Prepare yourself for a long endeavor. I usually spread the steps out over multiple days. Allow a minimum of an hour (probably more) to make all the components and let them rest, another ten minutes for assembly, up to two hours of baking time, and preferably half an hour to cool. So likely four hours or more.
Cream cheese crust
by The Pie and Pastry Bible, from
Makes 2 – 9″ crusts
Prep time: about 20 minutes | Rest time: 30 minutes to two hours
- 12 T unsalted butter (cut into small pieces and frozen if you’re feeling fancy, otherwise cold)
- 2 c pastry flour / all-purpose flour (dip & sweep)
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t baking powder
- 4.5 oz (one and a half 3-oz packages) cream cheese
- 2 T ice water
- 1 T cider vinegar
- Put a cup of water in the freezer if you’re like me and don’t keep ice around.
- In your food processor, process dry ingredients.
- Add cream cheese in 3-4 pieces, process ~20 seconds, until mix resembles coarse meal.
- Add the butter and pulse till all pieces are smaller than a pea.
- Add the water and vinegar. Pulse a few times and transfer to a gallon ziploc.
- Knead the mix with the heels of your hand till it holds together and feels slightly stretchy. Usually that amount of liquid is perfect for me but if needed you can add a little more water.
- Split in two, form discs about 5-6″ around and wrap in plastic wrap or ziplocs.
by The Pie and Pastry Bible, from
Makes filling for one pie
Prep time: roughly 30-35 minutes | Rest time: 30 minutes
- 3 pounds – about 7 medium – baking apples (golden delicious, granny smith, honeycrisp, etc)
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (zest your lemon first!)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or less if you don’t like it that much)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (preferably buy whole and grate it fresh)
- 1/8 tsp (shy) cloves (optional)
- 1/3 c light brown sugar
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp butter, cold
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Peel and core the apples, then slice into 1/4″ slices. This usually takes me about 20-30 minutes. If you prep them early, you can sprinkle the lemon juice on now to stop them from browning.
- Toss with the other ingredients. Let sit at room temperature to macerate.
Streusel pie topping
From my mom!
Makes topping for 2 pies
Prep time: 10 minutes
- ½ c sugar
- ½ c packed brown sugar
- ¾ c flour
- ¼ t ground ginger
- ¼ t ground nutmeg (preferably buy whole and grate it fresh)
- ½ t ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 t grated lemon zest
- 6 T chilled unsalted butter
- Zest your lemon for the streusel topping (then juice it for the apple filling).
- Combine dry ingredients.
- Cut in butter till it’s pea-sized.
- Split the topping in half. Put half in the fridge, and freeze the other half for your next pie!
Apple crumb pie: assembly and baking
adapted from The Pie and Pastry Bible
- Make the crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum, preferably 2 hours. Sometimes I cheat and throw it in the freezer for twenty then let it warm back up. (Assuming you’re making a crumb pie, you can freeze the second crust.) The longer you can let it rest, the less likely you’ll suffer the dreaded shrinkage.
- Prep the apple filling and leave at room temperature to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the streusel topping. Refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 425. If you have a pizza stone, throw it in.
- Prep your crust.
- Roll out the crust so it’ll overlap your pie dish by about an inch or two (roughly 13″ for a 9″ pie). It should be about 1/8″ thick. If it’s too hard to roll out, let it sit at room temp for a few minutes.
- Roll around your pin to transfer to your baking dish.
- Tuck the crust gently into the pan and roll the overhanging excess under so it all fits on the rim of your pan.
- Crimp the crust — I make a wavy crust by pressing gently on the outside with two knuckles while pressing out with one knuckle in between them.
- If it’s taken you a while to roll it out, refrigerate the crust for half an hour.
- Blind bake your crust.
- Prick the shit out of the crust with a fork, then line with parchment and fill with weights (I reuse about 2 pounds of rice).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the weights and bake five more minutes to give a little gold to the bottom. You can cover the crust with foil if it’s browning too fast.
- Fill with the apples (leaving behind the juice at the bottom of the bowl) — it’ll mound up pretty high. Save the juice for now.
- Cover with a foil dome. Cut some slits in the foil to let out steam.
- Bake for an hour. (10/2/22: try doing first bake for 50 minutes and baking the streusel longer)
- Pull out of the oven and lower the temperature to 400 degrees.
- Cut the center out of the foil dome to expose the apples but leave the crust covered.
- Top with the streusel.
- Bake another 15-25 minutes. The juices should be bubbling, and a knife or cake tester should go in smoothly. You want the apples tender, not mushy.
- Pull out of the oven, remove the foil, and cool on a rack for half an hour or longer if you have more patience than I do.
- If you’re feeling fancy, you can take the saved apple juices and simmer them in a pan till it’s bubbly for an extra hit of apple spice goodness. You can use it to top your ice cream with the pie.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or greek yogurt (we like lemon curd flavor).
Bakes and notes
- 2 October 2022
- 20 minute blind bake was too long, try 15 minutes
- tried rubbing lemon zest into the sugar and the lemon flavor was too strong
- cosmic crisp and honeycrisp blend was a little too tart