Apple Cream Pie – The Pie That Stole My Husband’s Heart
Also Known as: “Better Than Beer Pie”
And Also: “Pie in a Bag”
This Apple Cream Pie has many names because there are many stories connected to it. The name that I like best is “The Pie That Stole My Husband’s Heart”. The first time I made it was for my guy over 40 years ago when we first started dating. Making this pie was a huge step for me because up until then, my attempts at pie crusts were marginally successful (you can read all about my adventures in pie crusts here).
I am not one to give up easily, so I watched, I learned and I practiced at my Mom’s side. In time, I became fairly confident making this special recipe for my guy and his brothers who were busy working on their family farm. I may have stolen three hearts that day because the feedback about my pie was outstanding. They proclaimed that ‘this pie is better than beer’ and that was high praise coming from self-described starving university students more accustomed to beer as their primary source of nutrition.
The interesting thing about that original pie recipe was that it was baked inside of a paper bag. I have always been a curious cook and baking a pie inside a paper bag really piqued my interest. The result was a soft juicy filling with a flaky crust. Ever since that day, any request for an apple pie was always for ‘The Pie in a Bag’.
I have adapted the recipe somewhat over the years – paper bags are not as readily available as they once were. Another unique technique in making this pie involves pouring heavy cream directly through the top of the pastry crust in the last stages of baking. The addition of the cream enhances the delicious taste and makes for a rich smooth moistness around the layers of apple.
Apple Cream Pie will surely steal the hearts and taste buds of all who have an opportunity to enjoy it.
APPLE CREAM PIE
CHEF TALK: This recipe for Apple Cream Pie has a pleasant fragrance and a flavour which arises from the balanced combination of spices. The crust is flaky and delicious. The pie is easy to make (‘not too tricky’, as Jamie Oliver would say). You can also use Paté Brisée crust for this pie recipe – you can find the recipe here. Follow the step-by-step in photographs below the recipe. Happy Baking!
The best apple for pie, in my opinion, is a blend of apples that will provide the best flavour and texture. The apples that I chose long ago for this pie in Ontario (Mutzu; Ida Red, etc.) are different than the apples that are grown in British Columbia (I favour Ambrosia, Granny Smith, and Honey Crisp). The point is: choose a blend of apples – some that will keep their shape during baking and some that will break down slightly. It may take some experimenting to determine your own favourite. There are links to Apple Varieties in the Sources below for your reference.
PLEASE NOTE: there are two separate additions of butter: 2/3 cup in the pie crust and 2 – 3 Tablespoons of butter to dot the top of the pie filling.
Yield: 8 generous servings
Equipment: 1 – 9-inch shallow pie pan
For the Pastry:
- 1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
- 6 – 7 Tablespoons of ice water
For the Apple Pie Filling:
- 7 cups sliced apples (approximately 800 g)
- ½ cup raisins (optional, but recommended)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- pinch of fine salt
- ½ cup raw cane sugar or granulated sugar or packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup heavy cream (added at end of baking)
Making the Crust:
- Combine the dry ingredients together with a whisk.
- Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Sprinkle the ice water, a little at a time, until the dough holds together.CHEF TIP: Ice water is used in the recipe to keep the cold butter from melting. This keeps the crust flaky.
- Gather into a ball, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Making the Apple Pie Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 375oF.
- Slice the apples and place them in a large bowl that is filled with water and a few tablespoons of lemon juice (acidulated water) to prevent the apples from browning.When you are ready to make the filling, drain the apple slices well and dry them with a clean tea towel.
- Mix the sliced apples with raisins, cinnamon, flour, salt and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Set aside while you prepare the crust. (NOTE: the small pieces of cold butter are added later on top of the pie filling after it is piled into the crust).
To Assemble the Pie:
- Using a little over half of the dough, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness in a circle to fit the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with a ½ inch overhang.CHEF TIP: To easily transfer the rolled out dough into the pie pan, fold the dough around the rolling pin and lay it over the pie pan as shown in the photograph.
- Pile the prepared apple pie filling mixture into the pie pan.
- Now sprinkle the small pieces (2 – 3 Tablespoons of butter) on top of the apple pie filling.
- With your fingers, moisten the top edges of the pie crust with a little water (this will act as a glue to bind the top crust to the bottom crust).
- Roll out the remainder of the dough and place on top of the pie filling, leaving a ½ inch overhang. Trim any dough in excess of a ½ inch, as shown.
- Cut a hole in the centre of the circle of dough large enough to pour the cream into (approximately ½ inch in diameter).
- Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crust together and pinch together to make a decorative edge. The photograph shows how to hold your thumb and index finger slightly apart and use the index finger on the opposite hand to push into the other two fingers to create a scallop as shown.
- Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes before baking.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet (in case of bubbling over the edges of the pie shell) and bake the pie at 375oF for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325oF until the apples are tender (about 30 minutes).CHEF TIP: Use the tip of a knife and insert into the top of the pie through the hole to check the apple slices for doneness.
- Remove the pie from the oven and carefully pour the ½ cup of heavy cream through the hole in the top of the pie.
- Return the pie to the oven and bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes so that the cream is absorbed into the layers of the apple pie filling.
- Remove the pie from the oven and place on a rack and cool to room temperature.
TO SERVE: Serve slightly warm or at room temperature or chilled with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
MAKING AHEAD: Prepare the Apple Cream Pie up until the baking step (Step 8). Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Once you are ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven and follow from Step 8 on.
STORAGE: Refrigerate any leftover Apple Cream Pie due to the cream in the filling, covered loosely with plastic wrap.
I will be posting a recipe in the future for a press-in crust and streusel topping for those of you who still want to make a great apple pie but are not quite ready to attempt a pie crust.
The best advice I can give anyone is practice makes perfect when making pie crusts. You never know, you might end up stealing that special someone’s heart in the process.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Step by step in photographs for Apple Cream Pie:
Please CLICK the link above to access my UrbnSpice LEARNING TIPS, which are listed alphabetically on the Learning Tips blog post under the following subheadings:
- Cutting pies and Tarts
- Oven Temperature Accuracy
- Vanilla Extract
You Might Also Like:
Australian Meat Pies (including a recipe for Pate Brisee)
White Chocolate and Lemon Curd Tart (with press-in Crust)
The Best Blend of Apples
If you make this very special recipe for Apple Cream Pie, I would love to hear your feedback. Did you steal someone’s heart away, too?
You can find me on social media – just be sure to tag @urbnspice and #urbnspice so I am sure to see it. Enjoy!
The Urbnspice Chef
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