bourbon apple pie with pecan streusel

12 Oct

For some reason I actually had off of work for Columbus Day to…think about Columbus? Of course, I wasn’t expecting it at all, but it gave me an opportunity to make some really delicious, though not Columbus-inspired, food. In addition to this yummy pie, I made Vietnamese noodle bowls that I will definitely write about soon. But this pie…this pie is one of the best apple pies I have ever had. Ever. (Modest, I know, but wait until you try it!)

Obviously, I can’t take all of the credit. The pie crust is my dad’s tried-and-true recipe, modified from James McNair’s amazing Pie cookbook, and I actually had this crust in my freezer from about a month ago and just defrosted it. The filling was modified from/inspired by Mike & Charlie (Brooklynauts), who share both my borough and, it seems, my blog theme (Thanks for the recipe, guys!). It’s a simple but amazing filling that, not surprisingly, won them first prize in a pie contest here in Brooklyn. I was really into the idea of trying out a bourbon-spiked filling and theirs ended up being the most delicious looking.The topping, on the other hand, comes from the pie I decided not to make. Don’t get me wrong, it looks incredible. For one thing, that crust is actually picture perfect, whereas mine was so ugly and patched together that I’m not going to show it to you (I think my dad would be ashamed!). But I wasn’t really up to the challenge of making caramel, and the idea of adding heavy cream to my pie kind of made me cringe. However, the topping was so good that I may have to reconsider and try out her recipe soon.

I missed the greenmarket Sunday, so I had to get apples from the grocery store, but luckily they have some locally grown, seasonal apples right now. I would have liked to do something more interesting, but the best-looking ones were Macintosh and Granny Smith. Luckily, they ended up being a great textural combination and they were tart enough for my taste. Farmers markets and orchards are a great place to get your apples though, because you can generally taste them first and pick out a mix of tart/sweet and firm/soft apples to get a nice balance. I also like adding lemon juice, to balance out the sugar, but you can easily leave it out if you prefer a sweeter pie.

Bourbon Apple Pie with Pecan Streusel


3 c all-purpose flour

1 t salt

2 t sugar

1 c unsalted butter, chilled (or a combination of 1/2 c butter and 1/2 c Crisco or oil)

approx. 1/2 c ice water

*Note: This recipe makes enough dough for a double crust. You can halve the recipe, or just wrap the extra dough well and store it in the freezer until your next pie-making whim strikes.


3-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

5-6 Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

1 lemon, juiced

3/4 cup sugar

2 T all-purpose flour

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 t ground nutmeg

1/4 t ground cloves

pinch of salt

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey


1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

1/3 c sugar

1/3 c all-purpose flour

3 T brown sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t salt

5 T chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Making the crust: It’s easiest if you have a food processor (using the plastic blade), but you can also use a pastry blender or a good strong fork. Mix the flour, sugar and salt, then blend in the butter (or mix of fats) until just crumbly. You don’t want to over-work it, since the butter should stay cold. Slowly add in the ice water until the dough just stays together and can be formed into a ball. Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic or waxed paper, and chill for at least 20-30 minutes.

Making the filling: Once you peel and slice your apples, put them in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Pour the mixture over the apples, toss to coat, and let stand for about 15 minutes. This is a good time to roll out your crust and put it in a well-buttered pie plate, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and put together your topping…

Making the streusel (“crumble”) topping: In a medium bowl, or back in your food processor, mix your dry ingredients together. If you’re using a processor, pulse 10-15 times until the mixture is crumbly. If you’re not, just use a pastry blender or strong fork to cut in your butter. Mix in the pecans and chill the topping until you’re ready to use it.

Once everything is ready, scoop or pour your apple mixture into the pie crust — including all of the delicious liquid at the bottom! You definitely do want the apples mounded up, since they’ll bake down quite a bit in the oven. Crumble your streusel over the top of the apples making sure to cover the whole pie pretty evenly.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Bake for another 25-35 minutes until the topping is browned and crispy — basically about as dark as you can get it without burning it. The filling should be bubbling, and may leak over the edges. If you’re worried about it dripping into your oven, you can lay out some tin foil below the pie either on a shelf or the bottom of the oven.

Let the pie rest and cool down for about two hours, then enjoy! (If you dig in sooner, you’ll just end up with a not-so-pretty-slice, as seen above.) Extra delicious with some vanilla ice cream…

2 Responses to “bourbon apple pie with pecan streusel”

  1. therecoveringacademic November 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Looks delicious, Kim. Hope you guys are doing well!

  2. trudatnyc November 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    man, i so wish i were around for this… we’ll have to force you to make it again, soon!

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