I always make at least one apple pie a year, on Thanksgiving, with the last of the apples from our trees that are tucked away in the fridge. I always use this recipe.Today, Election Day here in the U.S., seemed to call for an extra apple pie. There’s the Americana kitch of apple pie, of course, and there’s the fact that a pie is always welcome at a potluck. But making a pie is also meditative, soothing, distracting. By the time I arrived at our usual Election Day party with three little girls and a warm pie in my hands, I was calm and confident and I had stopped obsessively refreshing polling data on my phone. This was our fourth Presidential election in a row with the same savvy, snarky, deeply caring group of friends, and I rather think that we all deserved an apple pie tonight. So do you.
Don’t be fooled by the pie’s humble exterior. This is a dessert-y dessert: crisp on top, gooey within, and sweet all the way through. A scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream is never wrong with apple pie, but the pie also stands up well on its own if you just dig in with a fork.
Rustic Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel Topping (adapted from Gourmet magazine): First, make the pie crust. In a food processor, combine 1 1/2 c. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 10 Tbsp. cubed butter. Pulse a few times to combine, so that the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger pieces of butter mixed in. Add 1-2 Tbsp. ice water at a time, pulsing to combine, until the dough comes together easily when pinched (use 3-6 Tbsp. ice water total). Dump dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, squeeze it into a flattened disc, wrap and refrigerate.
Next, make the streusel by combining 2 Tbsp. softened butter, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, and 1/3 c. chopped walnuts. Mix with your fingers until large crumbs form, then cover and refrigerate.
Peel, core, and thinly slice 6-8 apples (about 3 lbs.). Toss apple slices with 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. white sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 3/4 tsp. cinnamon. Try not to eat them all.
On a lightly floured board, roll dough into a rough 15″ circle. Transfer to pie plate and fill with apples. Fold dough edges up and over the apples, overlapping as necessary. Bake at 350 for an hour, or until the crust is a light golden color. Remove from oven, pile the streusel into the middle of the pie (covering the apples), and brush the exposed crust with milk and sprinkle it with sugar. Continue baking at 350 until the top of the pie is golden brown, 20-30 more minutes.