I would like to blame it on the fall season – this strong desire I suddenly had for pie. In fact, I would like to blame all my dessert issues on some season or other. Alas, I cannot. The season is irrelevant – I have a strong desire for dessert most of the time.
My specific desire this time was for almond apple pie, which I had not made since my daughter’s wedding almost two years ago. A couple of weeks ago, I made a dessert so rich it took us two weeks to finish it, so I decided to make some modifications to the pie for a slightly healthier version. This is how it came together.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached, all-purpose)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (I ground my flax seed in the coffee grinder)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup Crisco shortening
5 TBSP ice water
Mix flour, flax and salt. Cut in Crisco until mealy. Add water. It may take a little more water but probably no less The flax seed has a different absorption than the flour so if it is too dry, sprinkle a little more water on. The crust will be more delicate. This recipe makes a top and bottom crust for a 9″ pie and can accommodate a slightly deeper pie plate. The flavor is a little nutty and I can tell ya’ – if you spread the scraps with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake, they taste way better than the flour only version. (You can use 2 cups of flour and 4 TBSP ice water if you don’t want the ground flax seed.)
9+ cups Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced thin (I left the peeling on)
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used sucanat)
1/2 cup flour
1 rounded tsp nutmeg
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp almond extract (a little more if you want)
2 TBSP butter
Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Pour over apples and stir to coat apples evenly. Mix in almonds. Sprinkle almond extract over all and mix in. Pile into unbaked pie shell.
Plop butter randomly over top and cover with second crust. Trim the edges and tuck the edges together. I used a deeper dish and opted to just roll the edges in and smash together. Cut a few slits in the top for venting. Bake in a pre-heated 425º oven for about one hour. Don’t forget to put something on the lower shelf to catch the drips.
Notes about the sugar. I used sucanat, whole can sugar. It has a little less sucrose and metabolizes slower than granulated sugar. It tastes more like brown sugar than granulated sugar. If I were not using sucanat, I would use 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar.
Either way you go – this is a delightful twist to a classic. Happy Ending.