Every year about this time my husband starts talking about what kind of
My mother-in-law is famous for her apple pies. In fact, until now, I didn't dare try to make one...why compete with perfection? Unfortunately, her pie making days are over--she is officially retired from the kitchen. Rather than try to replicate one of her pies, I thought I'd make one of my own. So, I searched around and found the best of several different kinds of pie. This is what I came up with:
Apple Praline Pie
Pastry for a two-crust 9” pie*
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6-7 cups peeled and thinly sliced tart baking apples (I used a mixture of Granny Smith, McIntosh, and Honey Crisp)
3 tablespoons butter, cut up
¼ cup butter
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 425 ° F.
Fit one piecrust into a 9-inch deep pie plate.
Stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the apples, and then stir the apples into the cinnamon/sugar mixture; spoon mixture into crust and dot with butter. Top with remaining piecrust; fold edges under, and crimp. Cut several slits in top.
Bake pie at 425 ° F for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 ° F and continue to bake for another 35-45 minutes, shielding with aluminum foil, if needed, to prevent excessive browning. Remove from oven.
Melt ¼ cup butter in a small saucepan; stir in brown sugar and pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook 1 minute, and remove from heat. Stir in cream and vanilla. Slowly, pour mixture over pie; bake for an additional 3- 5 minutes or until topping is bubbling.
*I was on a mission to find the perfect pie crust this year. I had heard from a reliable source that replacing the liquid with vodka was the way to go (thank you Danny Klecko). I googled and found a recipe from Cook's Illustrated that worked perfectly.
I actually found cake flavored vodka...I did use it, but next time I'll just use regular vodka. I couldn't really taste the cake flavor in the finished crust, but sometimes less is more when it comes to flavors.
A friend had given me one of those extra-deep ceramic pie plates. I ended up using 10 large apples and increasing the brown sugar to 1 cup. This was one heavy pie.
While nothing will compare to my mother-in-law's legendary pie, to me this recipe was a success. Did it pass her critical palate? The verdict is still out on that one. The piece I left for her was completely devoured...except for the pecans, which she carefully picked off. I'm beginning to understand why I have a 15 pound Chihuahua.