“Wow! That’s a huge turkey,” Jeremy flapped his arms as if it was eight feet wide.
Miranda did her best not to laugh.
It wasn’t that big, but it was Dillinger. She’d slept much better these last few nights without his shrieking two a.m. gobbles outside her island window.
She’d made the turkey and stuffing.
Jeremy had brought wine from Oregon and Washington vineyards, “That Cassidy Knowles blog rated these just super high.” And she’d been right; they were very good and Miranda was feeling a little bit loose already.
Holly had claimed “no skills with that cooking stuff” and found an unlikely place called the Australian Pie Company close by SeaTac Airport.
“They specialize in meat pies—no real wonder—they’re from Oz after all. But I got us a whole box of their dessert treats for later.” Peach puffs, cheesecake turtles, some kind of apricot cake. And she’d brought enough for many times the four of them.
Mike had shown a surprising facility in her kitchen and had created appetizers of spinach and artichoke dip on fresh-baked rye crackers, corn pudding, and real cranberry sauce. He’d also manhandled her attempt at gravy into a thick luscious wonder over rough-mashed potatoes with the skin on.
NOTE: We love apple pies in our household. And to find this fun and easy variation, giving us a new apple pie with a taste of Down Under, was a real pleasure.
Active Time: 30 minutes / Cook time: 30 minutes / Total time: 2 hours (1 to cool)
The Pie Filling
- 6 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped (3/4”). (Mound them up in a pie plate until it’s at least double the depth of the plate, they cook down.) [Some folks remove the skins but they’re packed with all kinds of good nutrients.]
- 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1” piece ginger, peeled and minced (but not grated). Gives it a nice zing.
- [to add later] 1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. water
Cook the Filling
- Dump all (except cornstarch) in a large saucepan or heavy casserole.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for ~10 minutes. Stir every couple minutes.
- When apples just start to go soft (they’ll release a bunch of water to let you know, taste one, they’re yummy [don’t overcook]), take off the heat and add the cornstarch mix. Stir well until the liquid thickens into a sauce.
- Set aside to cool (don’t chill). I just dumped it into the pie plate (no need to grease it). It should mound up a little, though not nearly as much as when they were raw.
The Topping (an ANZAC biscuit)
Note: Most of this can be done while the pie filling is simmering, just don’t forget to stop every few minutes to stir.
And no, I have no idea why this is called an Australian-New Zealand Army Corps biscuit. (A fan has since informed me that it was developed because it had no eggs in the crust that might spoil when these biscuits were sent by ship from home to ANZAC troops in Europe during WWI. Thanks, Liz!)
- In a large bowl, mix until everything is coated with the flour:
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. rolled oats (not the 1-minute kind, that’s for making mush, not baking)
- 1/2 c. shredded coconut and 1/2 c. coconut flakes (if you can find both, or just use what comes to hand)
- Make a well in the center of the mixture
- Into a saucepan (it can be the same one):
- 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
- 1/4 c. golden syrup (light corn syrup if you’re stuck with a standard US grocery)
- 1/4 c. treacle (molasses in the US)
- Hold back:
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- Prepare: cover a large dinner plate (as big as the pie plate) with cling film or parchment paper
Cook the Topping
(Tip: don’t start this until the apple mixture is dumped into the pie plate as timing is a thing.)
- Melt the stuff in the saucepan while stirring.
- When it’s all just melted and bubbly, but before it starts getting frothy, toss in the baking soda. That’ll make it froth but good.
- Off the heat, stir quickly, then dump into the well of the dry ingredients.
- Mix with spoon or spatula until homogenous.
- Spread it out on the prepped dinner plate. Work to make the thickness even and the mixture reach the edges all around. (A small palette knife is great for this.)
- Chill for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F / 180° C.
- Throw a cookie sheet on the rack below, just in case it spills, ours didn’t.
- Lift the topping off the dinner plate. (This next step wants a certain panache, just do it!) Flip the topping over to land neatly atop the cooled pie filling.
- With the cling wrap / parchment paper still in place, work around the edges tucking the topping into the edges of the filling so it doesn’t extend over the lip of the pie plate. It should make a nice neat dome.
- Cut and push open a small vent hole in the center for steam to escape.
- Bake 15 minutes.
Serving it up!
- Let cool a little.
- You can kinda get a slice out of it. I think a large spoon for scooping into a bowl might work better.
- In all of our research, every single recipe insisted on serving it with vanilla ice cream. And once we tried it, we absolutely agreed. The edge of the ginger, the zing of the lemon juice, and the treacly sweetness of the biscuit made a perfect combo with the ice cream without overwhelming the apple-iness. Many recipes called for way more sugar, but in each one that caused it to lose the apple flavor.