Ocean City Today

Spiced applesauce pie with walnut crumble

Food For Thought
By Deborah Lee Walker | Oct 26, 2017

(Oct. 27, 2017) If one loves delectable pies, fetch your measuring cups and relish the moment to be.

Sweet or savory is for the tasting. Spring, summer, fall, or winter sweetens the pot of selections and teases the senses with mouthwatering delights.

History highlights knowledge and sweetens the pot accordingly. It is believed that the first pies were made by early Romans. According to the History of Pies, the very first pie recipe was published by the Romans which consisted of a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie. Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word “pie” was widely used by the 14th century.

Pie came to America by way of the first English settlers. Originally, pies were called “coffins.” The dish consisted of savory meats encased in a tall and straight-sided crust similar to a coffin. The crust was generally not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during the baking process. It was during the American Revolution that the term “crust” replaced “coffin.”

Today, spaghetti pie and butter pecan swirl are just a few examples of how the art of pie making has progressed to a higher level where the “norm” is no longer in the forefront.

The crust is the most challenging aspect of a pie. A quick review refreshes and furthers one’s ability for success. The Professional Chef states that pie dough is often referred to as the “3-2-1 dough,” because it is composed of three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part water (by weight). Variations come into play depending on exactly what a chef hopes to achieve.

The characteristic flaky texture of baked pie dough is developed by rubbing the fat and flour together, rather than bleeding them into a smooth dough. Flakes of fat should remain visible as the dough is mixed. If the fat is worked thoroughly into the flour, the result will be a mealy, dense crust.

All-purpose flour is generally used in pie dough because of its low protein content. Since flour has a tendency to clump, it should be sifted.

The fat may be shortening, butter, or lard. It should be broken into smaller pieces before it is added to the flour and chilled. If you blend part of the flour with all of the butter and then add the remaining flour, you will achieve the proper amount of fat-coated flour in the final dough.

The liquid for pie dough is customarily water; however, milk or cream can be used. Because of the fat in milk and cream, the amount of fat in the overall formula needs to be decreased if these ingredients are used.

Fruit fillings are used for many pies and are typically combined with sugar and a starch (flour, arrowroot, cornstarch, or tapioca) to produce a flavorful filling with enough body to slice it in neat portions.

Cooked fruit fillings with custard, cream, or pudding should be prepared in advance. Hold the fillings at the correct temperature for the best flavor and consistency.

Pies should be baked on sheet pans to catch any drips. Cool pies on cooling racks; they help bring the temperature down more quickly.

The holidays are around the corner and pretty soon rolling pins will be well on their way to the season of delightful desserts. Predictability will make an appearance but is not preferred. Spiced applesauce pie topped with walnut crumble and bourbon whipped cream is a refreshing twist on standard apple pie recipes.

If you fancy apples, give spiced applesauce pie topped with walnut crumble and bourbon whipped cream a try. Enjoy!

* The applesauce pie recipe is an adaptation from the William Sonoma Kitchen Library.

* The bourbon whipped cream is optional.


Spiced Applesauce Pie Topped with Walnut Crumble and Bourbon Whipped Cream

Pie Shell

Basic 9-inch Pie Dough

1. Follow ready-made pie dough directions or your favorite homemade pie dough instructions.


Spiced Applesauce Pie Filling

4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces

¼ cup water

½ cup sugar

2 large eggs

¾ cup heavy cream

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and allspice

pinch of ground ginger and cloves

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ teaspoon table salt

1. Combine the apples and water in a saucepan. Place over moderate heat, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples become very soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add sugar, eggs, cream, spices, butter and salt to the cooked apples. Puree until smooth. Pour the apple mixture into the cooled pie shell and place the pie in the oven. While the pie bakes, make the walnut crumble.


Walnut Crumble

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

½ cup uncooked oatmeal

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

pinch of table salt

1. In a medium bowl combine the butter, sugar, oatmeal, flour, walnuts and salt. Using your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until it resembles coarse crumbs. After the pie has been baking for 15 minutes, rapidly sprinkle pie with topping mixture, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes longer.


Bourbon Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

2 tablespoons bourbon

½ teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Using an electric mixer, beat all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the cream is softly whipped. Top each slice of spiced applesauce pie with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream.


Secret Ingredients - Sweetness. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”

— Aristotle

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