All-American Rustic Bacon-Apple Pie with Cheddar Bacon Crust
2 teaspoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water 6 apples, a mix of tart and sweet, such as Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced crosswise 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 teaspoon canola oil 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt All-purpose flour, for rolling Cheddar Bacon Crust (recipe below) 1 large egg, beaten 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
1. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water until smooth. In a very large skillet, melt the butter in the oil over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. 2. Add the brown sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the liquid thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool completely. 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 4. On a lightly floured surface, with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each dough round into an 1/4-inch-thick circle. Divide the cooled filling between the two rounds, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold and pleat the border up and around the apples, leaving the center open. 5. Beat the remaining tablespoon water into the egg. Brush the egg wash over the dough and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cheddar Bacon Crust Makes two (9-inch) pie crusts This crust would also be good in savory quiches and pies or rolled, cut, baked, and eaten as a savory cookie or shortbread. 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/3 cup cold water 2 ounces thick-cut bacon, finely diced and frozen 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1/2 cup) and chilled 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices and chilled 1. Stir the salt into the water until it dissolves. In the bowl of a food processor, toss the bacon with the flour until well coated. (Watch out for the blade!) Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a large bowl. 2. Toss in the cheese and butter, then press in the butter with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form with a few bigger pieces remaining. Add the salted water all at once and quickly gather the dough with your hands into a large, shaggy clump. 3. Divide into 2 equal pieces, shape into disks, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Sweet Tooth: Sprinkle sugar over the apples too before baking, then serve with a scoop of ice cream. Swap Out: If you don’t have coarse sugar, sprinkle granulated on top.
Make it your own: When my cookbook co-author, Genevieve, and I were making this recipe, we each took a round of dough to roll and shape the pies. I piled my apples into a dome and gathered the dough high up around them; she spread her apples into an even layer and folded the dough flat over them. It was fun to see how we instinctively shaped our rustic pies differently, even though our dough rounds were the same shape and size and we had equal amounts of apple. My tall pie baked up into soft apples in a tender crust; her pie turned into toothsome apples in a crisp crust. I love both styles! Try one of each or create your own rustic pie style.