Heirloom Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

We were traveling to another city last weekend and stopped by their farmers’ market.  There we bought enough Arkansas Black Apples for a pie.  The proprietor of the stand could not praise these heirloom apples enough.  According to him they are an excellent baking apple and will keep forever on the cabinet.  (They are prized for their storing ability.)  Arkansas Black Apples are very tart and firm—a great specimen for pie!

Arkansas Black Apples getting ready for a pie.

Apple pie, as you recall, is a favorite in this household, so I decided to whip one up when we got home.  I put a couple of recipes together, a recipe from Paula Dean that includes applesauce (so I can use up some more winnings) and a recipe from Jeane Kelley’s book Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes.  I used the crumb topping from her Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie.  (We actually had dinner with her in September 2009.  She is an interesting person with a sharp wit.)

Here is my revision:

Arkansas Black Apple Pie with Crumb Topping

For Pie:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash fresh ground nutmeg
Dash fine sea salt
3 1/2 cups peeled, chopped Arkansas Black Apples  (about 4 apples)
Chop the apples instead of slicing them so you can pack the topping around them easier.
3/4 cup applesauce (organic no sugar added)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

Prepare pie filling.  Whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in apples, applesauce, and vanilla. Spoon apple mixture into pie crust.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and make topping. 

Pie filling.

For Topping: 
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes 

Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and sea salt in a food processor.  Add butter cubes and pulse until it is the consistency of fine corn meal.  Pack topping over and around apples. (You will initially think there is too much topping, so pack it in really well.)  Place pie on a large baking sheet in case it bubbles over in the oven.  Bake until topping is golden, about 40 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes or until apples are done.

Ready for the oven.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. 

How good would this be with homemade vanilla ice cream?  (I am sure it would be wonderful, but the ice cream production will have to wait for another night.)

You can see why you need to put this on a baking sheet. Note the spillage!

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