1 recipe Sugar Tart Crust (see below), chilled and ready to roll out
9 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples (about 10 or 11 apples); use a mixture of Cortland, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith
2/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sour cream (not low-fat)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose fl our
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the crust:
Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10-inch round. Use the bottom of a 9 x 3-inch round springform pan as a guide and cut out a 9-inch circle. Assemble the pan with the sides locked into place, and coat the inside with nonstick spray. Transfer the circle of crust to the bottom of the pan. Roll out the remaining dough and cut 2 long strips, each one 17 x 2 inches. Take one strip and fit it into the pan along the side; have the bottom slightly curve in over the bottom crust. Press the lower edge of the strip against the bottom crust to seal. Brush the short, vertical edges of the side strip with water and press the second strip into place, trimming to fit with about ½ inch of overlap. Press the overlapping edges well to seal. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
For the filling:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss together the apple slices and sugar in a large sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring gently, taking care not to crush the fruit pieces. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until the mixture begins to exude juices and the apples soften just a tiny bit. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, then sprinkle the flour over, and toss gently to coat.
1 Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the sour cream, zest, and vanilla. Fold into the fruit mixture.
2 Remove the crust from the refrigerator and scrape the filling into the crust. It will come right up to the top of the crust. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the streusel.
For the streusel:
Combine all the ingredients until well blended.
1 After the pie has baked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 375°F. Squeeze the streusel between your fingers and palms to create clumps ranging in size from small to large grapes and scatter all over the top of the pie. There is a lot of streusel; use it all, gently mounding it in the center.
2 Return the pie to the oven and bake for 15 minutes more. Turn the heat down to 350°F and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until the streusel is evenly browned and the pie feels firm when gently pressed. If you can see any filling bubbling around the edges, that is a good sign of doneness, but most likely it will be completely covered with streusel.
3 Cool the pan on a rack to allow the fi lling to thicken and set. Serve at room temperature. Store at room temperature for up 1 day.
Tip:Cardamom has a flavor that dominates in recipes where it is used; it typically does not fade to the background in a dish. For an alternative flavor, try this recipe with cinnamon in its place, and leave the lemon zest out of both the filling and crust. You will have a more typical apple-cinnamon flavor profile, which, while more expected, is equally welcomed.
Sugar Tart Crust
Makes one 10-inch tart crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into small pieces
5 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 Coat a 10-inch loose-bottomed fluted tart pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
2 In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the flat paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat on medium-high speed until lightened and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk until well combined. Add the flour and pulse the mixer on and off until it begins to combine, and then run the mixer on medium-low speed just until the dough begins to form. Scrape out onto plastic wrap and use the wrap to help press the dough into a flat disk shape. Wrap the dough thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
3 Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round and fit into the pan, pressing into corners and trimming the top. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for 15 minutes while the oven preheats. At this point, you can double-wrap the tart shell very well in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking, or freeze for up to 1 week.
4 Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. For a partially baked tart shell, bake directly on the oven rack for 8 to 12 minutes, or until dry to the touch and beginning to color around the edges. For a fully baked tart shell, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until it is very light golden brown. If crust puffs up during baking, gently press back down with the back of a fork. Cool the tart pan set on a rack. Fill and proceed as directed in recipes.