As the end of the semester and the start of summer are approaching, I can’t help but fantasize about all the different baked goods I’ll get when I go back home. My mother is an amazing baker; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had baked goods better than her’s. One of my favorite baked goods is pie. My dad and I usually eat a whole pie in about 24 hours, with giant pieces for dessert, an after dinner snack, breakfast the next day, and, if there’s any left, an afternoon snack. Fruit pies are some of the best, mostly because of their simplicity and homeyness. I recently persuaded my mother to hand over a recipe for an amazing pie that she says is one of the best she’s made this year. This is my mum’s recipe for Pineapple Crumb Pie:
4 oz cold unsalted butter
4 T ice water
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 t sugar
1/4 t salt
Cut the butter into small chunks and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor (or use a bowl and toss together). Add the butter, and pulse about 8-10 times, until the butter is in small chunks. Be careful not to overpulse; you need to still see chunks of butter in the dough. Then, add the ice water and pulse only until it looks like it’s starting to stick together. Stop pulsing before you think you need to. Check the dough by bringing it together with your fingertips. If it holds together, it’s good. It’s okay if a few crumbs fall off. But, if it still seems too dry, add another T of water and quickly pulse again. At the point where it does stick together, stop! Remove from food processor, empty dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, and wrap it up, using the warmth of your hands to form it into a disc, about 6” in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes before rolling out. It’s really important not to overwork the dough at all—-that will make it tough.
To Roll, remove from refrigerator. On floured board, with floured rolling pin, roll out dough, decreasing the pressure as you near the edges, and keep rolling, and turning the dough 1/4 turn after each roll. Occasionally pick up the dough and flip it over so it doesn’t stick. (I roll the dough out and then fold it in half, and start rolling again. You could do this one more time, if you want.) Then, roll into about a 12” diameter circle. Roll the dough over the rolling pin and roll it over the pan. Lift the dough at the edges and set it down into the pie pan—-don’t stretch the dough or it will shrink when you bake it. Fold the edges over, and crimp. Refrigerate again for another 30 minutes or so. Then, fill.
1/2 cup sugar
1 t cinnamon
2-3 T flour
Whisk these dry ingredients together.
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2” cubes (4 cups)
Place the pineapple chunks in a large bowl, and toss with the dry ingredients, making sure the fruit is well coated. Pour into the pie shell and distribute evenly. Dot the top with 1 T butter, cut into small pieces. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top.
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon (or more to taste)
1/4 t salt
Whisk these dry ingredients together. Toss in 5 T cold unsalted butter, cut into
small pieces, and work with your fingertips until you have crumbs. I like to grab it in my fist, and then let it fall into crumbs on top of the pie. This topping can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you use it. It’s actually better that way, since it’s more solid, and the butter is cold.
After topping the pie with the crumbs, put it on a cookie sheet, and place in the 425 oven for 15 minutes. Then, after 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for 40 minutes, or until the juices bubble over and the crumb mixture has browned. Let cool on a rack for 1 1/2 hours before cutting.