I was planning to make apple pie, when I realized that all my guests were born in the most southern province of The Netherlands. The province of Limburg (and yes Belgium also has a province of Limburg). I felt I had to make an apple crumble pie, more according to the Southern style. The crust is made of a dough with less butter, but the crumble on top is made of a rich buttery and sugary dough. The apple rich section is briefly simmered before building it into the pie. The baking time is shorter, but at higher temperature.
I may opt to go for the Southern version more often and my guests were complimentary: the best apple crumble pie in Hong Kong, they mentioned.
the art of making apple crumble pie
To make this pie, no one needs special skills. The most important is to keep an eye on the simmering of the apples and stirring them once a while. What makes the filling taste so well, is due to the combination of various taste enhancers. The splash of lemon juice, the rum-soaked raisins, the grated orange peel, the broken cinnamon stick and the meat of a half vanilla pod. To bind the juices, we use a little custard powder.
3tbspicing sugaroptional (for covering the finished pie)
2.8lb (1.2 kg)Elstar apples or similar
1tbspfreshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2the zest of a half orange
2oz (60 g)raisins
1.9oz (50 g)castor sugar
6.4oz (180 g)cake flour
4.2oz (120 g)castor sugar
4.2oz (120 g)butter
a day ahead......
If you think of it, add the rum to the raisins and cover
now and then stir them
whisk the egg
mix all ingredients together and knead thoroughly for 10-15 min
Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until it doubles (around 1 h)
the apple filling
peel the apples, remove the cores and cut in 1/2-to-1-inch sized parts
place the apples in a large enough sauce pan and add the lemon juice, water, sugar and cinnamon stick (broken up in a few parts)
grate the orange skin and add the grated peel to the pan
cut the half vanilla pod in halves over the length and remove the meat and place in the saucepan
bring the contents of the saucepan to a simmer, place the lid on and stir regularly, thereby checking that it is a slow simmer and the apple pieces do not become apple sauce
after 9 or 10 min take the pan from the fire and let cool down a bit
after some 20 min add the raisins and stir
after some other 10 minutes stir in the custard powder while stirring, to prevent lumps. The juices will become thicker. Let the mixture cool down further
meanwhile heat the oven to 390 F (200 C) and start working on the crumble
knead the crumble by hand until crumbles form and let it stand
bringing it all together
with a dough pin, roll the main pie dough to about 14 inch (35 cm) diameter
oil the pie form, including the sides
place the dough inside the form and push the dough against the sides and let rest for 10 min
add the warm apple filling into the dough covered pie form and use the back side of a spoon to press it and make it level
cover the apple filling with the crumbles of dough
place in the middle of the pre-warmed oven and check for color after 25 min
remove the pie after 30-35 min from the oven and let cool in the form for 25 min
thereafter remove the form carefully and place the warm pie on a rack to further cool down. Optionally you can cover it with icing sugar. Thereafter place in the refrigerator or cool cellar with a loose cover
you can keep the pie for 4-5 days without a problem this way
In the transfer of the warm pie from the form to the rack, use a spatula or pie scoop or the like. This way you can support the middle, where the pie usually will have the greatest tendency to break. it usually goes well though!
The cooling down on the rack is important to let the crust develop and not become soggy.
If you want, the pie -after cooling down- can be frozen