In my childhood, our family always had a dozen to 20 people at the table for Thanksgiving dinner and never fewer than four pies. I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving any other way.
It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I love having the house full of friends and family and making the big dinner. While I’ve already written about how to cook an organic turkey, in the next two weeks I’ll share some of my favorite side dishes.
This year Lou and I will have 14 at the table. So, of course, at least three pies are in order. My favorites and the traditional selections are my mother’s pumpkin chiffon pie and Mrs. Flynn’s Senate cream pie. Last year, I also served pecan pie. But for this Thanksgiving, I’m adding an apple crumb pie to the list. It’s quite good and fairly easy to make.
A little advice though, if you’re preparing the whole dinner, it can get quite chaotic with timing and people in and out of your kitchen. A tip for saving time and your sanity on Thanksgiving Day would be to prepare as much as you can in advance.
The day before, the pie crust can be made, in the pie plate and then stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. The apples can be peeled, sliced and coated with fresh lemon juice (about a quarter cup) and then stored in an airtight plastic bag. The lemon juice will prevent the apples from turning brown. Measuring and pre-mixing the dry ingredients also can take place in advance. This all having been done ahead of time, cleanup will be out of the way and, in a matter of minutes, you can assemble the pie.
Apple Crumb Pie
1 gluten free pie crust (recipe follows)
1 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of gluten free flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of cloves
¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon of salt
6 Granny Smith applies thinly sliced
1 cup of gluten free flour
½ cup of brown sugar
6 tablespoons of sweet cream unsweetened butter, cubed
½ cup of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and then toss together with the apples until they are well coated. Place the apples in a prepared pie shell pressing them down. Prepare a collar out of aluminum foil and place around the rim of the crust. This will keep the crust from burning. Place the pie on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and then bake for 30 minutes. The cookie sheet will catch any drippings and the parchment paper makes for an easier clean up.
While the pie is baking, in the mixing stand bowl blend the brown sugar and flour using the paddle attachment. Once mixed add the butter and then the chopped nuts. It should become a coarse meal.
After the first 30 minutes of baking, take the pie out of the oven, remove the collar and then evenly spread the topping over the apples and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes until nicely browned. Take it out of the oven and let cool for about two hours.
Sugar Pie Crust — Gluten Free
2 cups of gluten free flour
1 teaspoon of xantham gum
3 tablespoons of sugar
7 tablespoons of sweet cream unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons of cold water
In the bowl of a mixing stand blend all of the dried ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time and then the egg and vanilla. At this point it will be crumbs. Slowly pour the cold water in while the mixer is on medium high until it starts to hold together and looks well blended. Form a ball and then place on a lightly floured work surface. Carefully roll the dough out to form a shell approximately 1/8 inch thick. Gently drape the dough over your rolling pin and then transfer it to your pie plate and mold into the plate and crimp the edges. At this point you can let the crust sit in the refrigerator until you are ready to add the filling. There will more than likely be a cup of dough left over and you can use this for a crumb topping on an apple pie or a make a small rustic pie shell.
(With the leftover dough from my piecrust, I put it back in the mixing bowl and add ½ cup of brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of butter and ½ cup of pecans and mixed it up to form a coarse meal.)