Oh, no, not another apple pie! you cry. Sorry—in Massachusetts the harvest season is in full swing, and I've got a couple of dozen apples begging to be used, and this recipe's different. Honest.
This is one of those cases where choosing the right apple is important. I bought some Baldwins at an orchard last week, because I wanted to try them. Baldwins used to be the primary apple in Massachusetts—it was the first true commercial apple in the state, popularized by Loammi Baldwin (another ancestor of some distant sort) in the mid-18th century. Mind you, he didn't create the variety, but he promoted the heck out of it. Its popularity survived into the early years of the 20th century, but the variety was dealt a death blow by the winter storms of 1938. When farmers replanted, it was usually with the dependable McIntosh.
I had never actually eaten a Baldwin, so of course when I found them at a local orchard I bought a bag (also a bag of Northern Spy and a bag of Roxbury Russet—see why I have a surfeit of apples?). As an eating apple it was less than exciting, but it's an excellent pie apple, becoming soft in cooking without losing its shape.
So here's another recipe for Apple Pie, if you're in the mood for something just a little different.
1 pie crust (homemade or packaged
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 ½ Tblsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
5 cups peeled and slices apples
2 Tblsp butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tblsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°.
Roll dough into a 14" circle, and fit into a 9" deep dish pie plate, coated with cooking spray (the crust will be thin, and the cooking spray helps if you need to move it to fit). Fold under the edges and flute. Place it in refrigerator until ready to use.
Streusel: Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a food processor/pastry blender/pair of knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place in refrigerator.
Apples: Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet and melt it. Add sugar and cinnamon and mix with the butter, then add the apples, and cook over medium heat until the apple slices are tender, five to 10 minutes. Spoon into prepared crust.
Custard: Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt and eggs. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over the apples.
Bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over the pie and reduce temperature to 300°. Bake for an additional 40 minutes or until set but not firm. Let stand 1 hour before serving (but it is good served slightly warm).
When you first fill the crust and add the apples and custard, the apples disappear. But in cooking they manage to distribute themselves throughout the custard. The whole thing will be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven, but that's fine.
One final note: this is not a good keeper. When you make it, plan to serve it the same day.