If you’re blissfully unaware of the nerdiness that today inspired, I apologize for ruining this ignorance. Apparently, March 14th is a recognized “holiday” called Pi Day, and yes, people celebrate by having pie at 1:59 (am? pm? undetermined).
While I can’t say I’m a big pie person, Alex loves apple pie. So when he pointed out to me that we should have pie and discuss the relevance of pi on March 14th, I agreed to the pie part. As if I would be willing to impart my views on pi just because it’s March 14th!
Because I am not a big fan of a lot of flaky pie pastry, I made an apple-crisp-pie. It definitely struck a chord and I think it’ll be our compromise from now on…ah, I can’t wait for the strawberry-rhubarb-crumble-pie or the peach-crisp-pie in the summer!
Basic Pâte Brisée – adapted for my 6″ pie plate, yields about 1 crust
4.5 oz / 1 cup minus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3.0 oz. / 3 tbsp cold butter
1.5 oz / 3 tbsp ice cold water
1 pinch salt
Apple Pie Filling – just enough for my 6″ pie plate, again…
0.5 lb. Granny Smith apples (or any other baking apples), cubed
0.5 lb. Granny Smith apples (or any other baking apples), thinly sliced
3 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Apple Crisp Topping – again, enough for my 6″ pie plate. Or if you’re making this as strictly fruit crisp, this should cover about 4 little ramekins of fruit.
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 packed brown sugar
3 tbsp cold butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt
For the pie shell
Cut cold butter into the flour using your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized balls of butter. Work quickly and don’t over-do it! Throw in salt and cold water, and using a fork, bring the mixture together to a dough. Gather into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes before rolling out to cover the pie plate. Once rolled out, trim off excess dough with a sharp knife, and put back into fridge while you gather together the apple filling.
For the apple filling
Toss everything together in a bowl and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the apple crisp topping.
For the crisp topping
Mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Cut in cold butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs with pea-sized balls of butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until ready to use.
Putting the pie together
- Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put apples in the chilled pie shell. You may want to drain the apples first as the lemon and sugars will really draw out the juices from the fruit. I didn’t really mind either way so just dumped the apples into the pie shell.
- Cover the top of the pie tightly with aluminum foil. Cut a few vents with a small knife.
- Bake, covered, for 40 minutes – you should be able to smell the apples at around the 40 minute mark.
- Remove from the oven, uncover, and throw on the crisp topping. Return to oven and bake for at least another 25 minutes, or until the topping is crispy and browned. The edges of the pie should also be nicely browned around this time.
- Let cool in the pie dish, on a cooling rack, for about 15-30 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream or just a dollop of whipped cream!
So there you have it. I did something nerdy today to celebrate Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday. Also, I hear pie makes the whole losing-an-hour-of-sleep thing go down better, too!