Recipe: Dutch Crumble Apple Pie

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Although I was born and raised in Los Angeles, I grew up in a very Taiwanese household. Holidays aren’t my family’s forte. In fact, we haven’t properly celebrated one for decades. Family gathering are rare and if they occur at all, they’re usually business-centric.

But in a true turn of events, this year I was lucky enough to spend the festivities up in the Bay Area with a warm, wonderful bunch with all-American traditions: an old fashioned Christmas tree, a gift-exchange session, a formal dinner, extended family visits — the whole shebang. It was delightful to be able to partake in all the regular holiday traditions.

I was so excited, I decided to contribute with a homemade Dutch crumb apple pie for Christmas dinner. Start with the crust, then core and cut the apples. After that, it’s all really just putting the ingredients together. We prepped and assembled pre-party and popped it in the oven when all the guests had arrived. Nothing builds up an appetite more than the smell of an apple pie baking in the kitchen.

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Here’s the recipe:

Pie Dough [Adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
Makes enough dough for one single-crust pie.
1 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons (½ tablespoons) sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold

Gather your ingredients: Fill a one cup liquid measuring cup with water, and drop in a few ice cubes; set it aside. In a large bowl — whisk together 1 ¼ cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Dice one stick of very cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch pieces. Get out your pastry blender.

Make your mix: Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour and begin working them in with your fingers. When all of the butter pieces are the size of tiny peas — this won’t take long — stop. Yes, even if it looks uneven.

Glue it together: Start by drizzling ¼ cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes, if there are any left!) over the butter and flour mixture. Using a rubber or silicon spatula, gather the dough together. You’ll probably need an additional 1/8 cup (30 ml or 2 tbs) of cold water to bring it together, but add it a tablespoon as a time. Once you’re pulling large clumps with the spatula, take it out and get your hands in there (see how that big bowl comes in handy?). Gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading them gently together.

Pack it up: Let the dough chill in the fridge for one hour, but preferably at least two, before rolling it out.

Dutch Crumb Topping:
1 – 9″ pastry pie crust
3 lbs apples (I use Granny Smith)
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare a single pastry pie crust in a 9″ glass baking dish. (When rolling the flour out, add flour accordingly until the crust is easy to roll.)
Preheat your oven to 425*.
Peel, core and slice your apples and place in a large bowl filled with water. We like to cut our apples into small chunks. In a large pot, melt butter. Add in sugars and stir to combine. If the mixture is dry, add in 1 Tbsp water to make it a liquid. Add in remaining ingredients and mix well. Drain the apple slices and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Gently mix the apples with the sauce being sure not to break up the apple slices. Pour mixture into your prepared pie shell.

For the topping:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

Combine the dry ingredients. Add in melted butter or margarine and mix until mixture is crumbly and thoroughly combine.
Evenly spread the mixture onto the pie, making sure it is all the way to the edges.
Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes and turn heat down to 350*. Put aluminum foil over the pie and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you can smell the aromatics from a couple feet away.

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