Tag Archives: apple pie

Apple Sour Cherry Pie

12 Feb

I always have the best results when I don’t over think things.  Take my hair, for instance.  The days that I’m late, half-showered and furiously drying my hair to get out the door are usually the days that people tell me my hair looks good.  “What did you do to your hair?” they will ask.  And my answer is always the same – I have no idea.

On the other hand, the days that I plan and try really hard to do my hair tend to be a disaster.  I learned this in a big way a couple of years ago.  The night before I had an important meeting, I decided that my hair needed to be totally revamped.  I was nervous about the meeting and my split ends were just not going to cut it (no pun intended). I decided to get a very last minute cut and ended up with a 7pm appointment at Fast Eddie’s Chop Shop (red flag #1).  The night started out with promise – the place was edgy and the stylist’s name was Emily.  She was new (red flag #2) and eager to style my hair.  She washed my hair and started to cut.  All of a sudden, the lights went out (red flag #3).  The entire street blacked out and we couldn’t see a thing.  I sat there, with a half-cut wet head praying for the lights to come back on.  The emergency lights cast a blue glow across the studio as I watched the clock close in on 8pm. Word soon reached us that there had been an accident on a nearby street which had knocked out blocks of electricity.

I was in a mild state of panic, but Emily assured me that we could do this (red flag #4).  By the glow of the emergency lights and a flashlight she continued to cut my hair.  I went home with a wet head, tired and ready for bed (it was 10pm).  Needless to say, I woke up the next morning, showered and dried my hair.  It was awful.  Just terrible.  Uneven with a hint of a mullet.  I was devastated, but had no option but to summon some confidence and go to my meeting.  Then, I crawled back to my regular stylist and confessed that I cheated on her in the name of vanity and begged her to fix it.  $80 later, my hair was short but at least the mullet was gone.

I keep learning this lesson time and again in various parts of my life.  Over thinking and trying too hard cause me to lose perspective and get caught in the weeds.  How many times do I need to learn to simply rely on my instinct and relax?  I have no idea.

The point of this story?  Apple Cherry Crumb Pie!  When I make pie, I’m very focused.  I read and re-read directions and over think everything.  Recently, I had accomplished all of my planned pies and had one recipe of dough left.  Not wanting it to go to waste, I started scouring my cupboards and fridge to see what I could come up with for a pie.  I had 4 apples, one can of Oregon Sour Cherries and some oatmeal.  Apple cherry pie with an oatmeal crumb topping!  I chopped and stirred adding a dash of this and a sprinkle of that.  Not a care in the world entered my mind as I effortlessly made this pie without following a recipe.  What resulted was an amazing pie that everyone who had a piece said was my best one yet.  “How did you do it?” they asked.  I have no idea.

But, I’m going to recreate it and share it with you!

Apple Cherry Crumb Pie


1 recipe for a 9 inch pie crust (or best of both worlds pie dough)

4 Apples (2 Granny Smith, 2 Jonagold or Fuji)

1 can Oregon Sour Cherries (the kind canned in WATER!  NO SYRUP)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 Tablespoons corn starch

1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice (barely a teaspoon)

Oatmeal crumb topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter but into 1/4 inch pieces


Preheat oven to 400

Prepare your crust.  Roll to a 13 inch circle, place into a 9 inch glass pie pan. Gently tuck the dough into the pan and sculpt the edge.  Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons corn starch. Set aside.

Peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can cut some of the slices in half so that the apples lay more compactly.  Toss with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.  Place in a large dutch oven (or large skillet) and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir often and remove from heat when apples are soft but still hold their shape.  Place apples into a colander over a bowl to remove excess moisture.  Let cool to room temperature.

Open Oregon Cherries and drain well.

While waiting for the apples to cool, make crumb topping.  Put the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Scatter the butter over the top.  Pulse repeatedly until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Empty the crumbs into a large bowl then rub them together between your fingers until you have large, buttery crumbs.

Turn apples and cherries into a bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and toss with the remaining sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch mixture.  Give the mixture a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice (you don’t want too much) and turn the mixture into chilled pie shell.

