What a strange, hard week this has been. It feels like it has been hard in every sense of the word — difficult, unyielding. I hope everyone is okay. This is the first of a number of recipes I’ve had saved up for these first few baby-filled months, and, thankfully, it is so very easy. I think “easy” was going to be my mantra in the kitchen for the foreseeable future no matter what, now that we have a little person to cuddle and feed and care for, but right now it feels particularly apt to share something that comes together without much effort, without any stress, to be a treat that soothes and indulges.
This is based on a recipe for Scandinavian sour cream apple pie that I stumbled across through a comment on a blog, although I can’t seem to find the comment now. Everything about the recipe made me want to make it immediately: unlike most apple pies I knew, the sour cream made the filling custard-like, layered with slices of apple, and it slept under a buttery topping that looked wonderfully crackly, crunchy and caramelized. I tweaked the recipe here and there, most notably to incorporate one of my favorite Vermont Creamery products, a little bit of vanilla-flecked crème fraîche (which makes the filling taste amazingly like melted apple ice cream), but in essence the pie is just like what I read about — sweet and flaky on top, creamy and custardy underneath, warmly cinnamon-tinged. The pie is soft and pudding-like when warm out of the oven, but becomes almost cheesecake-like when cold and set in the fridge, and it’s wonderful either way.
Best of all, Francois-Xavier, who first shared this recipe, made the serendipitous discovery that the filling is sturdy enough to be baked without a crust; though you can definitely opt to make it with your favorite pie crust, I loved this inadvertent shortcut and didn’t think it suffered at all this way, so mine is similarly crustless — the custard, thanks to a bit of flour, holds its shape just fine. That means all you need to do to make this gem is slice some apples, stir up a filling and a crumble topping, and get ready to enjoy. There’s no chilling and rolling of pie crust, no cooking the apples beforehand. Easy, easy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Thank you to Vermont Creamery for sponsoring this post and providing the wonderful product used here! All opinions are, as always, my own.
Two more notes: (1) In what feels especially heartwarming right about now, Julia Turshen has put together a Friendsgiving campaign in connection with her cookbook, Small Victories, to raise awareness for childhood hunger and funding for No Kid Hungry. You can see some of the wonderful recipes from her cookbook here!
(2) Our little family got the biggest surprise ever last Thursday when we woke up to the sweetest virtual baby shower for B3, hosted by Steph at I Am a Food Blog and Alana at Fix Feast Flair! I am still so overwhelmed by all the lovely recipes and posts. You can find them below, and on Instagram. Thank you, thank you to all the wonderful friends who absolutely made our day. And thank you for all of your heartwarming comments on my last post! Each and every one touched our hearts.
I am a Food Blog | Mac and Kimcheese Dolsot Bibimbap
Fix Feast Flair | Dishoom’s Chicken Ruby Murray
The Fauxmartha | Mom Lunches
A Cozy Kitchen | Cornbread Chicken + Dumplings
Cake Over Steak | Salted Caramel Chocolate Crackles
The Pancake Princess | Stovetop Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Snixy Kitchen | Chicken Pot Pie with Chestnut Biscuits
Lady and Pups | Egg Florentine in Pullman “Bowls”
Betty Liu | Honeynut Squash Congee
Style Sweet CA | Date Bourbon Cinnamon Rolls
Warm Vanilla Sugar | Broccoli Quinoa Bowl with Avocado Sauce
A Beautiful Plate | Coconut Cauliflower Soup
Girl Versus Dough | Tomato Grilled Cheese Soup
Fork to Belly | A HUGE Hawaiian Fruit Bowl!!!
Donny Tsang | Chawanmushi
Wit & Vinegar | Jerk Chicken Chili
Constellation Inspiration | Salted Egg Yolk Custard Mochi
twigg studios | Katsu Udon Soup wth Popcorn Chicken Croutons
Edible Perspective | Acorn Squash Bowls with Pears, Pecans, and Vanilla Bean Cream
Coco Cake Land | Asian Bowl Cut Sugar Cookies
Southern Souffle | Sorghum Apple Biscuits In A Bowl
The Bojon Gourmet | Smoky Sweet Potato & Lentil Tortilla Soup
Flourishing Foodie | Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup
What should I eat for breakfast today | Little Bowl with Creamy Polenta, Cheese, Onions and Mushrooms
Top with Cinnamon | Squash & Crispy Kale Bowls with Pomegranate and Miso-Ginger Dressing
the broken bread | Roasted Celeriac + Fennel Soup
Fig+Bleu | Cauliflower Harissa Soup
my name is yeh | Corn Dog In A Bowl
Crepes of Wrath | Mini Scallion Pancake Challah Buns
O&O Eats | Persimmon Cobbler
Chocolate + Marrow | Parsnip + Potato Soup with Crispy Pancetta
With Food + Love | Caramelized Golden Beet Soup with Fall Roots + Garlicky Yogurt
The Pig and Quill | Slow Cooker Pumpkin Curry Beef Stew
Hungry Girl Por Vida | Rice Cooker Oats with Brûléed Bananas
What’s Cooking Good Looking | Homemade Cereal: Matcha Cocoa Sesame Clusters + Macadamia Milk
Custardy crème fraîche apple pie
- for the filling:
- ½ cup (about 63 grams) all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup (about 133 grams) granulated sugar (or ½ cup; see Notes)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3 cups (about 1 lb) apples, cored and sliced (and peeled, if you wish)
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla crème fraîche, plus more for serving
- ½ cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) sour cream
- for the topping:
- ½ cup (about 63 grams) flour
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick, or 85 grams) cold butter (see Notes)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt, then add the apple slices and toss to coat. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, crème fraîche, and sour cream, and fold into the apple mixture. Pour into a 9” pie plate, 10” cast-iron skillet, or 8×8” baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
- While the filling is baking, make the topping: Whisk the flour, sugars, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the texture is crumbly. Once the filling has baked, distribute the topping evenly over the filling and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until golden, crackly, and caramelized on top. (If the topping isn’t crackly yet after 15 minutes, you can broil it for 2-3 minutes, which did the trick for me.) For a soft, pudding-like dessert, enjoy warm out of the oven; for a custard-y, cheesecake-like pie, let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until fully cold, and enjoy cold. Top with more crème fraîche, if desired.
(1) The dessert is still delicious with ½ cup granulated sugar in the filling instead of ⅔ cup, and if your sweet tooth is a bit more sensitive than mine, you might find you prefer that amount of sugar. If you’re using very tart baking apples, though, I might recommend the ⅔ cup. (2) You can easily play around with the amount of creme fraiche and sour cream here. A full cup of creme fraiche (omitting the sour cream) is decadently rich but delicious; the original recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream only, which also works. I think you could even substitute some of it with Greek yogurt and have a good outcome, though I haven’t tried it. (3) For a more traditional crumble topping, as opposed to the lacey, crackly top shown, decrease the amount of butter to 4 tablespoons (½ stick or about 66 grams). A handful of oats wouldn’t hurt anyone, either.