The other day I promised you some Thanksgiving-appropriate desserts, and today I shall deliver! I think we’d all agree: Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving without dessert. And for me growing up, Turkey Day dessert equaled PIE. Lots and lots of beautiful pies would line a table and a couple hours after our turkey meal, we’d all dig in and stuff our faces with a little slice of each kind.
We kept things pretty traditional with the pumpkin and pecan pies, but once every few years, someone would make a lovely deep-dish, double crust apple pie. I’ve always been a fan of apple pie, since before I even have real memories, apparently. As in, there are high chair pictures. And, I still am a huge fan!
When it comes to apple pies, the classic deep-dish version is always welcome, but this year I thought we’d shake things up a bit with a streusel topping instead of a top crust. And I couldn’t seem to stop there – oh no, I went ahead and included BACON in this streusel topping. Bacon bits!!! Oh, and let me not neglect to mention the bacon fat in the pie crust. And no, I didn’t clarify my bacon fat either. Something I didn’t do on purpose, I might add. When you clarify the bacon fat, it becomes mostly about texture, and I wanted that smoky, bacon-y goodness flavor in there too.
Upon tasting, I must conclude it was the right decision. This pie is wonderfully familiar yet puts a unique spin on the good ol’ apple pie. Alert any vegetarians first, but I highly recommend putting this apple pie out on your dessert table this Thanksgiving. It’s really, really delicious. Enjoy!
Source: adapted from Bacon 24/7 by Theresa Gilliam
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Healthy pinch of kosher salt
6 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 tbs un-clarified bacon fat, chilled
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
6-8 tbs ice cold water
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
2 medium Braeburn apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
4 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon (about 6 slices)
2 tbs chopped, toasted walnuts
To make the CRUST: combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and bacon fat and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut the fat into the flour, until the fat is the size of peas. Add the vinegar and the water and stir gently until the dough has mostly come together. Use your clean hands to briefly knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just to get the rest of the little crumbly bits to incorporate into the dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the PIE: preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease a regular 9” pie plate and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the pie dough disc from the refrigerator and set on a floured surface. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll the dough out into about a 12” circle. Transfer the dough to your prepared pie plate. You’ll probably have more overhang in some spots than others, so use kitchen shears to trim it and patch the more paltry spots. Fold the overhang under the pie dough, then use your fingers to crimp the dough decoratively. Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, vinegar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, granulated sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, and flour. Toss together very well until all the apples are coated.
Now make the BACON STREUSEL: in a medium bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand and pea-sized clumps form. Add the crumbled bacon and walnuts and stir to mix.
Spoon the apples into the prepared pie shell. Smooth them out on top, then evenly sprinkle the bacon streusel over top. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is browned and the apples are tender, 50-60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.