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The Not-Swedish, Apple, Not-Pie

Not Really Apple Pie
(Not Really) Swedish Apple Pie
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You can find several versions of a “Swedish Apple Pie” on the internet. Most of them look like fruit crumbles, rather than pie. This one has no bottom crust, but has a top crust that resembles a large cookie rather than pie crust. The result is a very easy, very delicious, but very ugly “pie.”

A caveat–I do not have Swedish ancestors, unless you count some stray Vikings who attacked and maybe bedded my Scottish or English distant ancestors. I do have a Swedish sister-in-law, and through her some Swedish acquaintances.

My Swedish friend tells me that she has not seen this “Swedish Apple Pie” in Sweden. They are more likely, she says, to make a dessert with oats that looks like a crumble.

Even though I constantly remind you of my Perfect Pie Crust recipe, sometimes there is a reason to use something different.

But sometimes taste wins out over authenticity, ya know? It took my husband and I about 36 hours to devour this delicious dessert–call it what you will.

In the recipe, I have included a link to the web source of the recipe that I adapted. There you can also find the recipe for traditional Swedish vanilla cream sauce, which really is Swedish, and might be served on this dessert if this were a Swedish dessert.

Not Really Apple Pie
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(Not) Swedish-Apple-(Not) Pie

An easy, delicious, ugly "pie" with a cookie crust.
Course Dessert
Keyword apple, fruit, pie
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 8 minutes
Servings -6 slices
Author Vera Marie Badertscher

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 4-6 Cups apples peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans Optional
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a pie plate and set aside.
  • Mix the 3 Tablespoons of sugar and spices and pour over sliced apples. Stir well.
  • Spread apples in pie plate. Level them out.
  • Whisk together flour, the one cup of sugar, salt and spices.
  • Stir in melted butter. Add lightly beaten egg and stir until blended.
  • Pour the crust mixture over the apples and spread evenly, keeping 1/8-1/4 inch away from edge. Scatter nuts on top.
  • Place pie plate on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake pie for one hour, or until crust is a golden brown, like a finished sugar cookie. (It took an extra 15 minutes in my oven.)
  • When done, cool on cooling rack. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or ice cream if you wish.

Notes

While my Swedish friend says this is not really the way that the dessert is made in Sweden–where it is more of a crumble made with oatmeal– this dessert is delicious.  If you want to make it a bit more Swedish, you can use the traditional Swedish topping, Vanilla Cream Sauce.  You can find the recipe for Vanilla Sauce where I got the basic recipe for this “pie” at That’s Some Good Cooking.
I added nuts to the recipe because I thought it would up the flavor, and also perhaps improve the looks a bit. Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the original–without nuts.
Note for the Minority of Us Who Do Not Have Microwave Ovens
Microwaves are great for melting butter, but I do not have a microwave oven (and don’t miss it).  I have discovered an easy way to melt butter  if you have an oven that is under the range of your stove.  I turn on the oven, and then put the butter in a small pyrex dish or spare measuring cup on the top of the stove.  The butter melts from the oven heat while I am setting out ingredients, greasing the pan, peeling the apples, etc.  Of course this doesn’t work if you have a built-in wall oven. You can also put the dish with butter in the oven, but keep a close eye so it doesn’t start boiling and spattering!  

Acorn Squash Pudding and Pie

acorn squash pudding

Acorn squash pudding serving with whipped cream.

Tired of Pumpkin Everything?

Thanksgiving is coming at us fast.  Along with all the traditional recipes, I like to find something new every year.  Here’s a dessert recipe that gives pumpkin a rest. And really, aren’t you about ready to scream if you hear pumpkin-flavored anything one more time?

Pssst!  Don’t tell the traditionalist, but I liked it BETTER than the very similar pumpkin dessert.

I love acorn squash. Spit them, take the seeds out, put honey and butter and nutmeg in the center–and maybe some sliced apples or applesauce, and bake them in a dish with some water in the bottom. But how about an acorn squash dessert?

