Once again, my favorite pie cookbook didn't fail me. If you only have one pie cookbook in your library, let this be the one: Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott. Thank you Ms. McDermott, I now have a new favorite apple pie recipe!
This is a very simple pie to make. In fact, it was so simple, I made two at the same time. One to keep and enjoy and one to give to friends.
You can, of course, use a pre-made crust or make your own.
Salted Pecan Crumble
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 T. packed light brown sugar
2 T. granulated sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
5 T. cold butter, cut into pieces
6 - 8 apples, such as Jonagolds, Staymans, or Granny Smith (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup sugar
3 T. Steen's pure cane syrup, sorghum, molasses or dark corn syrup (I used Alabama made Golden Eagle syrup)
2 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch pie pan with crust and crimp edges. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the salted pecan crumble: Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet or in a cake pan and bake until they are aromatic and lightly browned, 5 - 10 minutes. Turn the pecans out onto a plate and spread them out to cool for about 15 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the flour, sugars, salt, cinnamon and 1/3 cup of the cooled pecans. Process the ingredients briefly, just to grind the pecans, about 30 seconds. Add the butter and pulse the machine on and off, just until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the remaining 1/3 cup pecans. Using your hands, crumble and squeeze the mixture to form large clumps. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until you are ready to complete the pie.
To make the filling: Peel the apples, core them, and cut them into slices 1/2 inch thick. You'll need about 4 cups. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cane syrup, cornstarch, and nutmeg and stir with a fork to mix everything well. Add the apples and lemon zest, and then toss to coat the apples evenly with the sweet spice mixture.
Pour the apple mixture into the piecrust. Distribute the apples into a fairly even layer, and then sprinkle the chilled crumble evenly over the top of the apple filling, gently pressing the crumble to set it into place.
Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch drips and place it on the center shelf of the oven. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the crumble is golden brown, about 1 hour.
Place the pie on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.