When it comes to Thanksgiving memories, one thing’s for sure, you don’t mess with tradition or recipes. But, there’s no reason why you can’t take a classic apple pie and add a tiny twist. In this case a mere handful of crushed pretzels in the crust. Salty, crunchy pretzels liven up the crust especially when using coarse, raw sugar. The sweet and salty combo is a perfect compliment to the rustic, earthy apples. Maybe the Pilgrims didn’t do it, but there’s no reason why you can’t make apple pie with pretzel crust.
Choosing apples: Not all apples are created equal. In fact in New Jersey alone, there are 30 different varieties. Many apple pie recipes specify certain types for baking, but for home cooks any and all varieties will do. This includes the ones that have been hanging out in your bowl a little too long or the just picked beauties from a family apple-picking excursion. At the end of the day, they all get peeled, sliced and baked and the result is always home-baked apple pie heaven.
Salty and sweet: Raw sugar in piecrust instead of the white variety naturally contains molasses, which gives it a richer depth of flavor. You can find raw sugar right next to white sugar in the grocery store. Adding just a handful of salted pretzels adds a savory crunchy texture. The secret is to use the freshest pretzels.
Is it done yet? Unlike other baked goods where you can test for doneness with a toothpick or clean knife, that’s not an option with pies. However, there is an easy and logical method to check your pie. After an hour of baking, the filling will begin bubbling up through the crust, which means it’s perfectly done. Works every time.
- 2 ¼ cups four
- 2 teaspoons raw sugar
- Handful (1/2 cup) crushed, fresh salted pretzels
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut up
- 3-4 tablespoons cold water
- Milk or cream to brush on crust before baking
- 3 ½-4 pounds apples (about 8)
- ¼ cup raw sugar + more for sprinkling
- 1-teaspoon cinnamon
- Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- Crust – In a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt. Pulse in pretzels until they are hardly noticeable in the mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Divide into two discs, 1 slightly larger. Wrap smaller disc in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Roll out the larger disc on lightly floured surface, and then gently place in a 9-inch pie plate. Chill 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Filling – Peel and core apples and cut into 8 slices. Toss apples with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Pour filling into chilled piecrust. Roll out smaller piecrust to fit over top, crimping the edge. Make a few slits on top (so the steam from the apples can vent as it cooks), brush with milk or cream and sprinkle with more raw sugar. Bake 1 hour until bubbly and crust is golden brown.
Please allow chilling time for the crust so it doesn't shrink when it bakes.