Unfortunately, my husband does not share my appreciation of this long-lasting winter squash.  When I serve him a wedge of acorn squash, he scoops out a shallow spoonful, but leaves a good 1/2 inch in the shell.

And he does not have seconds.

LEFTOVERS

So if I bake acorn squash, I’m going to have leftovers.  And you know my opinion of leftovers, don’t you?  MAKE SOMETHING WITH THEM.

Which led to a quest for a good recipe for acorn squash pudding.  Along the way, I found the site, Historic Foodie, and this article on how early Americans used squash. Another article at the same site lists  all the squashes common in various parts of the country in the 17th and 18th century. (Acorn was known, but not common.)

Most recipe sites wanted me to make a pie out of the squash, but I was feeling lazy and just wanted to baked a pudding.  However, when I found a recipe for a streusel-topped acorn squash pie, I knew I had to try it — minus the pie crust. You can also just pour it into a pre-baked pie shell for a substitute for pumpkin pie. Simple and absolutely DELICIOUS!

My husband, the acorn-squash avoider is eating it up!

squash pudding

Acorn squash pudding in deep casserole

Note: I am switching to a new recipe  display, so bear with me as I experiment.  I welcome all comments on how the recipes look, or how to make them more useful for you,

squash pudding
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Acorn Squash Pudding

When you are tired of pumpkin everything, make a streusel-topped pudding or a pie filling from acorn squash.
Course Dessert
Keyword pudding
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp spices See Note
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk

Streusel Topping

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter chilled
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Scoop squash out of shell and remove seeds. Mash or process in food processor.
  • Mix all ingredients in large bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Pour into 7" wide, deep casserole and bake one-half hour at 350 degrees. (To ensure even cooking, put casserole in larger shallow pan with an inch of water.)

Streusel Topping

  • Mix flour and sugar. Cut butter in small pieces.  Work butter into flour/sugar mixture with your fingers.  When you have small crumbs, stir in nuts. Set aside until the first half-hour baking is finished.
  • After half hour, pull casserole out of oven and sprinkle the streusel on top of the pudding. Put casserole back and bake an additional half hour--or until knife inserted in center comes out almost clean. (With smaller diameter casserole, the streusel will be deep and the baking will take longer than for a shallow dish or in a pie.)

Notes

SPICES:  You can use pumpkin pie spices or blend cinnamon and nutmeg.  I used a lebkuchengewuerz spice recipe left over from making the German Christmas cookies.
PIE:  To use this recipe in a pie, put pudding into a pre-baked pie shell. Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees, then add streusel and bake another 25 minutes, tenting the top with foil if necessary to keep it from getting too brown.

A Scrumptious Sweet Cherry Pie Recipe

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

A very young Burl Ives in Disney movie So Dear To My Heart sings “Billie Boy.”

Can she bake a cherry pie?  Finally, I can answer yes.  After all, I started baking and cooking when I was a young girl, so after 70 years in the kitchen, you’d think I’d learn something.  It took a combination of lessons to make this winning pie.

For many years, a cherry pie–the kind my mother always made to celebrate Washington’s birthday– meant opening a can of cherry pie filling and dumping it into a pie pan lined with pastry, then covering it with another layer of pastry.  I’m sure my grandmother and her mother and grandmother made use of the red sour cherries that grew in profusion in Holmes County, Ohio, but mother was a working woman and although she always made her pie crust from scratch, she took the modern canned short cut for the filling.

I hasten to say that I don’t usually brag on myself, as “it ain’t fittin’.” But my latest version of fresh cherry pie from scratch  definitely qualifies as the perfect pie.

Cherry pie

Cherry pie with streusel

Although I was the only one in the kitchen, I definitely did not do it all by myself–as you will see.

The Pie Crust

Of course, I use the “Perfect Pie Crust” Recipe. This post explains how many people helped me (some posthumously) to make a pie crust for the cherry pie. My Grandmother and Grandfather Anderson, my mother, and my brother’s mother-in-law all played a part.

