When I was in high school, TGIFriday's opened in New Orleans. I had lunch there with my Aunt Martha (who also owned a restaurant—I know this seems crazy, but chains like TGIFriday's were a new thing in the 1970's and seemed kind of cool). She and I both loved their apple strudel pie, and asked for the recipe—which they gave us! I've made that pie nearly every Thanksgiving since then (and for other occasions as well—it's my step-son's favorite dessert). I no longer have the original recipe, but I do have a 3 x 5 butter-stained card entitled "My Apple Pie," probably my first foray in adapting recipes to my taste. I honestly have no idea what I changed, except that ever since I made mrslarkin's Truly Scrumptious Apple Pie, I've always used at least 3 different varieties of apples. This is my go-to fall pie recipe, and with the possible exception of my white cookies, it is my most-requested dessert. I like an all-butter crust, but use what you like.
The original recipe had a super sweet filling and crumb topping. I recently altered the recipe, borrowing the topping from Alice Medrich's No-Peel Apple Crisp. I prefer the pie less sweet, and love the crunchy topping. —drbabs
Test Kitchen Notes
This pie is beautiful, delicious, and pretty much as easy as pie gets. Its simple crust and classic autumn spices pair perfectly with the nutty-oat crumble topping. I used a mix of Macs and Honeycrisps and got great flavor without a saucy mess. This pie doesn't reinvent anything, but is a great execution of a traditional dish. And aren't traditions what the holidays are about? —Katherine Perry
1 hour 15 minutes
one 9- to 10-inch pie
For the crust:
butter, extremely cold and cut into cubes
all purpose or white whole-wheat flour
For the pie filling:
large apples (I like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Fuji)
Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture forms small pebbles. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing a couple of times after each tablespoon. Continue to add water until the dough just starts to gather into a large ball. Remove the dough, form it into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For the pie filling:
Peel and slice apples 1/4-inch thick. Place in a large bowl. Add sugars, spices, flour and salt. Toss till thoroughly blended.
Remove pie crust from refrigerator. Roll out dough on a lightly-floured surface into a circle about 12 inches across. Place crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie pan with at least 1-inch high sides (higher is better, but use what you have). Crimp the edges if you're feeling fancy. Place the pie plate onto a large cookie sheet (Trust me on this one.) and pile the apples and spices into the crust—you will have a fairly tall mountain of apples.
Heat oven to 400° F. Make the topping: Combine all the topping ingredients (except the turbinado sugar, if using) in a bowl and mix well. Pile over apples, covering them as completely as possible. Sprinkle the topping with the turbinado sugar, if using.
Place cookie sheet with pie on top into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F, and bake for 1 hour to 75 minutes, until the topping is well-browned. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.