Place the crumbs on top of the pie and gently press them into place.

Place the pie on the center rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and the juices bubble.  Use a pie crust shield to prevent the crust from browning too much if necessary.  Let cool for at least an hour before slicing.  May this also be the best pie you’ve ever made!


As American As They Come Apple Pie

23 Jan

What better to commemorate National Pie Day then a big, deep-dish,  double-crust, packed to the brim, all-American apple pie?  And a darn right perfect one at that!  Yep, let’s just skip to the end – I did it and it was awesome.

Week after week, I sit here behind my keyboard and espouse my latest pietifications.  I’ve conquered fruit pies, lattice crusts, mini pies and butter crusts. Cream pies and custard pies – shoot, they ain’t got nothin’ on me.  Crimped edges?  Crispy bottom crust?  Bring it.  But there is one pie I have steered clear of.  One pie that threatens to topple all of the pie skills I have acquired over this past year.  The one, the only… DOUBLE CRUST APPLE PIE.  As if getting one crust right isn’t hard enough, this monstrosity demands perfection on the top and bottom!  I haven’t had the courage to take it on until now.  But a pie holiday calls for the most serious pie I can make.

This recipe is the collision of Grandma Ople’s tried and true and the America’s Test Kitchen 2006 scientific experiment.  I figured old school meets new school would be a good mash up.  Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is one of the highest rated on  If you know me, then you know that I swear by the four and five star recipes on that site.  On the rare occasion that I cook, you can pretty much bet that I found it on Allrecipes.  I also LOVE America’s Test Kitchen because really, why do your own experimenting when someone has already done it for you?

From Grandma Ople, I adopted her technique of making a caramel sauce to toss with the apples instead of the usual sugar/brown sugar mixture.  I also adopted the suggestion of saving some of that sauce and brushing the top crust with it.  America’s Test Kitchen confirmed what I had begun to notice about apple pie – cooking the apples first ensures that they don’t shrink away from the top crust and that you minimize the moisture that threatens to make your bottom crust soggy.  Voila – my perfect apple pie!

As American As They Come Apple Pie


1 double crust recipe of Best of Both Worlds pie crust.  Follow this link for the recipe and instructions.  Refrigerate the discs of dough for at least one hour or up to two days.

10 apples or about 5 pounds (6 Granny Smith, 4 Braeburn or Fuji)

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg white, slightly beaten (for bottom crust)


Roll one disc of dough into a 13 inch circle.  Place into a 91/2 inch deep dish pie plate.  Trim dough to leave a 1/2 inch overhang.  Return to refrigerator to chill.  Next, roll the other disc of dough into a 13 inch circle and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator.

Place a baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 (or 400 convection).

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.


Peel and slice apples into 1/4 inch thick slices.  You can cut some of the slices in half so that the apples lay more compactly.  Toss with sugar/spice mixture and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest.  Place in a large dutch oven (or large skillet) and cook, covered, over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Stir often and remove from heat when apples are soft but still hold their shape.  Place apples into a colander over a bowl to remove excess moisture.  Let cool to room temperature.

While apples are cooling, prepare caramel sauce.  In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tablespoons of butter.  Once melted, add the flour and cornstarch to make a paste.  Add water, 1/2 cup brown sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once the mixture reaches a boil, lower the heat and simmer for three minutes.  Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Toss apples with 1 Tablespoon lemon juice then add 2/3 of the caramel mixture.  Reserve some of the sauce to glaze the top crust.  Remove pie plate from refrigerator and brush bottom crust with slightly beaten egg white.  Pour apples into chilled pie shell and arrange so that they lay compactly.

I could have used more apples!

Cover gently with the top crust and trim the edges to 1/2 inch overhang.  To achieve an even edge, fold the edge of the top crust and tuck it under the edge of the bottom crust so that the smooth, folded edge is flush with the pie plate.  Create a decorative edge and then use a knife to cut four vents into the top.  Brush crust lightly with reserved caramel sauce and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.

Place pie on baking sheet and bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and juices bubble.

Use a pie shield or foil if crust begins to brown before pie is done.  Enjoy with ice cream, by itself, for breakfast, for a snack or all of the above!