Then, from somewhere, probably the King Arthur Flour website, I learned that putting a single crust in the refrigerator before filling and baking will help prevent shrinkage. I hesitate to tell you how many single crusts I have tossed because they wound up only covering part of the pan.

The Topping

From the Mennonite cookbook from Kidron Ohio–where my husband’s ancestors settled– I developed a love of streusel-topped desserts, so a twist on the normal streusel replaces the top crust of this pie. My thanks to Chef John at All Recipes for the suggestion of putting almonds in the topping.  I used flaked instead of slivered, and I liked the texture.  I also changed a few other things in his recipe, so compare the two before you decide which suits you.

Cherry pie served

Pie and served piece

Although brown sugar is suggested in Chef John’s recipe, and is standard in the Mennonite cookbook for streusel, I thought it might not be the best flavor fit in a sweet cherry pie, so I used white sugar. I believe that is the better choice.

The Filling

The big black Bing cherries that we in the West get from Washington State and Oregon State in mid summer, need very little sugar in comparison to the more standard sour pie cherries.  So taste your cherries and decide. There is so much flavor in this recipe, that I suggest using less sugar than you think you need, so that nothing distracts from the cherry flavor.

The extra flavor kick?  In comparing various recipes on line, I discovered this genius idea on The Spruce Eats site–add candied or crystallized ginger to your cherry pie filling. Just as almonds are supremely compatible with cherries, so is ginger.

  You may not have crystallized ginger on your shelf, but let me encourage you to try it out.  I keep it on hand to munch like candy, particularly when my stomach feels a little upset. Googling crystallized ginger will give you dozens and dozens of articles, some with different opinions, but to boil it down, there are some proven medical benefits to ginger. However, crystallized, or candied ginger does have a high amount of sugar, so you have to keep that in mind.  Substituting it for candy you might otherwise eat could help. Pigging out on candied ginger could cause problems.

The Spruce Eats site differs from other recipes in that they use instant tapioca instead of cornstarch as a thickener.  I already am sold on instant tapioca as a thickener, thanks to that Mennonite cookbook, and my late mother-in-law.  To me, cornstarch has a bit of taste that interferes with the main ingredients, and I just don’t like the texture.

And when that luscious cherry pie is baked–be sure to serve it with vanilla ice cream.

I hope that when Billie comes to call, you will be able to tell him “Yes, I can bake a cherry pie, quicker than a cat can wink its eye.” (Or in the version I learned, “in the twinkling of an eye.”)

The Perfect Cherry Pie

Fresh Sweet Cherry Pie With Streusel Topping

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 15 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold

Ingredients

Pie Crust

  • Single pie crust (Unbaked)

Topping

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup almonds (Flaked or slivered)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter (One stick/8 Tablespoons)

Filling

  • 2lb sweet cherries, pitted (About 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (Cut in small pieces)

Filling (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons candied/crystallized ginger (Finely chopped)

Fillling

  • 1/2 juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions

1. Make pie crust, or take from refrigerator. Roll out a single crust and fit it in 9" pan. Put pan with unbaked dough back in refrigerator until ready to fill.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil to put pie pan on when you bake the pie, and set aside.
3. Mix the Topping dry ingredients with a spoon. Stir in the vanilla. Add the pieces of butter and work in with your fingers until the topping resembles soft dough. Refrigerate.
4. Mix the tapioca, sugar and ginger and pour over cherries in large bowl. Pour over that the juice of 1/2 lemon, and stir in gently. Let this sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
5. Remove unbaked pie shell from refrigerator. Pour in cherries, scraping an accumulated juices from the bowl, spread evenly across crust.
6. Dot with small pieces of butter.
7. Crumble the topping with your fingers and scatter evenly across the top of the cherries, leaving holes in the topping for juices to rise.
8. Put pie on the aluminum lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until nicely browned.