To be sure, one of the highlights of the fall are apples. I could go on and on about the beauty of this fruit (and yes … of course … the temptation of it all), but I’m sure you all know that there’s not much better than a juicy, crisp apple.

While we enjoyed our mini pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving dessert, we also enjoyed one of the best and easiest apple pies that I’ve ever made. It’s a favourite of mine and what would dessert be if you didn’t make your own personal favourites … especially when you’re the baker!

This is a pie that can showcase the beauty of any apple you choose, although my personal favourite is the Royal Gala. The crust is a cinch to make. While I prefer all butter crusts this one is a bit sturdier thanks to a mixture of butter and vegetable shortening. There’s a hint of orange, a sweet crumb topping and a surprise.

What’s a bite of apple without a surprise?!


Cream Puff’s Apple Pie

Note: This is a very forgiving pie so feel free to use any crust you like, including a favourite one if you have it. I usually make this with Royal Gala apples but you can use whatever apples you wish.

For the crust:

3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into very small pieces
1 cup vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup to 1 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Add the butter and shortening and with your fingers, gently begin working the fat into the flour mixture. Rub the butter and shortening into the flour until you have a mixture that is very coarse and looks like large flakes of oatmeal.

Begin adding the ice water by adding 1/2 a cup. Start gathering the dough into a ball. If it comes together, you can turn it out onto a well-floured surface. If not, add a bit more water (a tablespoon at a time) until it comes together.

Turn it out onto a well-floured surface and knead lightly 2 or 3 times, until it comes together into a ball. (Do not knead the dough for too long or it will be tough!). Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but you can refrigerate it for up to 2 or 3 days.

This one recipe will yield two single 9-inch pies or one double 9-inch pie.

For the filling:

6 or 7 apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces

Combine all the filling ingredients (except the butter) in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half. Put half in the refrigerator for another pie.

Flour a work surface and gently roll the dough into an 11-inch round (it should be about 1/8th to a 1/4-inch thick). Use a light touch with the dough as you don’t want to overwork it.

Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate or pie tin. Trim the excess dough and crimp the edges decoratively or simply roll them under so that you have an even edge.

Take the prepared filling and pack it into crust. Dot the filling with the butter and then put the pie in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

For the crumb topping:

1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

While the pie is in the refrigerator, mix all of the topping ingredients together, rubbing the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until you have a very crumbly topping.

Once the pie has chilled, sprinkle the topping evenly over the pie.

Bake the pie in the centre of the oven on a baking sheet to avoid any spills. The pie usually takes about an hour and ten minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s done when the crust and topping are golden and the apple filling begins to bubble through the topping.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes for slicing and serving.



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