Caramel Apple Pie Bites

11 Dec

Do you ever have those weeks where you feel like you’re trying way too hard?  For some reason, you have deliberately complicated your days with too many tasks and too many commitments all in the name of proving to yourself you can do it all? That was my week.

I blame it on kindergarten.  If they were grading me, my report card would be full of “NI” (Needs Improvement).  I keep hearing my husband’s words when I suggested that I’d rather feed my kids cereal for dinner than buy Market Day fundraiser food.   “We can’t be THOSE parents.  We have to be involved.” Look, I’m a joiner.  I’m a helper.  Need something?  I’m your girl.  I’m Miss Involvement….usually.

I made the rookie mistake of agreeing to the very first thing the PTO asked me to do.  It was going to be nearly impossible with such short notice, but my husband’s words were haunting me.  I was asked to bake a breakfast casserole and provide muffins and bread for a teacher appreciation breakfast and deliver them to the coordinator’s home that night.  Here’s what I was up against: I had to work late, my husband had to work late, and my kids (and dog) were being dropped at my in-laws until I could go get them.  Somewhere in there I had to make  breakfast casserole, get some muffins and bread and deliver them at a reasonable hour. Oh, and put my kids to bed.

So I did what any hard working, multitasking Mom would do…totally forgot I was supposed to do it.

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Mini Apple Pie Bites

2 Oct

IMG_3559 copy

I’m feeling the consequences of too much pie.  I think I am honestly hung over.  It is not news that pie crust is nowhere near healthy – I’m not even going to try to claim the calcium from butter.  Ian and I have been eating an average of one mini-pie a day…for the past month.  We’re like a pair of bears getting ready for the winter hibernation.  I thought the 17 Day Diet was the solution – I would start today, detox, and find the strength to make pie and not eat it.  Then Ian suggested that we should just make ourselves sick on pie, then we would no longer want it.  So, with a sigh, I brewed some coffee and had a pumpkin mini-pie for breakfast.

I couldn’t let fall pass me by without working on an apple mini-pie.  There’s just something about a local apple – I could eat one for every meal.  So, this week I embarked on experimenting, eating, and more experimenting.

I used the apple pie filling recipe that I posted earlier, but made some tweaks and figured out how to pre-cook it without turning it mushy.  Then, instead of glazing like the pumpkin, I sprinkled them with sanding sugar.

Unlike a regular apple pie, the apples need to be cut pretty small to pile into the  middle of the little circle.  They are even a little big in the picture below.

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Apple Crumb Pie

15 Sep

Enough about all of the books, blogs and articles that espouse how to make great pie.  It’s time to put my hands in the bowl and get dirty.

Over the past month or so, I’ve made ten attempts at various incarnations of a pie crust (attempt number eleven is in the fridge as I type).  I’ve landed on a pie crust recipe that is a hybrid of a few that I’ve had success with.  There’s not much creativity in tweaking a pie crust recipe, but this one seems to have the right shortening to butter ratio for my taste.

Best of Both Worlds Pie Dough

For a 9-inch single crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (Cold!)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

4 Tablespoons (a little more than 1/3 cup) shortening (I like Spectrum palm oil shortening) (Cold!)

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (Cold!)

* cut both of these into tablespoon-sized pieces

Just under 1/4 cup ice water

1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (just add to the water)

Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients.  Drop in the butter and shortening.  Pulse only until they are cut into the flour – don’t over process.  It will look like some are the size of peas and some pieces might be larger.  Gradually begin to add the water through the chute pulsing each time.  Add about a tablespoon at a time. Watch carefully – you want to stop as soon as the dough can be pinched together.  This will happen in the blink of an eye.  The dough will not form in the processor like you would expect cookie dough to.  It might even still look a little crumbly.  If you can pinch it, turn it out onto saran wrap and form it gently into a ball.  Wrap the dough, flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In future attempts, I’m going to try a vodka twist and one that includes an egg just to spice things up.

It was all about apple pie this weekend.  I mean, you can’t be a pie maker (or an American so I hear) if you can’t make an apple pie.  Continue reading