Dutch Apple Pie, Almost

Dutch apple pie slice
I've been wanting to tell you about this delicious pie I made after my recent apple picking trip, but I'm writing this post with mixed emotions after having read Christopher Kimball's "Gourmet to All That" Op-Ed piece.

I admit I'm only a recent fan -- I've been subscribing to Entertaining for about a year now -- but I absolutely love what Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen does: tests recipes in every which way using all different ingredients by different manufacturers to find the best possible outcome for the home cook.

But I also believe there is value to be gained from reading food blogs too. And it bothers me a bit that someone who inspires me could be so harsh. There's a difference between people who post recipes that they haven't actually made and haven't bothered to vet and people like me (and so many of the bloggers I read) who actually make recipes and give our feedback on them. There's a difference between those first people I mentioned and the people who take the time to cook a recipe for their friends or family and then share it with their readers, perhaps along with a story.

I admit I'm not a big fan of Yelp or huge recipe databases with a mishmash of entries. I love Epicurious, but Epicurious has editors. And maybe that's what it comes down to. I'll read and trust blogs whose bloggers edit their own work, just like I'll read and trust food magazines that I consider to be well written. I don't think you can lump the whole foodie blogosphere together.

And that is why I have mixed emotions. I wanted to come here and tell you how amazing this pie I made from the Fall 2009 issue of Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated is, but I wonder, would Kimball look down on that? Would he say my thoughts about this Cook's Illustrated tested and approved recipe are null? Would you say that?

The only thing that makes me feel a little better is that as he responds to comments on his blog post addressing what he wrote in the New York Times, he sort of contradicts himself (is having a blog not a contradiction in itself anyways?) and doesn't seem like he feels as harshly about the blogosphere as he first claimed.

I hope that you, readers, like me, find value in both food magazines and blogs, especially those that are well edited and well thought out. And now on to that pie. It was amazing. And it is so worth telling you about.

You must first know that I'm not big on pie crust, so a lot of the reason I liked this pie so much is the streusel topping. And then I call this Dutch apple pie, almost, because according to Cook's Illustrated, a true Dutch apple pie has raisins, and no raisins were getting anywhere near my pie. They belong in my oatmeal cookies, not in my pie. The other things that make the pie worthy of the name Dutch apple pie are dairy in the filling (check), a streusel topping (check), and no lemon juice (check).

The bottom crust is made using Cook's Illustrated's foolproof pie dough, which I had never made before, and which, oddly enough, contains vodka. My concern about tasting vodka the vodka in the finished product was unnecessary. You don't even know it's there.

pie crust
The crust must be prebaked because the apple filling is essentially already cooked, as is the streusel. This type of dough needs to be weighted down or it will puff too much in the oven and be unusable as pie crust. Because I don't have pie weights or dried beans, I used rice to keep the dough from puffing.

pie crust weighted with rice
The filling is apples cooked in butter with cinnamon, salt, and sugar.

apples for pie
The apples are strained before being placed in the prebaked pie crust.

apples in pie crust
The juice is combined with heavy cream, reduced, and then poured over the apples.

apple pie
It forms a silky, creamy layer, which the streusel is then sprinkled over.

apple pie before streusel is baked
Then the pie simply needs to be baked for about 10 minutes to brown the streusel.

finished apple pie
It's delicious. The apple filling is soft and flavorful. The pie crust is good. I'm not sure it's phenomenal, but you can't really trust my opinion anyways because I'm not a lover of pie crust. And let me tell you, pie with streusel is the way to go. You get that nice crunch and extra sweetness.

apple pie with slice removed
You can find the recipe in the Fall 2009 issue of Entertaining by Cook's Illustrated or on the Cook's Illustrated Web site.

Hope you've been making lots of fabulous things with apples this fall!