More apple pie! How can this possibly be a bad thing? (Health nuts: Silence!) Especially with some French vanilla ice cream and the company of your most ardent forks. Hee.
When I made the classic apple pie, I was a bit surprised to realise that the filling recipe yielded enough for two – not one, but two – pies. I could have mounded the filling a bit more in the original pie, I suppose, but there still would have been about a third of the whole batch of filling left. I decided to use only half of the filling in the classic pie, and figure out what to do with the rest later.
The answer sprang into my mind quite unexpectedly the very next day: Make Dutch apple pie!
Dutch apple pie is my favourite kind of apple pie, anyway. It’s an exceedingly close contest between thick, flaky pie crust topping and crunchy strudel topping; but in my book, strudel wins. By a hair. The strudel topping of turns the apple pie into a cross between apple pie and crumb cake! Winning! The contrast between the crunchy strudel and soft apple filling is stellar, too. Recall that texture is an important part of taste.
I added more cinnamon and pectin to this half of the pie filling, and also added 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I liked the boost to the cinnamon flavour, and I also think the increased pectin helped the pie filling gel a bit more. The vanilla, however, was just a tad too strong for me. It shadowed the cinnamon and apple flavours, and apple pie should taste primarily of apple! My HubblyBeast and our friends liked it, but I think 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract would be the perfect amount to give the pie a bright undercurrent of vanilla without being overly strong.
I had to think a bit about how to bake this pie, because the classic apple pie bakes for so long – this is done so that the top crust bakes properly – that were I to so bake the Dutch apple pie, the strudel would be burnt to a crisp. Even aluminum foil wouldn’t be enough to save one’s strudel from so long in the oven! I finally decided to bake the pie for as long as I would the crumb cake from which I “borrowed” the strudel recipe. (Really, I must get around to posting about that crumb cake. It’s the best one I’ve ever had, and the scary thing is it’s very fast to make!) The apple filling just needs to get to the point where it’s bubbling, and the strudel needs to bake just to the point where it’s golden brown. About thirty-five minutes in the oven at 350°F worked a charm. I was one happy kitchenchantress when this thing finally cooled to room temperature! Husband & I were standing over the pie with forks at the ready, like slavering beasts about to go in for the kill.
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Dutch Apple Pie
Yield: one 9″ pie, 8 – 12 servings
For the crust:
1 9″ deep dish pie pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more flour for dusting the rolling surface and rolling pin
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp. salt
12 TBS (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into roughly 1/4″ pieces & very cold
8 TBS (1 stick) vegetable shortening, cut into 6 – 8 pieces & very cold
1/4 cup vodka, chilled
1/4 cup ice water
For the strudel:
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling*:
1 cup sugar**
1/3 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon*** (I found this amount of cinnamon to be barely noticeable, and will add 1/2 tsp. next time)
1 generous TBS cornstarch
2 tsp. powdered pectin
4 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 1/2 lbs. Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2″ cubes OR into slices 1/4″ thick
2 1/2 lbs. Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled, and cut into 1/2″ cubes OR into slices 1/4″ thick
boiling water (3 quarts per 4 lbs. of prepared apples)
2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
For the crust:
In a food processor, blend 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt until combined, about 5 – 8 seconds. Scatter the butter and shortening on top of the flour mixture and process until the butter and shortening are incorporated, and uneven clumps with no remaining floury bits are formed, about 15 seconds.
With a spatula, scrape sides of food processor and redistribute dough evenly around the bottom of the processor. Add remaining 1 cup flour and process until the mixture has broken into pieces and is evenly distributed around the processor, 4 – 8 seconds.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and pour the vodka and ice water over the dough ball. With a spatula, press and flip the dough with the liquids until the liquids are absorbed and a cohesive, sticky ball forms.
Wrap the dough ball in cling film and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
For the strudel:
Mix together all ingredients save for flour. Fold in flour with spatula. Cover and set aside.
For the filling:
Mix the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and pectin in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the pieces of butter and toss to combine. Set aside.
Reserve the vanilla, if using, and add after the sugar mixture has been combined with the apples.
Place the apples you have cored, peeled, and cut into a large, heat-proof bowl (5 quarts, minimum; 8 quarts is best). Heat water to boiling in the stated ratio of 3 quarts of water per 4 lbs. of prepared apples. Pour the boiling water over the apples and let sit for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so that all apples have a chance to be submerged in the water.
Drain the apples (I used a collander) and return them to the large bowl. Add the sugar mixture to the apples. Stir and toss to thoroughly combine. The butter pieces will melt, which is to be expected. Add vanilla extract, if using. Set apple mixture aside to cool completely.
Assembly and baking:
Once the apples have cooled to room temperature, and the dough ball has chilled for at least an hour, it is time to prepare the crust.
Preheat oven to 425°F.Generously flour a large, flat surface along with a rolling pin. Take the dough ball and place it on the floured surface; it will be sticky, so be patient. Roll dough ball out into about 1/2″ thickness. Carefully transfer the flat disc to the pie plate. Press disc so that it evenly lines the inside of the pie plate. Crimp edges so that they are more or less even and line the edge of the pie plate. Loosely cover with cling film, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes have passed, remove cling film and poke holes in bottom of crust with a fork. Place a large piece of aluminum foil loosely over crust, so that the entire crust is covered, and put pie weights in the bottom. (I use dried kidney beans for this, and they work beautifully.)
Bake crust for 17 minutes; remove pie weights and aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 4 – 7 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Adjust oven to 350°F.
Once the bottom crust has cooled, place pie dish on a rimmed cookie sheet to catch any drips. Add the pie filling, ensuring it is evenly distributed. Break strudel mixture into thumnail-sized pieces with your fingers and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pie, ensuring all of the apples are covered.
Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil. Bake pie for 35 minutes, or until apple mixture is bubbling (up to 45 minutes). You can check for this by cutting into the center of the strudel topping with a knife to peer into the pie. Do not overbake pie, or strudel topping will become hard, rather than crunchy, when cool.
Carefully take pie off rimmed baking sheet and place pie on cooling rack. Allow pie to cool completely to room temperature. This is important! The pie needs to cool completely so that it will thicken properly. If you cut the pie while it’s still hot, or even lukewarm, the juices will run out of the pie, and your hard work will have been for a pie that is still tasty, but not stellar.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
*I found that this much in weight of apples made enough filling for two pies. You have two options:
1. Halve everything for the filling, and continue as directed for the rest of the pie.
2. You can keep the ratios as they are, and store half of the apple mixture in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days, to be used for a second pie or for cake filling, ice cream topping, apple turnover filling – the possibilities are many, as the apple filling is absolutely scrumptious on its own before being baked into a pie.
**You may increase or reduce the amount of either type of sugar, depending on your preferences. Personally, I think you could add up to 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed, of course), before the pie became too sweet; everyone is different, however, and you may prefer a milder tasting pie. The sugar ratios as presented created a pie that was quite balanced between the flavours of sugar and apple, still with a robust apple flavour.
***You can also add nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and other spices you feel would go well with apples and cinnamon. Be cautious with the amounts, as spices are stronger than they seem. I wouldn’t add more than 1/4 tsp. each of nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, as these spices, along with cinnamon, would quickly overwhelm the flavour of the apples.
Sources: Crust from Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Holiday Baking, 2013; apple pie filling an amalgamation of Cook’s Illustrated All-Time Best Holiday Baking, 2013, Leite’s Culinaria, and Serious Eats; many helpful tips found at Serious Eats; strudel topping from Dave at Doodledee.com (unfortunately, link is no longer working)