I was talking with my brother about what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday (which was a while ago now), and he came to the conclusion that he wanted pie. An apple pie. I've never made an apple pie before but of course I was up for the challenge, and a bit worried that my apple pie would not be awesome. Actually for the 2 days before I made the pie, I kept trying to lower his expectations of it so he would be happy with it no matter what. But as I smelled it baking, I broke and said okay that smells really amazing. And it was.
I didn't want to make a double crusted pie and thought that having a crumbley topping might be delicious. So I took a streusel recipe from The Essential Baker, and combined it with a crust and filling recipe from Bon Appétit. Everything was pretty easy to put together, and the pie was really good. I know I'll be using this recipe again and don't feel the need to search for a better one. I'm no expert on pie crusts, as I've only made a handful of them, but this one wasn't annoying to work with and was really tasty. The crust was kind of soft and very buttery but definitely solid enough to hold everything together.
If this sounds good, you might like:
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake
Coconut Cream Pie
Raspberry & White Chocolate Pie
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Apple Pie with Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
Adapted from Bon Appétit October 1998 & The Essential Baker
Edit March 22, 2011: I made this pie again recently and would recommend decreasing the sugar in the apples to 1/4 cup (from 1/2 cup). I've edited the recipe to reflect that.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (about) ice water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 3/4 pounds apples, peeled, quartered, cored, thinly sliced (5 Braeburn apples for me)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp (2.5 oz) unsalted butter, chilled
Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter; cut in using on/off turns until butter is cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Add 3 tablespoons water and blend until moist clumps form, adding more water by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Flatten piece into disk; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 30 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)
When you're ready to start putting it all together, position rack in bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375F.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse until the butter is cut into very small pieces, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Combine sugar, flour and allspice in large bowl. Mix in apples, then vanilla extract.
Put It All Together:
Roll out dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Spoon in apple filling, trying to make it relatively level so the streusel doesn't fall all over the place. Evenly sprinkle streusel topping over apples.
Bake pie until apples are tender and topping is light golden, about 45-50 minutes. Transfer to rack. Serve pie warm or at room temperature.