see chunks of butter throughout the dough.

The dough was the hardest part of making either of these desserts and that wasn’t even very hard!  So, here’s the recipe for the Apple Crumb Pie.

Ingredients for the Streusel topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 T butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and work with your hands until clumps form and everything is combined.  Place in refrigerator while working on the rest of the pie.

Ingredients for the pie filling

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 T cornstarch

In a large bowl, add the lemon juice and apples.  Then add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, all spice, nutmeg and cornstarch. Combine thoroughly.  Let the fruit sit and develop flavor while you roll out the dough.

Pre-heat your oven to 350.  On a lightly floured surface, unwrap your dough.  Use a bench scraper to cut the disk in half and shape each half into smaller disks. Wrap and refrigerate one of the smaller disks.  Roll out the remaining disk to about 1/4 inch thick.  Line a 9 inch pie pan with the dough and trim any excess.  Add the fruit to the pie pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and uncover.  Break the streusel topping into crumbs and use it to top the pie. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Cool for at least 3 hours.  To serve,  slice the pie and serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream or both!

Here’s a shot of my pie.

Apple Crumb Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Since I thought my pie could have used some improvement, I decided to try something similar.  I then made an Apple Crumb Tart.  I used the other half of the pate briseé to make this tart, so I didn’t have to make more dough.  Here’s my recipe.

Ingredients for the Streusel topping:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and work with your hands until clumps form and everything is combined.  Place in refrigerator while working on the rest of the tart.

Ingredients for the tart filling

  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 T cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup raisins (or slivered almonds)

In a large bowl, add the lemon juice and apples.  Then add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, all spice, nutmeg, cornstarch, and raisins or almonds. (I added the raisins since I thought a nice chewy texture would be a nice contrast to the crunch of streusel.  If you want more crunch, I think slivered almonds would work nicely.) Combine thoroughly.  Let the fruit sit and develop flavor while you roll out the dough.

Pre-heat your oven to 350.  On a lightly floured surface, unwrap your dough.  Roll out the  disk to about 1/4 inch thick.  Line a 9 inch tart pan with the dough and use your rolling pin to trim any excess.  Place your tart pan on a half sheet pan.  Add the fruit to the tart pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove tart from oven and uncover.  Break the streusel topping into crumbs and use it to top the tart. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Cool for at least 3 hours.  Slice to serve.  You can accompany the tart with ice cream or whipped cream, but I thought this tart was great on its own!

Apple Crumb Tart

Apple Crumb Tart

Sliced Tart

Sliced Tart

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