Apple Crumb Pie (From Awful to Amazing!)

The sad part of the story You might have seen the OrnaBakes post on Facebook two days before Thanksgiving, with the sad looking Apple Crumb Pie that my husband called the “most hideous looking pie I ever saw.” How it began I love the Apple Crumb Pie from Maria’s Italian Kitchen. I tried to get the recipe from them and got an email from Madelyn Alfano (the owner) that they make their pies in huge quantities, so she doesn’t have the single recipe for me. But she did tell me that it’s a butter crust and is made by hand, as opposed to the machine-made shortening crusts from Marie Calendars—which I had mentioned I am not a fan of. And so the quest began for the perfect butter crust pie. It would have been remiss for me not to have consulted the queen of cake and pastry, Rose Levy Beranbaum. I had to wait for my book, The Pie and Pastry Bible to arrive on Monday to start. (Agony!) In the meantime, I scoured the internet and watched demonstrations on how to make pie dough on thejoyofbaking.com. (great site) I was ecstatic when my book arrived on Monday—well “books” actually, since I also ordered The Bread Bible. (Gotta love Amazon) And even more ecstatic to find a recipe for Apple Crumb Pie, with a cream cheese and butter dough and a delicious cinnamon walnut streusel (crumb topping)! The Pie and Pastry Bible reads almost like an autobiography, with tips, details and gorgeous photos. I am dying to make everything in it! (I have a major thing for pastry—it’s a bit of a problem.) After reading all about the dough-making process and the issues that can come up, I decided to get a good night’s sleep and dive in on Tuesday morning. In the meantime, I tried desperately to find a demonstration online of Rose doing her ziplock bag technique—to no avail. The dough… The mixture was very dry and tough to knead into a piece of dough—with the knuckles and heels of your hands, like she says to do. Maybe I left the pieces of cream cheese and/or butter too big? I was in waaaay too much of a flap to take pics of the process, hence the spotty representation of the dough-making-process! But I did manage to flatten it into a pretty good-looking disk, so was quite happy. Unfortunately, I was now only left with 6 hours to refrigerate the disk—not overnight, which I had planned. The rolling… The dough felt very tough and hard to roll out. The video that I (and 170,000 people) watched on how to roll pie dough on thejoyofbaking.com sure made it look easier than it was… for...

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