American as....

Speaking of expecting, wanting, and needing Thanksgiving dinner (oh how right you are Mr. Bourdain!)...

This past Sunday the inimitable Mark hosted a mega Thanksgiving bash in Zurich to which Madame Claudia and I were invited. But wait! you say, Thanksgiving is THIS COMING weekend. Right you are astute blog reader, right you are. However, this way I am able to give you the gift of pie (recipe) for you to share with those near and dear. Plus Mark was leaving for the good ole U S of A for a second Thanksgiving feast (greedy cur) and arranged this one ahead of time. Plus Plus this coming Sunday is the second Swiss Foodie dinner (theme - Layers). I digress, so, what good guest arrives empty handed (and almost an hour late, cough cough)? Although we were one of the two, I still insist the conductor told us that THAT number 9 train went to Dubendorf, not the opposite direction.

(Sorry kiddos, not my photo, but a close facsimile thereof)

This pie made it's first Thanksgiving appearance 3 years ago in Connecticut at a Very RISD Thanksgiving tm. Ant and I had been invited home for the holidays with my studiomate and good friend Katie. There was a bit of a hullabaloo the night before when I dragged buddy Bryce out of his bed and made him take me to Stop and Stop for cinnamon at an ungodly hour, but By God, There Was Pie!!! A short road trip the next day and we arrived at Chez Rosenblatt on the shore of a river whose name I have forgotten. Connecticut is very picturesque and fall-like, what with the trees and leaves and all. There was already an impressive line up of all kinds of pie, pumpkin, cherry, and the like (shhh, but I am pretty sure that in those boxes were STORE BOUGHT PIES!!!!). In fact, I MAY have been told that while the pie was appreciated it wasn't really necessary, all in a very gentle way mind you. Ahhhh, but whose pie disappeared in record time? It made me sad I had left the second one back in Providence. And thus, Rachel-Pi was born (not to be confused with Gil-Pie, Katie's dog that got hammered on a forgotten glass of kaluha).

(makes 2 - 9" pies)

Pie crust dough

2 1/2c. flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2c. (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter cut into small bits
1/2c. chilled solid veggie shortening (crisco) cut into small bits
~3T. ice water

Mix flour, sugar, salt in processor. Add butter and shortening a bit at a time, mix after each addition until it resembles coarse meal. Using on/off turns blend in enough water by tablespoonful to form moist clumps. Gather dough together, divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk and warp in plastic, refrigerate for ~30 minutes.

Crumble Topping

1 1/2c. flour
1 1/2c. quick cooking oats
1 1/4c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4c. (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Mix flour, oats, brown sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add melted butter and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal. Can be made a day ahead, cover and refrigerate)

Apple Filling

1 1/2c. sugar
2T. + 2tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise or small amount vanilla extract
5 lbs. granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
1/4c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Mix sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add vanilla, apples, butter, and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Preheat oven to 400F. Make the dough into a pie crust form and place in glass pie dish (sorry folks, I am transcribing this right from my personal handwritten cookbook. Which means I assume I know how to do this. If you need it. Just kidding. Ask me and I'll try to help out) Divide filling equally and sprinkle with topping. Place pies on foil covered baking sheets (they tend to bubble over and nothing is worse than carmelized blackened apple pie juice in the bottom of your oven. Take my word for it) Bake 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 375 and bake an additional hour and a half or so until the top is brown and the filling is bubbling thickly. Cool pies on a rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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