This past week was pi week, and for those of us that don’t do math it was pie week. Which of course means that I made an apple custard pie. Claremont throws a pie festival every year to celebrate this amazing day. Last year I entered a pie into their contest and won. This year I entered this apple custard pie, and I am happy to say it turned out great. Though it did not win, it did receive praises and that is enough for me.
Ingredients: The Food Charlatan
For the crust: Nick Malgieri’s Book Pastry
- 2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 8 TBS butter (1 stick)
- 2 eggs
For the apple filling:
- 5 large apples**
- half a lemon
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger)
For the custard layer:
- 1 and 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 5 large egg yolks (not the whites)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 and 1/2 cups white sugar
- 6 tablespoons flour
For the streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
For the crust:
1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl or food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix. If it’s in a bowl, just take a whisk to it for a minute.
2. Add the butter. If in a processor, give it a good pulse so no visible pieces remain. If you’re using a bowl, use a pastry cutter.
3. Use a fork to beat the eggs enough to break them up, and add to the bowl. If in a processor, give it a pulse until it forms a dough. If you do it too much, the dough will become too soft. If you want, you can also knead with your hands; that is my preferred method.
4. Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead together 3-4 times to make it smooth.
5. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and form them into disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour. This dough makes two crusts. This particular pie only needs one crust, so if you want you can freeze the second one for up to three months. It will also last three days in the fridge.
6. Before rolling the dough, place it on a floured surface and gently knead until smooth and malleable. Form into a disk again before beginning to roll.
- When you roll out pie dough, start from the middle and roll up, then put the rolling pin back in the middle and roll down. Turn the dough and start again. You always want to start in the middle.
- Once you have the crust in the pan, you want to poke it with a fork so it does not bubble.
For the filling:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Prepare the pie crust and arrange in a DEEP pie plate, crimping edges. Set aside.
- I made this pie 3 times in the past month. The first two times I used a 10″ pie tin. I would advise you to use this size. The 3rd time, I used a 9″ tin and I feel like it was cramped. You don’t want a pie with no filling.
3. Peel and core the apples. Slice them very thin.
- I used 2 Granny Smith, 2 Fuji, and 1 Red Delicious. Most often when you make apple pie you would use Granny Smith, but since the custard is a little tart due to the sour cream you should use a mixture of different apples. You can use whatever one you like, but make sure your apples are crisp.
4. Put them in a bowl and squeeze lemon juice on them after every apple you slice, tossing to coat. This is to add flavor and also to keep the apples from browning.
- I actually didn’t use the lemon. I just moved to step 5 right away and the apple doesn’t brown.
5. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
- I don’t have a skillet large enough for 5 apples, so I used my dutch oven.
6. Add the apples. If you used a lot of lemon juice, don’t add all of it. Add 1 teaspoon maximum.
7. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the liquid is bubbling and has reduced somewhat.
- I used a sifter to take the apples out of the dutch oven, so then you leave all the extra juice behind. Since apples are juicy, you want the least amount of liquid possible in your pie since once you bake it more will release from the apples.
8. Pour the apples into the unbaked crust and set aside.
9. Make the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg yolks and vanilla.
- Most the time if you make a custard, you would mix the egg yolks and the sugar first. But since this is made with sour cream, it is better if you mix the sugar in last. I tried it both ways and sugar last is better.
10. Add the sugar and whisk well.
11. Gradually add the flour while whisking. Whisk out any lumps.
12. Pour the custard over the apples, but be careful not to overfill! How much you need depends on the size of your pie pan. I used all but about 1/3 cup of the custard.
13. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet in case it spills over the edge.
14. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. The custard should be starting to set and be golden on top when you take it out of the oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
15. Meanwhile, make the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup sugar. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in 4 tablespoons of cold butter. Cut until you have pea-sized chunks of butter. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to add it to the pie.
- So the first time I made the topping I read 1 1/3 cup sugar, not 1/3 cup sugar. I liked the extra sugar more – it covered the top of the pie more evenly.
- Also if you make the topping early it is fine, but make sure you refrigerate it. You want the butter to be chill when you start baking it or it will melt too quickly.
16. Once the pie has baked 20 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and add the streusel topping.
17. (Don’t forget to LOWER the oven temperature to 375.)
18. Use a pie crust cover*** to cover the crust so it doesn’t burn.
- If you don’t have a pie crust cover, you can just put tinfoil around the edge.
19. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes at 375 or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This was the first time I had ever eaten custard before, and it is definitely interesting. I don’t think I could eat it on its own, but in pie I am starting to become more open to the idea. The nice thing about this pie is that it has all the textures you want in a single bite. The crust is flaky, the apples are crisp, the custard is creamy, and the topping is crunchy. Though this pie has a lot of layers, they are easy to prep. This pie has something for everybody.