By Cal Orey
Welcome to the Dutch apple pie. This apple pie has roots that go way, way back to the Middle Ages. It is an easy pie to make on a pre-fall night or morning. It calls for a pie crust, tart apples, and a sugar and spice crumb topping. It’s lighter than a double crust apple pie with ice cream. A Dutch apple pie is a picture perfect, delight during late winter in the mountains. (More Recipes in The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices: Timeless Treasures for year-round.)
This pie which can be savored warm out of the oven or cold takes me back to a book tour. I joined the man who predicted earthquakes. The Seattle Barnes and Noble bookstore was packed with his fans, and it was a fun event. After, instead of joining the crowd I escaped to Pike Place Market. I recall ordering a hot latte and slice of fresh baked Dutch apple pie. While I love traveling to the Pacific Northwest – homesickness for the sierra is common for me when gone. Update: I did take the cat and dog on a 20 day adventure to evacuate the Caldor Fire... I must admit my companion animals gave me comfort like a slice of apple pie.
So, this recipe – a hybrid of a different apple pies I’ve baked for you -- is inspired by the past trip I took to escape the unhealthy air and wildfire edging toward my home in Tahoe. The fruit pie is a nostalgic delight (Ironically, I ended up in Los Gatos, where I grew up) paired with Mother Earth’s spices and herbs that are treasures from nature.
Rustic Dutch Apple Pie
1 store bought premium brand pie crust, deep dish
5 -7 Granny Smith apples, peel, core, cut in thin slices
½ sliced lemon juice
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons flour (I used the self-rising variety)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
½ teaspoon apple pie spice (McCormick)
¾ cup flour (I used the self-rising variety)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, cold
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thaw frozen crust for 20 minutes. Use a fork and prick holes into the bottom of the pie crust. Brush top of crust with 1 egg white mixed with a few tablespoons water. (This will seal the crust so it’s not soggy.) In a bowl, combine apples, juice, sugars, flour, and spices. Spoon into pie crust. In another bowl, combine flour, sugars, and butter. Mix the ingredients until a crumbly texture. Top the apples. Place pie on foil (cover edges of pie crust) and set on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes or until crust edges are light brown and apples mixture is bubbly and soft. Remove. Let cool. Tip: If you put it into the fridge it guarantees perfect slices when cutting. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. *I sprinkled cinnamon on the whipped cream. You can also add a garnish of fresh mint, rosemary, or thyme.
This Dutch apple pie is a down-to-earth pie full of yummy aroma. It is comfort food at its best – a timeless treat. It's a pleasure perfect for pre-autumn days ahead. And now safe back home I will bake one and enjoy quietude surrounded by towering pine trees, my Siamese and Aussie. Can you go back home? Not for long because of gentrification. But apple pie is a constant.
-- Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.