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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Apple pie with latke crust

Scrolling through Instagram while at a conference a few weeks ago, I came across a picture with a caption explaining that the pie was a pumpkin pie with a latke crust for Thanksgivukkah.  The other pumpkin pie I had seen for Thanksgivukkah had a rye crust, which just didn't sound appetizing to me.  Well, neither sounded all that appetizing to me because I don't like pumpkin pie.  But at least the latke crust gave me something to work with.  And then -- almost immediately -- it came to me: Apple Pie with a Latke Crust!  It was like a somewhat deconstructed potato pancake (latke) with applesauce, which happens to be my favorite way to eat latkes.

I figured I would have to work on the recipe a little, since apples are watery and I didn't want a soggy latke crust (the BEST part of latkes are their crispy outside!).  More on that below (see *).

I was a little overzealous when I made it, and cut into the pie when it was still a little runny (the filling does thicken a little as it cools) -- see the photos below.  But it was super tasty - exactly what I wanted it to be.  And even though the filling was a little wet (because of my overzealousness), the crust was still crispy thanks to cooking it technically three times.  *So, even though I thought this pie would need a few iterations before I posted it for you, I was pleasantly surprised by the final result the first time.  I would possibly add a little more flour next time, just to control some of the filling, but I honestly don't think I have to do that. 


FYI, the blogger who I got the recipe from claims that these are the best latkes she has ever tasted.  Clearly, she has never had my mom's latkes!  But since I knew the crust worked with her recipe, I went with it....I may need to try it again with my mom's latke "recipe."  Just sayin'.

Latke Crust
From My Name Is Yeh


She calls for a "half batch of ex-boyfriend latke mix" - adjusted measurements below:

2 1/2 medium russet potatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 egg whites
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Canola or vegetable oil to coat pan


Preheat oven to broil.

Shred potatoes and onion using a food processor or mandolin.
Mine was very watery, so I drained the mixture before adding everything else.  Just like my mom does when she makes latkes. 
Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, egg whites, and flour.
Mix well.

Once you've mixed up the latke mixture, coat an oven safe pan with oil and set over medium heat (She used a 9-inch cast iron pan).
Pour the latke mixture into the pan and use a spatula to firmly press the mixture all over the bottom and around the edges.

Cook until the bottom browns.  I assume she meant on the stove top, so that's what I did.
The crust may start to puff up in the center-- if this happens, poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork.
Once the bottom is brown, stick the pan in the oven and broil for 8-12 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.
Reduce the heat to 375 (or whatever your pie filling recipe advises -- Mine calls for 350, if you're making my "deconstructed latke with applesauce" pie).

Pour in the filling (see below), and bake until the pie is set.

Apple Pie Filling
(you may need less since the latke crust is a bit thicker than a regular crust.  That's OK, the apples are super tasty on their own, to snack on while the pie is baking)


6 to 7 medium apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (about 7 cups total) -- I tried to lessen the amount of apples because my crust was particularly thick.  I used 2.5 LARGE apples (1 Rome apple, 1.5 Braeburn apples), but I ended up with a lot of apples, so I ended up keeping the following amounts as is, except the butter -- but that is noted below. 
2 tablespoons lemon juice 
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar -- I used some dark brown sugar (less than 1/4 cup), since I didn't want to open another box of light brown sugar, so I lessened the amount slightly.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced -- I used 1.5 Tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; toss to combine.
Mound the apples in the crust-lined pan, making the center higher than the sides.
Dot the top evenly with the pieces of butter. I ended up using half of the butter since I didn't want it too soupy and to make the crust soggy.
I covered it with foil.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake until the apples feel tender, mine took about 30-40 minutes.  After that, I removed the foil and let it bake a little longer, about 5-10 minutes
Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Let the pie rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
Serve warm or at room temperature.  

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