Apple pie served four ways

Apple-Cranberry Crumble Pie. (Supplied)

Apple-Cranberry Crumble Pie. (Supplied)

Rita DeMontis, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:34 PM ET

The American Pie Council, the name behind the recent National Pie Day celebrations, reports apple pie is the most popular of pies ever.

What's not to love? Apples are the perfect foil in any sweet or savoury dish, and the marriage of such spices as cinnamon, nutmeg even ginger is beyond mouth-watering. When I think of apple pie I think of deep-dish, thick crust works of art that offer one of the best mental health breaks for your taste buds and your heart.

Here's a selection of apple-pie influenced desserts that'll definitely help chase those January blues and February blahs.

Just add a cup of tea, coffee or milk and there's love in every forkful!

Apple-Cranberry Crumble Pie

This is a perfect sweet dessert to end a perfect meal.

Ingredients:

Crumble:

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. (2ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) butter, softened

Filling:

  • 4 cups (1L) thinly sliced apples
  • 1 cup (250ml) Craisins sweetened dried cranberries or 1/2 cup (125ml) EACH dried cranberries and dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup (60ml) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1 (9-inch) frozen deep dish pie shell
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) caramel sauce (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Place crumble ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, work butter into dry ingredients until butter is size of small peas. Set aside.

Combine all filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; mix well. Spoon into pie shell. Set filled shell on baking sheet; sprinkle with crumble topping. Bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown. Loosely cover with foil if pie begins to brown too quickly. Cool. Drizzle with caramel sauce, if using.

Makes 1 pie.

Apple Cheddar Pizza Pie

All the essentials of a classic apple pie — apples, golden raisins, spices and flaky pastry — are presented in an appealing "pizza pie" form.

Ingredients:

  • Pastry for double-crust pie
  • 6 apples, such as McIntosh
  • 3 Tbsp. (45ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. (2ml) cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. (1ml) nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) golden raisins
  • 2 cups (500ml) shredded Old Cheddar cheese (preferably orange)
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) granulated sugar

Directions:

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into circle at least 2 inches wider than pizza pan, about 13 inches, to make thicker round than for regular pie. Drape over pan, trimming to leave 1-inch overhang. Fold pastry edge under to be even with rim of pan. Bake on bottom rack of 425F (22C) oven for 10 minutes, or until just lightly golden brown. Let cool.

Meanwhile, peel and core apples; cut into wedges about 1/2-inch thick and place in large bowl. Blend together 3 Tbsp. (45ml) flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/3 cup (75ml) sugar; sprinkle over apples, stirring until evenly coated. Stir in raisins.

Toss cheese with 2 Tbsp. (30ml) flour and 2 Tbsp. (30ml) sugar to mix evenly. Spread apple mixture over pizza crust. Evenly sprinkle with cheese mixture. Bake on bottom rack in 350F (180C) oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until apples are fork-tender.

Serves 4 to 6.

Anna Olson's Apple Pie Preserves

These preserves are delicious served on toast, bagels or croissants or alongside gingerbread, but also try it as a condiment for roast pork or baked squash.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups (2L) peeled and diced Granny Smith apples, (1/2-inch/15mm pieces)
  • 1/3 cup (75ml) raisins
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. (1ml) ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) butter
  • 1 cup (250ml) light brown sugar, packed

Directions:

Bring apples, raisins, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and butter up to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add brown sugar, stir and simmer for five more minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Pack preserves in plastic containers and refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze for up to three months.

Makes about 4 cups (1L).

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Cold mornings and hot cereal — that taste like apple pie! The recipe, courtesy of Elizabeth Baird, makes one serving, but can be multiplied.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) large-flake rolled oats (old fashioned)
  • 1/4 apple, peeled if desired, cored and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) raisins or currants
  • Generous sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg
  • Few grains salt, optional
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) water or apple juice
  • Milk

Directions:

In large cereal bowl stir together rolled oats, apple, raisins, cinnamon, salt (if using) and water; cover. Microwave on high until creamy and oats are tender, about three minutes. Stir; let stand for one minute. Serve with milk.

Makes 1 serving.


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