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Don’t Shoot the Food – Captain Apple Pie Edition

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Captain America, he throws his shield! He’s a shield throwing guy who does, uh, stuff! Stuff with his shieeeeeeld!

That’s a little known diddy about Captain America, penned by yours truly. I know I’ve been talking up a lot of the Captain, but what can I say? I liked the movie and liked the game and I have his shield tattooed on my forearm, so I feel somewhat obligated. Keeping with the theme, I figured I’d dust off my favorite recipe for that paragon of Americanism, the apple pie.

“What the hell?”, you may say. “Where am I going to find good apples in the summer?”, you say. Well, I’m sorry that Key Lime Pie got passed over on National Pie Identity Day but keep in mind that a good apple pie recipe is like a good electrician or mechanic or tax attorney. You may not need one now, but when the time comes that you do need one, you’ll be happy you have one. Besides, I didn’t invent culinary jingoism, I’m just the messenger of it.

Pie Avengers, assemble!

I have no idea where this recipe came from. Some magazine read while we lived in Virginia. One day Linda came to me with the recipe and demanded I make the pie. I love my wife and I live to make her happy, plus, I like pie, so when my wife demands I make a pie, well, I make it. Plus, she didn’t so much demand it as ask nicely, but that doesn’t make for as good of a story. This pie recipe is different in that it foregoes a top crust, or lattice, instead using a combination of brown sugar crumbles and cranberries. I know, I know, cranberries in summer, I’m making your life a living hell. Any way, the first time I made this pie, it turned out glorious. The second time, I either made the crumbles wrong or worked them too much in my hands so the butter never got time to set but they ended up melting instead of browning and the pie ended up with a lake of melted butter atop it. I’m a huge fan of melted butter but not as a pie topping. You’ve been warned. Work your crumbles excessively at your peril.

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Cranberry Apple Crumb Pie
1. 7 tart apples – I like to use a combination of granny smith and macintosh apples, but use whatever you want.
2. 1 1/4 cups sugar plus 2 additional Tbl if desired
3. 1 tsp cinnamon
4. 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
5. 1 1/8 cup flour
6. 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
7. 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
8. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts – we’re not big fans of nuts in our pies, so we skip them. Do what you want per your own nut preferences.
9. 1 tsp tangerine or orange zest, chopped or grated
10. 1 9 inch unbaked pie shell

Cooking Steps
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Peel, core and slice the apples into thin slices. I use one of those counter mounted apple peelers. My wife got me one for Christmas and it’s an amazing machine.
3. Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with the cinnamon and toss the apples in the mixture. Eat an apple slice. Go ahead, eat one. If it’s too tart, add the additional 2 Tbl of sugar, if it’s too bland, add some lemon juice. If it’s just right, eat another to be sure.
4. Cut the butter into small pieces and combine it with the flour and remaining 3/4 cup sugar using either a food processor or one of those pastry blender thing-a-mabobs..
5. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and use your fingers to make a whole bunch of 3/4 inch crumbs. Once you have enough crumbs, add the cranberries, nuts and citrus zest. I like to put the crumbs back in the fridge so that they have time to set, but that may be unnecessary. See butter, lake of.
6. Mound the apples in the pie shell so that they center is higher than the edges. Cover the apples generously with the crumb mixture, tucking the crumbs in all of the nooks and crannies. When I make this pie, I put so many crumbles on it that you can’t tell it’s an apple pie. That’s just me though. I do so love my crumbles.
7. Bake the pie for 25 minutes and then check it. If the crumbles are brown, cover the pie with a piece of loose foil. Bake for another 35 minutes and then let it cool completely before serving.

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Aside from the apple peeling, this is a pretty simple pie so there’s no reason not to make it, apple pie season or not. Besides, if Captain America can be bothered to infiltrate Nazi Germany and stem the tide of fascism, then you can be bothered to make a pie in the summer.

Still hungry? Check out the Don’t Shoot the Food archive.


Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

5 thoughts to “Don’t Shoot the Food – Captain Apple Pie Edition”

  1. As I say frequently, I like baking pies, not baking crusts. Besides, it all tastes the same to me and I’m liable to screw the crust up from jump.

  2. This pie is a traitor to the United States. Those RED cranberries represent the infiltration of fifth column Communist cells jeopardizing the good ol’ USA. And what kind of godless Marxist would use a “unbaked pie shell” created by A MACHINE rather than dough hand-rolled out by an AMERICAN grandmother?

    And where the hell are the Ritz Crackers?

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