It was only two days ago that we celebrated National Pie Day, and maybe you were thinking back on Saturday that, hey, we’ve never highlighted apple pies on this blog before! (We’ve had a lot of different apple products, including the apple fritter from yesterday’s National Fritter Day, but no apple pie!) That’s because it took us all the way to December to get high on apple pie 😀 Apple pies are usually a double-crusted pie–with a pastry crust both on the bottom and on the top, sometimes in a lattice design. You can make an apple pie out of just about any variety of apple, but the best ones to use are semi-sweet “baking” apples, like Granny Smith or Empire, because the acidity of the apples helps give balance to the pie as a whole–especially when you’re adding lots of sugar to the mix! While the apples are an obvious ingredient, the rest of the pie can be flavored to whatever the baker desires. Additives such as brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered ginger, and even cheddar cheese can be found in popular recipes! I’ve never seen a cheesy apple pie before, but I bet it’s delicious–cheesy, sweet apples in a pie, how can you go wrong?? 😀
But one of the best apple pies in New York City uses an unusual ingredient–sour cream. The Little Pie Company, in business over 25 years and making tiny New York bakeries cool before…well, before they were cool, makes a Sour Cream Walnut Apple Pie that’s had everyone raving since the 80s. The sour cream added to the apple mix makes the texture creamier than normal pies, and it helps the pie hold up to slicing–you get a real, structured slice instead of a mess of crust and apple goop on your plate. The sourness gives a perfect balance to the sweet apples used, and it gives you a delicious, sweet treat without being too much sugar on your teeth. Inside the streusel top are crushed walnuts mixed with cinnamon and other baking spices for a full texture and taste experience. It may not be like grandma’s apple pie, but that’s a really good thing: if such taste behemoths like the New York Times and Rachel Ray Magazine have any say, it’s better.
The Little Pie Company
424 W 43rd St (between 10th Ave & 9th Ave)
“It’s not just their homeyness that attracts, but the fusion of the elements: the buttery crispness of the golden crust, the tender apple slices in a sour-cream filling, and the topping of walnuts with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon that sends this dessert into the stratosphere of flavor. It is the perfect pie: tart and sweet, soft and crunchy. One taste is a reminder of why people fell in love with it when the store opened in 1985, and why others have copied it since, though none have ever achieved the same level of deliciousness.”–The New York Times
“Little Pie Company’s sour cream apple walnut is a deliciously rich, impeccably built pie that’s heartfelt and homey, every bite containing the ideal blend of tart, thinly sliced apples and buttery, nutty topping.”–Rachel Ray Magazine
“Wilkerson started his bakery, which seats 17, in his apartment in 1983 and has since turned his pies into a New York staple. While the traditional apple pie is good, the sour cream walnut apple pie — which has thinly sliced seasonal apples and is crunchy, sweet and perfectly textured — is knock-your-socks-off delicious. With a little vinegar in the crust and a little sour cream in the filling, this pie is probably what they were referring to when they coined the phrase, “a little slice of heaven.””–The New York Daily News
“Apples are Granny Smith, hand-sliced in paper thin cuts layered upon one another. Covering the apples is a streusel top that combines halved walnuts with cinnamon and brown sugar. As for the abundance of butter? You’ll have to taste it to believe it. Some pies are good cold; this one is best when warmed until the butter and brown sugar layer right beneath the streusel oozes out just slightly. Even better if it starts bubbling at the edges. Then you’ll know it’s ready to eat. Sour cream gives the apples an extra touch of indulgence; this pie wouldn’t be nearly as good without it.”–Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Well, after gorging myself to the point of nausea, I peaked at the lovely Sour Cream Apple Walnut that I purchased from here and could not resist trying it. BEST APPLE PIE EVER!!!! I could not stop eating it no matter how stuffed I was. The topping is amazing. The crush is flaky and perfect. Even the apple was tolerable for me and that’s saying quite a lot. I’d highly recommend this pie.”–Julie M.
“Growing up, my idea of apple pie was somewhere between the deep fried McDonalds variety and the cloyingly sweet homemade kind filled with yellowish jelly and mushy apple bits. Needless to say, apple pie was never one of my favorite desserts. After trying the sour cream apple pie at Little Pie Company, I will never eat another apple pie again. While sour cream in an apple pie might sound sacriligious or even unappetizing to some, i assure you it only heightens the flavor of the pie. Other points that make this pie unique are that it’s not too sweet; the apples are thinly sliced, layered and still crispy to the bite; and the cinnamon, brown sugar, walnut crumble topping melts in your mouth. It’s the perfect bite!”–Cindy T.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!