Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie

I have to be totally honest here — I haven’t yet baked this pie, but I’ve eaten the original, and I think it is the best pie ever.

This recipe is Tamasin Day-Lewis’s take on “the signature pie of the Little Pie Company of the Big Apple,” she writes, “the one that made the New York company famous, the only recipe they will not give out.” She says that it is as close as she could get to the original and advises, “Don’t ever try to use margarine instead of butter. You’d never get the lovely buttery flavor.”

Sour Cream Apple and Walnut Pie

Shortcrust pastry dough made with 3 cups all-purpose flour and ¾ cup unsalted butter (See Tamasin Day Lewis’s Shortcrust Pastry Dough recipe)

Filling
10 large eating apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
A little light brown sugar
2/3 cup sour cream

Topping
½ cup sugar, half light and half dark brown
½ cup unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
½ cup flour
¾ cup walnuts, crushed into small bits

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a pie pan with butter, then line it with two-thirds of the rolled-out pastry dough. Let the overhang hang loose for the moment.

Toss the apple slices into a bowl with a small scattering of sugar and the sour cream, then mix with your hands until everything is well amalgamated. Pile this mixture into the pie shell, packing it tightly and mounding it up toward the center.

For the topping, process together the sugars, small bits of cold butter, syrup and flour. Add the walnuts when you have stopped the processing, and stir them in. Take lumps of the mixture on the palm of one hand and flatten them out with the other palm, so you have a flattened layer rather than a crumble top, and cover the surface of the apples bit by bit. Join the topping to the dough edge before you cut off the overhang.

Cook for 20 minutes before turning the temperature down to 350 F and cooking for another 30 to 40 minutes. Check that the top layer is not darkening too much and if it is, cover with a layer of wax paper or foil and continue cooking. The pie will smell ready when it is ready.

Day-Lewis is of the firm belief that apple pie is best when left to cool for at least 3 hours after cooking, so if you want it warm or hot, work out your cooking times accordingly and reheat very gently, she writes. Serve warm and a la mode, with homemade vanilla ice cream, she recommends.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tarts With Tops On: Or How To Make the Perfect Pie by Tamasin Day-Lewis

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