This recipe adapts three excellent component recipes from Polina Chesnakova (crust), Claudia Fleming (streusel topping), and Tom Douglas (rum-apple filling) to create, in essence, a free-form apple pie. We all love to see picture perfect woven crusts on Instagram, but they can take a lot of practice to master, and sometimes you just want to get the dang pie in the dang oven! I have found this crust recipe to serve me very well when the need for structure is paramount, but feel free to use your favorite made-from-scratch pie crust recipe instead. In order to create similar structure in another recipe, substituting one quarter of the flour for whole wheat creates a sturdy bottom that is more resistant to absorbing too much moisture from the filling.
Georgia rum, “Almost rum”, cane syrup or molasses, freshly picked Georgia apples and Georgia pecans are really what make this recipe shine. Make the dough and streusel topping ahead, and roll out the crust and make the apple the filling the day of. From the caramelized, buttered-rum apples to the nutty streusel, this is the appropriately unforgettable pie-adjacent dessert for Thanksgiving 2020.
Adapted from Polina Chesnakova’s Endlessly Adaptable Galette Dough, published in the Washington Post, 2018
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 2 tablespoons sour cream (may substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt)
- Place flours, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is a combination of coarse meal and lots of large, pea-sized bits of butter.
- Combine the buttermilk or sour cream with the ice water and pour in all at once. Pulse a few more times until the mixture holds together when pinched but is not sticky. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come together into a ball at this stage; it should still resemble coarse meal.
- Dump the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface, gather up into a rough mass, and knead a few times until it just comes together. Form into a rough disk, wrap until airtight, and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least two hours. Dough can be made and refrigerated up to two days ahead, or frozen up to a month in advance; for frozen dough, let thaw completely in the fridge before using.
Brown Butter Streusel Topping:
Adapted from Claudia Fleming’s Apple Crostada with Brown Butter Streusel, published in Food & Wine Magazine, 2006
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- Melt the butter in a small stainless steel skillet or saucepan over medium high heat, and cook until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a food processor, combine flour, pecans, and granulated and brown sugars and pulse about 5 times until pecans are coarsely chopped. Add browned butter and pulse until combined and the mixture is crumbly. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Streusel topping can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Filling and Assembly:
Adapted from Tom Douglas’s Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie, published in the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, 2012
- 2 ½ pounds apples, cored, quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise with a sharp knife or mandolin, no peeling necessary
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon Almost Rum, cane syrup or molasses
- ¼ c dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and kept refrigerated
For egg wash (optional, but creates lovely shine and browning deserving of your masterpiece):
1 tablespoon water
- Divide the granulated sugar between two large skillets, shake to distribute evenly, and heat over medium high heat. Watching carefully, cook the sugar without stirring until it starts to melt, swirling and tilting the pan to promote even cooking. When the sugar is completely liquid and has caramelized into a medium amber color, immediately dived the apples between the two pans and stir. Cook the apples for about 8-10 minutes until they are softened but still slightly firm, and very little liquid remains in the pan. Transfer apples to a large bowl and let cool completely to room temperature.
- While the apples are cooling, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and roll out the dough.
First, line an 18 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and let soften for about 5 minutes. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour, and begin to roll from the center outward, flipping dough and dusting with flour frequently to prevent sticking. Redistribute dough as needed for a more even circle. Continue rolling until you have a 14 x 14 inch rough circle, about 1/8 of an inch thick. Run a bench knife or offset spatula along the perimeter of the circle to make sure it hasn’t gotten stuck (or to gently loosen it if it has) and guide one hand underneath it. Flip the dough over onto the other hand to transfer to the lined baking sheet. Gently fold the overhanging dough back onto the pan and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
- Combine cornstarch, spices, salt, vanilla, rum and Almost Rum or molasses in a bowl, stirring to break up any lumps of cornstarch. If using an egg wash, beat the egg with the water in a bowl and set aside.
- When the apples are cool, toss them with the cornstarch mixture, butter, and the brown sugar. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and let soften for about 3 minutes, just enough to unfold the overhanging dough.
- With a slotted spoon, distribute apple filling in an even layer from the center of dough outward, leaving a 3-inch border on all sides. Fold the edges of the dough up over the filling, creating pleats to form a circular shape. Distribute the streusel topping evenly over the exposed apple filling, brush the dough with egg wash, and place in the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes, until filling is bubbling and streusel and crust are evenly golden brown. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
Dust with powdered sugar, if you like, and serve with vanilla ice cream.