Friday, September 25, 2015

Morris House Apple Pie

by Sheila Connolly

Mixed Apple Pie with Hazelnut Crumb Crust and Maple Cream
Sometimes things just come together when you need them.

My very own apples--but this is from only
one tree!
My apples are ripening at an alarming rate, and even after sharing with the hungry squirrels I have an awful lot of them. Of course I welcome new apple recipes, but I don’t expect them to drop into my lap. Well, this one did.

This arrived in an email from Morris House, the small hotel in Philadelphia where I’ve stayed multiple times (it’s delightful, and less expensive than the nearby big chains). The last time there I ate at the restaurant (which appears in one of my Museum Mysteries), and I shared my version of the entrée recipe here on MLK (Scallops with Ginger-Soy Aioli in May 2015). They have a great chef!

The email included a detailed recipe for (drum roll) Apple Pie. Not just any apple pie, but one that called for a hazelnut crust you don’t have to roll (I’ve whined here before about my issues with pie crusts), and a crumbled topping, and best yet, it uses “mixed apples.” Boy, do I have mixed apples!

Apples come in many varieties, with different properties. Some are good for eating, others not so good to eat but great for pies. Some should go straight to cider—you wouldn’t want to eat them. If you mix up your varieties, you benefit from the best properties of all the kinds in the pie, both for flavor and for texture.

All right, I’ll get off my apple soapbox and show you how to make this delightful apple pie from Morris House in Philadelphia.

Mixed Apple Pie with Hazelnut Crumb Crust and Maple Cream
The Crust

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine the oats and next 5 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle butter over top and mix well. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9- or 10-inch greased pie plate to form a thick crust.

The Filling

6 cups mixed apples, peeled, cored, 
Peeled with my antique peeler!
and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/2 teaspoon zest
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 375° F.

A note on the apples you choose: taste them! If they seem kind of tart, you can add sugar to the recipe at this point, but remember there will be a sugary crust.

Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and maple syrup; mix well. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, cinnamon, allspice, and 3 tablespoons flour. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and toss to coat. Evenly distribute filling into unbaked crust, taking care to layer the apples. (This will ensure your pie doesn't fall apart when you cut into it.)

Yes, there's a pink apple in there

The Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup flour

For the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, rub in the butter until pea-sized clumps form. Sprinkle topping over filling and pat neatly into place.

Ready to bake
Bake the pie for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are soft and the crust is browned on the edges. If the top seems to be browning too quickly while baking, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Remove pie from oven and allow to sit for at least 2 hours (this makes it a whole lot easier to slice!).

Tangy Maple Cream

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon maple extract OR maple syrup

While the pie is baking, chill a medium-sized glass or stainless steel bowl in the freezer.

Pour the cream into the chilled bowl and beat with a whisk or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Beat in yogurt and maple extract or syrup until just combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Another note: this topping is not sweetened, except for that dash of maple syrup. If you like things sweet, add a bit of sugar after you’ve whipped the cream.
Once the pie has cooled, cut it into slices and top with a dollop of Maple Cream before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

I have to add: this pie smelled wonderful while it baked, throughout my entire house. There really is something different about apples used the same day you pick them!

Eleven days until A Gala Event comes out!

I can't believe it took nine books for Meg and Seth to figure out they were meant for each other. Of course, nothing went smoothly in planning the wedding, and then there was this crime to solve...and some wandering alpacas to watch out for. Life in Granford is full of surprises.

You can pre-order it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


  1. The pie looks so yummy! Thank you for the recipe. :-)

  2. I've been enjoying it! And all the different apples really pull together to give it a great texture.

  3. Sheila, everything about that pie looks good! I'll be eager to try it.

  4. I envy you your apple trees. That is one weakness to south Florida--we do not get really fresh off the tree apples. They have all traveled the grocery store route.
    This pie sound fabulous! All sorts of wonderful tasting ingredients.
    I must try it.

    1. You're so right. I still remember the first one I ate straight from the tree (I was about seven, and I was sitting in the tree at the time)--it was amazing. Early on for the Orchard series I did some research about how apples are stored. They can last for quite a while (as we know from grocery stores), depending on the variety, but they never taste quite the same.

  5. Yum. I love this time of year when I get good apples for Apple crisp which I made yesterday and applesauce and fried apples. I think I will add this pie to the list of must make. Thanks for the recipe can't wait to read the book

  6. Yum. I love this time of year when I get good apples for Apple crisp which I made yesterday and applesauce and fried apples. I think I will add this pie to the list of must make. Thanks for the recipe can't wait to read the book

  7. I can almost smell it--it looks so good!

  8. I love this crust! I have to try it. And the topping, and the maple. Hmm, looks like this pie will be on the menu around here!

  9. It is a nice crust, and easy! The hardest part is all the peeling and coring and slicing of he apples, but I've got some vintage peelers that help (and they're fun to use). It's also a very forgiving recipe--you can add and subtract ingredients or amount without the whole thing going wonky on you.

  10. This is terrific, Sheila! And low on flour and sugar too, two things we're trying to limit.

    Can't wait to try it because we have apples galore.



  11. What wedding ever goes as planned? I was very happy that we got married! The weather was not great for the week before and it made it very hard to get everything done. But we got married and it has been almost 43 years. Our anniversary is in November.

    1. I was in France two weeks before the event (doing thesis research), which mystified my mother. But she wasn't planning the wedding, I was, and everything was done anyway. 39 years last month!