Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Friday, September 12, 2014

Henry Street Garden French Apple Pie

Each fall the DH and I spend a day in the country picking apples at one of the many orchards that dot the Hudson Valley. But not this year.  Instead, I harvested apples even more locally -- from a fruit-laden tree growing in the garden adjacent to Henry Street Settlement, my place of employ. For the first time in recent memory, the squirrels didn't destroy the crop.

To showcase these Granny Smith beauties, I made a French Apple Pie, which is basically an apple crumb pie.  Now, I've rarely had success with apple pies -- they are either too runny or too dry -- but this vintage recipe hit it out of the park.* The hand-typed recipe promised that "You will be delighted with the results." And I was.

Below is the apple tree, growing in Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Park, right next to the Settlement's headquarters. The park, a true sanctuary on the Lower East Side, was created from funds donated by the Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation to the Plant-A-Lot Project of GrowNYC.

Can you tell I'm the marketing director at Henry Street?

Get started by peeling and slicing the apples. Make easy work of this by enlisting the help of a family member, as I did. (Thanks, Paul.)

Combine the apples with flour, sugar and cinnamon.

Place the mixture in an unbaked pie crust. (Pie crust recipe at the end of this post.)

Prepare the crumb topping.

and place atop the apples.

Bake for just 45 minutes.

Cool, slice and enjoy!

Production notes: I followed the recipe exactly, but used a regular -- not a deep dish pie pan (because I don't own one). I used cinnamon (not nutmeg) and didn't add any water to the filling.
*Be sure to choose apples appropriate for pie, as some will not hold up when baked, making for a watery filling.

For the pie crust, I used my version of the tried and true recipe published in the original c. 1980 Silver Palate Cookbook, which is pretty vintage itself at this point. This makes a double crust, so you can cut it in half to make the single-crust required by French Apple Pie.

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick of cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 T. cold Crisco, cut into pieces
2 t. sugar
1 t. salt
3 - 6 T. cold water

Place dry ingredients in a food processor and whirl to blend.  Add butter and Crisco and process until it resembles cornmeal. Transfer to a round bowl, and add the water, a couple of tablespoons at a time.  Blend with a fork.  When it holds together, transfer to a lightly floured surface and form a large ball.  Divide in half and either roll out between two sheets of plastic wrap, or refrigerate until it's a bit firmer and then roll out.


  1. Wow, that's amazing, NYC apple picking!

    Next time use freshly grated nutmeg, and you will be doubly delighted with the results! I had never thought to try it, but Amanda Hesser recommended it in her recipe for an open faced apple tart that has become my standard. It's just gorgeous; I never use cinnamon with apples anymore. {Recipe is in the book Cooking For Mr. Latte and uses a fabulous pat in crust.}

  2. This looks really nice. We are going to pick apples next week and may have to try this recipe.