Monday 7 January 2013


Baking apple pie has a lot of rewards. I like baking one on a grey, gloomy day. 

An apple pie is like free aromatherapy. I can't help but feel brighter once I start peeling the apples. The freshness of its scent just bring on the smiley face. The scent of lemons always bring visions of sunshine. Once I add the spices, I imagine a crackling fire. The heady scent of spices makes me feel warm inside.

Part of the charm of apples is that its mild, fresh taste is the perfect vehicle for warm, comforting spices. As the pie bakes, the whole house smells so good. The whiff of hot pastry mixed with cinnamon is one of the best aromas you can ever get. 

When I make apple pie, I make a French style one. I like the crumble topping and the final sprinkle of cheese. Those give so much extra taste and added dimensions of nuttiness and saltiness. 

I feel so happy already even if the pie is still in the oven. When it comes out, it is such glorious sight. I always risk burning myself with too hot pie but I don't mind. 

Ingredients for the pastry:

1 cup flour
1/2 c. butter, cut into cubes
1/2 c. cream cheese (4 oz.)
1 egg yolk plus 1 tbsps. milk for glazing

Pulse the flour and butter in a food processor until the butter pieces are pea sized. Add the cream cheese and pulse again until the dough clumps together into a ball. Wrap the pastry dough in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare the crumble and the filling.

Ingredients for the crumble:

1/4 c. cold butter
1/2 c. flour
2 tbsps. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 c. demerara or brown sugar


Cut the cold butter into the flour, using a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the rest of the ingredients and toss gently to blend. Set aside

Ingredients for the filling:

4 Granny Smith apples, pared, cored, quartered and sliced
2 tbsps. lemon juice
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. pecans or walnuts
3 tbsps. plain flour
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/ 180° C.

Put the apple slices in a mixing bowl and add in the lemon juice. 

After 30 minutes, roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a 1/4 cm. thickness. Use to line a pie plate. 

Cut decorative shapes from the extra crust.

Strain off the juices from the apples. 

Mix the sugar, cinnamon, flour and pecans together then add to the strained apples. 

Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Add in the apple filling. Top with the crumble mixture, then with the grated cheese. Decorate the edge of the pie with cut out shapes (optional). Brush again with the beaten egg.

Bake at 350° F/ 180° C for 20 minutes. 

Lower the heat to 300° F/ 150° C and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until the crust is crisped and browned.

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