Surely you remember my massive sack o’ nuts that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, and surely you’re wondering what happened to it! A kilo and a half of walnuts is no small quantity of food to get through, and I bet you’re wondering how we fared! I may have to admit that we haven’t managed to get through all of them yet, but we’ve done our best: so far we’ve had salsa di noci, some spinach-walnut pesto, brownies, lardo with walnuts, and last week I decided I’d make an apple pie, like the ones my sister and I used to make when we were younger. My sister doesn’t like raisins, which is what most recipes call for, so we always used walnuts instead.
The recipe we always used back in the days seems to have gone missing a bit, so I used a different one that didn’t seem too far from the one I remembered. Alas, it was completely different. Still quite nice, but not the gustatory explosion of nostalgia I had been hoping for. The thing is, being a couple of clueless kids, my sister and I always just made the dough, put it in a spring form tin, and baked it straight away. The recipe I used said to put it in the fridge for half an hour first, so as to stiffen up the butter in the dough, resulting in a crunchier base.
I went with it, but it came out way crunchier than I wanted. The cake tin I used was also slightly too big, so I didn’t have enough dough to fill up the form to the rim. The pie ended up being so low and crunchy that it kinda looked and felt like a crostata. I don’t even like crostata. Crostata is essentially a really crunchy and sickeningly sweet pastry base with a bunch of jam on it. Nothing special. So imagine my dismay when my friends commented “Ah, look at that, you made a crostata!”. No, dammit, I made apple pie!
You can decide for yourself. If you like a super crunchy base and crust, make the crostata version of this apple pie and chill the dough before baking it. If you want to try the pies my sister and I made when we were little, use the dough straight away. Either way, it’ll be good.
For the crust you will need:
- 300 gr flour
- 125 gr sugar
- 175 gr butter
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
For the filling, you will need:
- 600 gr apples – sour ones, like Russets
- two handfuls of walnuts
- 50gr sugar
- some cinnamon
- some breadcrumbs, maybe about 2 tbsp
Mix the sugar and the flour with a pinch of salt, then add the butter in small chunks. Use your fingers to make a crumbly mixture out of this, then add the egg and knead it into a smooth ball of dough. Grease a spring form tin with butter. Take about a third off the total (you’ll need it for the lattice pattern on top later), then press the remaining two thirds down into the cake tin and up the sides. Here’s the choice between making crostata or pie: for crostata, put the dough in the fridge for at least half an hour now. For super awesome nostalgia pie, don’t. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs on the base (prevents the base from getting soggy) and put the filling in straight away.
For the filling, peel and core the apples, then cut them into small-ish chunks. Crack the walnuts, break them into smaller pieces and add them to the apples. Add the sugar and enough cinnamon, chuck them in the spring form tin with the dough, then top with the remaining dough: roll it out on a floured surface, then cut strips and weave them into a lattice pattern on top.
Bake at 175°C for an hour up to an hour and 15.