An Autumnal Applesauce Crumble Pie

I asked for baked apple pie with a twist from my family and they told me I needed to go the extra mile. I do not regret finding exactly what they meant. It is especially easy because as the weather gets colder, the apples are poached into sweetness. The focus is on the caramel-apple crumble, lightly crumbled and then poured into the pie to finish. The crust itself has become a something of a cult classic, and it includes so many other really good parts. It is an all-purpose baklava that is so easy to make with the kids, and it is just so easy to enjoy it the way we do. It’s also really sweet, but its crispness suggests a good depth of flavor.

The pie really is really rich and comforting, but while I really love the apples, I’ve not had a frostbite lately so I’ve been using the lemon zest in the crust.

I use the grated zest of the lemons in everything because, hey, they’re spectacular, and having them around makes the whole pie even more fabulous.

Apple Crumble Pie

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup very good apple-flavored crumb

3 pounds peeled, cored, and chopped tart apples, peaches, plums, apricots, tangerines, or oranges

10 large gratings lemon zest

4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Melt the butter in a heavy 9-inch pie pan. Add the zucchini and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix the sugar with the eggs, vanilla, and cornstarch in a medium bowl and beat well. Whisk in the flour, zest, and cinnamon. Add the zucchini mixture and the apples. Mix well.

Pour the pie mixture into the pie pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice over the pie. Cover the top of the pie and cover the sides with aluminum foil, pressing down lightly.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes before cutting.

Jacketed with Aluminum Foil

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