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Our Favorite Apple Pie

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and our favorite part of the feast is pie! We usually have four or five different kinds of pie to choose from and one of our must-haves in the pie buffet is Sour Cream Apple Pie. This is a Hansen Family recipe, and we've tweaked it just a bit, mostly to enhance the streusel topping. Who doesn't love streusel topping?! The filling is a little creamier than a traditional apple pie and that combined with the topping is just delicious!

Pie Crust

If you're like me, you might feel a little intimidated by pie crust. It can be such a fickle creature, and there are A LOT of opinions out there about the dos and don'ts of pie pastry. I do not have strong feelings about it because, let's be honest, the crust is just the vehicle that gets the delicious pie filling (and topping in this case!) from the pie plate to your belly. I won't judge you if you prefer to buy the frozen or refrigerated pie crust from the store. But if you want to impress everyone at your next family gathering and brag that, "yes, I did make that from scratch," then here's a simple option for you!

The pie crust recipe I use is the Better Homes and Gardens Single or Double Crust Pie Pastry. It is a simple and straightforward recipe, and only requires four ingredients. You could probably swap out the shortening for butter, but make sure the butter is cold. Cold is your friend when making pie crust. This recipe doesn't require you to chill the shortening, but you can, to help with flakiness later. Use ice cold water and add the water slowly because you don't want to make the pastry too wet. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until you don't see much dry flour and the pastry just holds together when pressed.

Once the pastry is mixed, it's time to roll it out. This recipe doesn't require you to chill the dough before rolling it out (See - easy!), however, if you wanted to make the dough ahead of time, you could definitely refrigerate it until you're ready.

I've made a little video to help show how I roll out the dough, get it in the pie plate, and crimp the edges, but here are the highlights:

  • Shape the dough into a small disk and roll out on a well-floured surface, pushing from the center to the edges, working in all directions to keep a circular shape, until you have a 12" circle

  • Fold the pastry over the rolling pin, and lift into the pie plate, pressing gently around the edges without stretching

  • Trim the edge to about a 1/2" beyond the rim of the plate, then fold the edge under

  • From the inside edge, press the index and middle fingers of one hand while pushing the outside edge with the thumb of your other hand between the two fingers. Repeat all around the edge of the crust

Filling the Pie

Making the pie filling is also pretty straightforward. First step is peeling, coring, and slicing about 3 cups of apples. We prefer to use this little hand machine that does all those steps in one go. I bought it about 12 years ago at Williams-Sonoma, but you can find similar ones on Amazon, like this one.

It's also easy enough to use that even the smallest helpers in the house can help with this step! However, don't leave the kids unattended, that blade on the end is no joke and can slice a finger pretty quickly. And for whatever reason, my kids love eating the peels that come off, so snack time taken care of!

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, blend together the sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Once the wet ingredients are mixed well, add them to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Nutmeg is a powerful spice - it packs a big flavor punch in a small amount. Look at those yummy flecks!

Finally, fold the apples into the mixture and pour into the pastry shell. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes.

While the pie is baking, mix together the streusel topping by combining flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then cutting the butter into the mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Remove the pie from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle the crumble across the top of the pie, creating a generous and evenly distributed layer. Pop the pie back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Pull the pie from the oven and let it cool on a rack.

Don't you want to dive right into that pie? You can serve the pie right from the oven, but the filling will set more after it has cooled. And you can easily double the recipe to make two pies at a time, like we usually do.


Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 8-9 inch pie

8 Servings

Pie Filling

3 cups apples, peeled and sliced

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping

3 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Unbaked Pastry Shell


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a pastry shell using the recipe of your choice (I recommend BH&Gs Single-Crust Pie Pastry).

For the pie filling, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold in the apples. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes.

While the pie is baking, prepare the Streusel Topping by combining flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Cut in 3 Tablespoons of butter until it resembles large crumbs. After removing the pie from the oven, sprinkle the streusel topping in an even layer across the top of the pie. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake for another 10 minutes.

Let the pie cool on a wire rack. Serve and enjoy!

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