Apple pie is a dessert of many nationalities. Although most of these confections start out with a cinnamon sugar apple center, they each contain a cultural variance yielding a certain…je ne sais quoi…shall we say.
American: cinnamon sugar apples melt in between two perfectly cooked all butter pie shells.
Austrian: Apfelstreudel never tasted so good.
Dutch: the top pie shell is replaced with a brown streusel crust. By the way, that’s Neederlanders Dutch, not Pennsylvania Dutch.
French: switch out the cold butter cubes for melted butter and you get a brown sugar crumb topping. Only the French would figure out how to bake sugar without the sugar melting.
German: a cakey, crusty kuchen with a hint of custard cream bursting at the seams. Personally, I like to melt vanilla ice cream and bake it right into the pie….mmmm! But that’s a story for another day…
Italian: a free form crostata for those days when you’re in a hurry!
Russian: crustless, almost butterless, but filled with apples and topped with a light batter to meld everything together. The Russians would call it a Sharlotka…but I think its more of a tortka! Yeah, I did just make that joke!
Swedish: more of a crumble, less of a pastry pie, your garden Swedish variety is heartier than traditional apple pies on account of the flour being replaced with bread crumbs and/or oats.
Tatin: Oh my goodness if you’ve never had this upside down, butter glazed apple pie…make one right now. You will not be sorry! This infamous treat was allegedly created accidentally by the Tatin sisters in the late 1800s for their hotel just outside of Paris, France. If you’re asking my opinion, I’d argue that this pie is too perfect to have been an accident!
I mean you can travel Europe on an apple pie tour. Endless possibilities. Kind of brings new meaning to the phrase “as american as apple pie,” doesn’t it!
But first things first, I put multiple nationalities in a hat and drew a name at random…the French won. Well, that’s not entirely true. I more put the French’s name in a hat….which could explain why they won. Hey, my website, my apple pie-rogative!
Prep Time: 15 minutes Bake Time: 30 minutes Makes: 1 (5″) pie
½ recipe prepared Pate Brisée, prepared per instruction
1 medium Red Delicious Apple, peeled, cored, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Juice & zest of ¼ of a lemon (about 1 tspn each)
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1/32 teaspoon nutmeg
1/32 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 recipe of Brown Sugar Streusel Topping (follows)
Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 425º.
2. Lightly dust both the work surface and the Pate Brisée and roll out the dough to fit a 5” pie plate. Place a piece of aluminum foil over the chilled dough and fill with about a ¼ cup of dried beans or pie beads. Par bake the crust at 425º for 10 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Set aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile, make the apple filling by combining the apple, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl. Add the apple filling to the par baked pie crust.
4. For the Brown Sugar Streusel topping, mix the flour, brown sugar and melted butter in a small mixing bowl until it resembles crumbly sand. Starting at the center of the pie, pour the streusel topping over the apples and gently spread the topping to the edges of the pie.
5. Cover the pie with aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 425º. Then, remove the aluminum foil and continue baking at 425º for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the pie is a pale golden brown and the juices are bubbling.