unnecessary goodness: brown sugar cinnamon crusted apple custard pie

Here's the recipe promised from a few weeks ago when my fellow lemon and I, Shannon were having our "Chicken and Egg" bake-off.  This is a ridiculously good apple pie.  So unnecessary, but completely delicious.  I made it a couple of Sundays ago when I had the perfect combination of time on my hands, a warm sunny breeze coming through the windows and football on the radio and tv while Greg was out golfing and the cat and I were enjoying a rare Sunday at home.  So nice.  So glad I maximized that day.

I have this crazy theory about soaking in all the last warm sunny moments every Fall so I can call them up in my mind when it's bone chilling cold in February.  And the crazy thing about this is I got the idea from reading "Frederick" a very sweet children's book I have known all my life and read about a hundred times to my girls.  He's a little mouse who doesn't store up food for the winter, but instead stores up the warmth of the sun.  I risk sounding completely silly, but I really do sit in the sun coming weakly through the windows in the Winter and think back to the warm sunny Fall days.  Somehow that warmth is more accessible than the Caribbean sun or the Florida beach.  I know whey the Florida beach mental imagery does not work, however.  We are very lucky that my husband's family owns condos in Fort Walton Beach on the panhandle and it's gorgeous there, but not necessarily so over Spring Break.  I think we've hunkered down through too many barely 70 degree windy days on the beach for thoughts of Florida to warm me up in a reliable way.  I'll just be like Frederick.  Well, with the notable exception that I do store up a lot of food all year round.  Pretty hard to go hungry here as long as the gas stove works.

And maybe those thoughts come from thinking of everyone affected by Sandy.  No power and none in sight for days.  We're all praying for you.  Some days it's good to be from "flatlander" country here in the good old Midwest.  Thankful.

But back to the pie:  so yummy you don't need ice cream to go with it, but I did like it best warm.  Amazing that just stirring an egg into a little heavy cream could change the character of the apple pie into some heavenly, creamy thing.  The brown sugar and cinnamon in the crust is brilliant.  You can roll a pie crust.  I'm very serious about this.  If it gets a little crumbly on the edges and you have to patch it together, if your crimping does not look like a Martha Stewart photograph, if it's too brown on the edges:  you still did it and it will still taste amazing!  Try it.

Brown Sugar-Apple Custard Pie

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crust
2 C flour
2 T packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 C cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3-4 T ice water

Pie Filling
3 C peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples
3 C peeled and sliced Macintosh apples
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T flour or 2 T King Arthur Flour Pie Filling Enhancer
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 C heavy cream

1 egg white, lightly beaten until frothy
1 T sugar

Make the crust processing the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together (whisk, use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer or use a food processor).  Pulse or cut in cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pulse or stir in cold water starting with 3 T and adding more if needed (I put ice cubes and water in a measuring cup and measure tablespoonfuls out of it) until crust comes together in a ball.  Divide in dough in half and flatten each ball into a fat disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make the filling.  Toss all of the apples in a big bowl with the lemon juice, flour/pie filling enhancer, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Measure the cream and whisk in the egg.

Roll out the bottom crust on a lightly floured surface (sprinkle a little flour on top of the disk too as you roll so your rolling pin does not stick).  Line the pan with the crust.  Heap the apple filling in the crust and pour the cream mixture evenly over the apples.  Lightly flour your surface again and roll out the top crust and lay across top of pie.  Crimp edges together with your fore fingers and thumbs.  Cut about 6 slits in the top of the crust.  Brush beaten egg white on top crust and edges.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Lightly cover crimped edges of crust with pieces of foil.

Bake pie for 25 minutes.  Remove foil from crust edges (I used my pie shield and it stuck to the crust, I usually put this on after 20-25 minutes so you choose) and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until the crust is gold brown and the apples are tender (you can check with a thin knife point through the vents in the crust).  It will be ready after 45 minutes, don't sweat it.  Cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


crust ingredients

all pulsed

coming together

dough disk

apple filling

all tossed

roll out crust

cream and egg

pouring it on

vented crust

egg wash applied

pie shield

baked crust



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