It’s been far too long since I’ve posted an update and I really don’t have a good excuse. Truthfully, Shane and I just haven’t been trying new recipes. We just have a few favorites that we’ve been rotating through the past week and a half. Finally tonight I got some motivation to bake something. I’ve been wanting to make a pie for months now, but I’ve never felt confident enough to make the dough. Yesterday while flipping through my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, I came across this pie which has a crumb crust that requires no rolling. It seemed like a good one to try as a step toward making a traditional crust.

It took me quite a while from start to finish to make this pie, but it was well worth it! The result was delicious! I followed the recipe almost exactly, except for the amount of apples. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 pounds of apples but I probably only used about 2 3/4 pounds. As I was cutting them 3 1/2 pounds just seemed like a lot. I’m glad I didn’t use the full 3 1/2 pounds because I could barely fit 2 3/4 pounds in the pie dish. I think I’m ready to try a traditional pie crust so the next time I find blueberries on sale I’m going to pick them up and make a blueberry pie!

Apple Crumb Pie
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Almond Crumb Crust (recipe follows)
3 1/2 pounds assorted apples (such as Macoun, Cortland, Jonagold, Empire or Rome), peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350F. Evenly and firmly press a little more than half of the crumbs (about 2 1/2 cups) into the bottom, up the sides, and onto the rim of a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly into the edges. Freeze pie shell until firm, about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together apples, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour mixture into the chilled pie shell, mounding apples slightly in the center. Dot with butter. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs in clumps over the apples to cover completely.

Bake until the crust turns golden and the juices begin to bubble, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Crumb Crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons blanched almonds, finely ground
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almonds, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Using your fingers, squeeze the mixture together to create pea-size to 3/4-inch pieces. If not using right away, cover and chill until ready to proceed.

[I didn’t know how to blanch almonds so I had to look that up online. I put the almonds in a saute pan and covered them with cold water. Then I put them on the stove and heated until the water came to a boil. At that point, I strained them and then ran cold water over them until cool. Finally, I was able to slip the skins off the almonds using my thumb and index finger.]

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