A few weeks ago my family joined 504 Main's crew in an apple picking excursion to the Santa Cruz foothills. Holly had heard about an organic u-pick apple orchard, and we decided to give it a try.
The orchard was beautiful and the trees were heavy with fruit. We picked several varieties that included Ginger Gold, Sali Red Delicious, and Royal Gala.
The Ginger Gold were our favorite -- both sweet and tart and very crisp. We've been enjoying them whole, chopped up in salads, and sliced with peanut butter for an after-school-snack. But just the other day my husband and I were both struck with a craving for apple pie. Unless it's made by my step-mom, I usually pass on classic apple pie -- it's a bit too sweet for my liking. Sour cream apple pie is more my style -- a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Alas, when the craving hit, there was no sour cream on hand. So, we decided to improvise by using cream cheese. The experiment paid off. The resulting pie highlighted the sweetness of the Ginger Gold apples in perfect balance with the cheesecake flavor imparted by the cream cheese. The cream cheese added just the right amount of creaminess for a terrific contrast to the crisp apples.
This pie is so quick and easy to make too!
It's now ranked as one of my favorite pies and I'll definitely be featuring it on my holiday dessert table.
If you can't find Ginger Gold apples, try another sweet/tart apple with a firm flesh like a Honey Crisp.
Deep-Dish Streusel-Top Cream Cheese Apple Pie
For the filling
- 8 ounces regular cream cheese
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 pounds sweet/tart and crisp apples, peeled and sliced into ¼” slices
- 1 Deep Dish pie crust (store bought or homemade), chilled (in the refrigerator until ready to use)
For the streusel topping
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400°F
Step 1: Prepare the topping in a medium bowl by mixing together all ingredients with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Chill in the refrigerator until called for in the recipe.
Step 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla and egg until smooth.
Step 3: Stir in the apple slices by hand taking care to coat well.
Step 4: Put filling into the prepared deep-dish pie shell and bake for 25 minutes.
Step 5: Remove from oven and evenly distribute the streusel topping on top of the pie. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Let cool for an hour before serving. This pie is delicious both warm and cold. Optional: Decorate with just a light sprinkling of powdered sugar to accent the rustic nature of the crumb top.
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