Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sour Cream Apple and Walnut Pie #8

I'm always wary of recipes that claim to be "just like the restaurant's" unless it actually comes from a cookbook published by the restaurant. So when my friend, Ann, forwarded this recipe to me, I tried to find some other "just like the restaurant" variations. The only problem was, I kept finding the exact same recipe, just on different sites and they all had originated from "Tart's with Tops on: or how to make the perfect pie."

So, in the name of experimentation, I decided to throw all my suspicions aside and try a "just like the restaurant" recipe for the Sour Cream Apple and Walnut Pie from The Little Pie Co. (a pie shop in Hell's Kitchen).

At the moment, the jury is still out on this one. Hot pie (i.e. right out of the oven) is not good. It never is. And last night I couldn't resist it's enticing smells (I promise they will drive you nuts while you are cooking)...I dove in while it was still hot.

Wrong, I know better.

However, after it spent some time cooling, it was much, much better. Delicious, in fact. And even if you're not a fan of walnuts and sour cream (which describes some of us at this household) I still recommend trying it. The best part was the combination of the bottom crust with the top crumble. I was very happy with how flaky this crust ended up (especially for a butter crust) and with all that brown sugar and butter, how could you go wrong?
However, it must be said that in my personal opinion, it wasn't quite right. 10 apples? 10? Do you see how high that filling is? That's not the only thing either, the apples aren't as creamy or altogether toothsome as I hoped they'd be (but maybe that's because the ratio of apples to sour cream is not right).

If I were to do it again, I would use only 6 to 8 apples. Also, I would increase the amount of brown sugar mixed in with the apples from "a little" (which is too vague) to maybe 3 tablespoons or 1/4 cup. Also, I would like to play with adding a pinch of salt and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon. All I'm saying is, it could use some tweaking.

But maybe that's just me.

And again, at the moment, it is just me. I left some pie in the break room at my office and there have been nothing but compliments coming my way all day.

One 9-inch Butter Crust:
8 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons ice cold water

Combine flour, salt and cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add cold water and use your hands to combine and form a disk. Chill for 30 minutes (or more).

Roll out on a well floured surface until it's about 12-inches wide.

Sour Cream Apple and Walnut Pie
(adapted from Tart's with Tops on: or how to make the perfect pie)

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

(note: I doubled this because I had sooo many apples to cover)
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. Line pie dish with the rolled-out pastry dough. Cut overhang to one inch and pinch with fingers to seal edges.

Toss the apple slices, sugar, and sour cream in a bowl. Mix with your hands until everything is well amalgamated. Pile apples into the pie shell, packing it tightly and mounding it up toward the center.
For the topping, rub together the sugars, small bits of cold butter, syrup, and flour with your hands. When combined, add the walnuts. 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 (like a puzzle). Cook for 20 minutes before turning the temperature down to 350 F and cooking for another 30 to 40 minutes. Check the top layer and if it has darkened too much, cover with a layer of foil and continue cooking until finished.


  1. Dear Kim,

    You are my new hero. My birthday is on Pi Day and I like to celebrate with pie. This pie from the Little Pie Co is prob my fav. Now that it is no longer a train ride away, I was a little disappointed that I would have to celebrate my 30th without it. Thanks to you, there is no need for disappointment. Bravo.

  2. I can't believe the mound on that baby! How did it hold together?! You are a genius!

  3. Kim, you need to try my take on sour cream pear pie. Miss Megan Hall Porter has wanted me to give it to you for awhile, so I guess I"ll make it official.

    You can see it here:

  4. Kim,
    This is without a doubt a terrific pie, and not difficult to make - unless one is challenged by crusts, as I am! (I bought a frozen crust - alas!) Having lived in NYC for 20 years, the last five in Hell's Kitchen, I am a big fan of The Little Pie Co. on W 43rd Street. So much so, that I was often in the shop while they were making this signature pie, and yes - it contained what looked like a huge amount of apples! I didn't know how they made it work, but it always did. I tried your recipe and found it to be quite fabulous, and though I know it's probably difficult to tell from the pictures that you included, it looks as though in the finished-product picture that the apples could have been sliced thinner. I remember at the shop in NYC that the apples were almost paper-thin, which might have made for an easier placement in the shell and possibly a better consistency after being baked, which you commented on.

    In any event, thanks for the wonderful 'taste' reminder of a city that I love so very much. Next time I'm there, I'm sure to head to the West Side and check out the Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie!

  5. Hi Kimberly, what a nice post! I happened to make miss Day-Lewis's recipe and did some research online. Google guided me here. This recipe looks tasty but I have a question: there's no any thickener in the ingredient list. Is that correct according to your experience?
    I am from a country without baking tradition. Taiwan is not familiar to most Americans. And I think it is the most beautiful work which Internet can ever do. It connects people. Nice to visit your lovely blog!