Apple Frenzy!

I love when summer fades to fall; the air is brisker, there's an excuse to cuddle up in front of a big fire, and most of all its the best time of the year to do some serious baking! A few weeks ago I went up to Julian, California to go apple picking with my parents. It brought back fond memories of when I was younger.. it was a yearly tradition in the Riley Household to go apple-picking in Julian and then come home to have an apple bake off with my Dad and me as one team and my Mom and brother as the second team and see who made the best apple dessert creation! 

We went up at the end of the prime picking season, so the apples left were not the biggest or prettiest (see baby apple picture below) but there's still no better taste than a freshly picked apple!

And a big plus was that unlike my childhood trips to Julian, I was now able to partake in the fun of wine tastings at the local wineries! 

By the end of the day we had quite a good selection of apples and I was ready to start baking…

I decided on making my "All Time Favorite, Better than Any Other Apple Pie You've Tasted, Apple Crumb Pie", Apple Blackberry Pie with Autumn Leaf Lattice Top, and Apple Streusel Muffins. 

I started out by using one of my favorite kitchen gadgets we bought years ago in Julian, to peel and slice the Granny Smith Apples. 

Next I rolled out a flaky homemade pie crust and filled it with the delicious cream apple filling. What I feel sets this pie apart from all other apple pies is the addition of heavy cream in the filling, it adds this amazing creamy texture that is offset perfectly with the crunchy topping and flaky crust.

 And topped it off with my Aunt Donna's incredible crumb topping recipe. 

To make it even more festive, I baked off Autumn cut outs of acorns and leaves with the extra scraps of pie dough I had to arrange on top of the baked pie. 

I'm not kidding you, after one bite of this pie you will become a lifelong fan. I even converted my Mom, who never had been a big apple pie fan, and now she begs for me to make her this pie! 

Here is a picture of the final Amazing Apple spread. I set the table by using a runner I found on clearance at Home Goods that has a wonderful print of muted Fall colors, displaying all the rustic apples I picked in a clear vase and scattered amongst the runner, and finished it all off by adding some simple white candles. 

It was the perfect way to kick off Fall! Here is the recipe for my "All Time Favorite, Better than Any Other Apple Pie You've Tasted, Apple Crumb Pie" and will include the recipes for the Apple Blackberry Pie and Apple Streusel Muffins on a later date, so stay posted. PS… I would love to hear your favorite apple recipes because I  don't think there is any better smell than apples and cinnamon baking in your oven so I'm always looking for a new favorite!

"All Time Favorite, Better than Any Other Apple Pie You've Tasted, Apple Crumb Pie" 

Pie Crust: 
3 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 large egg
6 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix together with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 
Mix the egg with the ice water in a small bowl. Toss gently with the flour mixture until the dough just comes together, do not overwork. Divide the dough in half, form into 2 thick disks, and cover with plastic wrap. (You will only need 1 disk for this pie because the top of pie is a crumb topping) Chill for at least 1 hour.
Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap and roll it out 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface to fit a 9 inch pie plate. Press it into the bottom and sides of the pie plate; trim the dough, crimp the edges if desired. Chill the pie shell until ready to use. 
When ready to assemble, remove prepared pie shell from refrigerator and brush bottom and sides with egg white mixture (1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water) to prevent sogginess. 

3 whole Large (4 Or 5 Small) Granny Smith Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Sliced Thin
½ cup Brown Sugar
½ cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
⅛ teaspoons Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out pie dough and place it in a pie pan. Decorate the edges as desired.
Add apple slices to a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over apples. Pour apples into pie shell.

Crumb Top:
¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup flour
½ tsp brown nutmeg
1/3 cup chilled butter cut up in small pieces

Mix everything. Then cut butter until coarse crumbs and top over pie. Place foil over pie for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes until pie is golden brown and bubbly.

Happy Fall!