I used more of the flour I already paid for as part of the dinner expense. So that's, like, free.
Specifically for this recipe, I bought 5 Granny Smith apples for $4.28 and butter for $2.69, so just under $7 for a dessert that ought to feed eight people. Or four people who each have two servings. Or two people for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. Whatever works for you.
Everything else I used in the recipe I'd consider pantry items: salt, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla. Okay, vanilla can be a little expensive, but you could eliminate it from this recipe without dire consequences. The other ingredients are fairly inexpensive as well. Okay, a whole big bag of sugar is a couple bucks, but we didn't use much of it at all. And that butter didn't all get used up in this recipe, either, so there's plenty left for another recipe. Or toast. The leftover butter probably makes up for the cost of the vanilla, so I'm putting the total cost on this at around $7.
And look, there's still plenty of flour left.
The very first pie I ever made was an apple crumb pie. I was probably still in grade school, and for some reason, I was led to believe that the top crust on a pie was difficult. So when I found a recipe for a pie with a crumb topping, I latched onto it like a dog with a bone. I made so many pies with crumb toppings that I could make the crumb part without measuring.
Eventually, I realized that double-crusted pies weren't that scary. But in the meantime, I developed a fondness for crumb toppings. Even though I like flaky pastry, there's something about having two different crusts in one pie that I find appealing.
This tart is an homage to those first pies I made. But of course, I've changed everything. Because that's how I roll.
Apple Crumb Tart
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla combined with 1 tablespoon water, chilled
1 tablespoon additional cold water
1 tablespoon butter
5 granny smith apples
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter and pulse again to break up the pieces until the largest bits are no larger than a lima bean.
With the processor running, add the water/vanilla mixture as fast as the flour will absorb it, then add as much extra water as needed so the dough begins to gather together. You don't need it to form a ball - just so that it can come together.
Remove the dough from the food processor, form it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a frying pan on low heat. Peel and core the apples, and slice them thinly. I find that it's easiest to work on one apple at a time. Cut in half, remove core with a melon baller, then cut the half in half, then peel and slice it directly into the frying pan. After each addition of apple, give the pan a shake (or stir) to move the new additions to the bottom of the pan.
Add the salt and sugar and cook for a short time, just until the apples become a little bit pliant. Combine the vanilla and cornstarch and add it to the pan. Stir to coat all the apples, then turn off the heat. Transfer the apples to a storage container and let cool, then refrigerate until needed.
To assemble and bake the pie:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Have a 9-inch tart pan ready
Flour your work surface and roll the pie dough to slightly larger than the tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, and press it into the sides of the pan. Trim the top evenly. You can use the left over bits to shore up any thin spots on the sides, if needed.
Dump the apples into the prepared crust and spread them evenly. You don't have to arrange them in a pretty pattern, since the crumb crust will cover them.
If the crumb crust has big clumps, break them up. It's fine if there are some pea-sized pieces, but you don't want boulders on top of the pie. Spread the crumbs evenly over the apples, all the way to the edges of the pie.
Bake the pie at 425 degrees until the crumb topping is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely before removing the tart from the pan.
Whole Foods Friday is what I'm calling my new partnership with the local Whole Foods stores in Boulder County. Whole Foods lets me shop for what I need for any recipe I want to make, and I post the results here. Whole Foods also posts my recipes on their Boulder blog, and at Cooking Boulder. It's a fun project.