Sour Cream Apple Pie: A PA Dutch Recipe

I cannot believe it’s been 7 months since my last blog post.  Yikes.

Not much of a post here, but I did want to get the recipe down quickly for a friend who requested it.  If you love apple pie, I would highly encourage you to try this recipe.  It’s an adaptation of a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe and the sour cream makes it irresistible.  I doubt I will ever make a “plain” apple pie again.  It’s that good.  I added cranberries because husband likes sour, and you could easily add raisins or other berries or just use straight up apples.  I used half Granny Smith and half Hidden Rose apples.  Since we moved to Washington in August, it’s been Appletopia.  I’ve never seen so many varieties and so readily available . . . meaning even on the side of the road.


Here’s the recipe:


I almost always use the a recipe for my pie crusts I adapted from Allison Kave’s  book “First Prize Pies.”  The crust tastes so good sometimes I’ll underbake it and make a double or 1.5 batch to have a thicker chewier crust.  Not normal or traditional, but tasty.  For one double-crust 9 – inch (23 cm) pie, use 225 g unsalted COLD COLD COLD butter , 1/2 cup COLD buttermilk (you can use milk plus 1 Tbsp cider vinegar and let milk sit for half an hour), 340 g all purpose CHILLED flour, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt.

  • Cut your butter up into small 1/2 inch cubes, and return to freezer or fridge.
  • Toss flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt together.  Cut in butter with tool of choice but try not to use hands as they will heat up the butter.  But you can also use a Cuisinart.  Just don’t overmix.  You want small, pea-sized chunks.  Be light and quick.
  • Spread mixture out onto a flat COLD surface (such as a chilled cutting board).  You want a lot of surface area.  Then drizzle half of your liquid over the flour mixture , lightly toss with bench scraper or fork, and repeat with second half of liquid.  When dough will come together with still visible little pieces of butter against the side of a bowl, gather into a ball and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.


You’ll need 5 cups sliced apples.  I don’t peel any more, mostly out of laziness.  But I do core them.  I also added 1/2 cup stewed cranberries that I sweetened with orange zest & juice and about 1/4 cup sugar.  Also 2 Tbsp apple cider, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 Tbsp all purpose flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup half and half or heavy whipping cream, and 2 tsp vanilla extract.

  • First you want to steam the apples in the cider vinegar over medium heat, just for a few minutes.  You may have to do in batches.  You don’t want applesauce, you just want to remove the rawness of the apples and prevent undercooked apples in your pie.  Let them cool after steaming.  I do this because I like bigger chunks of apples instead of thin slices, but I don’t like them undercooked.
  • In a bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt.  Whisk.  Add egg and yolk, sour cream, half and half or cream, and vanilla.  Stir in apples.  Pour mix into chilled pie shell.
  • Bake pie at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 350 degrees for 15 minutes while you make the crumb topping.


  • For crumb topping, combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional), and 6 tablespoons unsalted chilled butter cut into chunks.  Mix together with fork or hands.
  • After the pie has baked 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and spread topping over pie.  Return pie to oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool and serve!img_2399Also submitted in eager anticipation of Fiesta Friday #147.




Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie

“This is the worst pie I’ve ever tasted.”  -my Dad.

How’s that for an enticement?  Do keep in mind that my Dad said this after eating a bite of my mother’s pumpkin pie which is always sublime, and keep in mind that my Dad is a little bit set in his ways.  I’m thinking if he sees a white pie, he’s thinking cheesecake, and that’s not what he got here.

My husband, however, ate his whole piece and proclaimed it delicious.  He is the best Santa’s elf ever!  Always such a good sport, will try any crazy thing I cook up.

This pie is an heirloom Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, with German, Quaker and Mennonite roots.  It is a very simple recipe and, I think, makes for a very delicious pie.  It sort of reminds me of a ricotta cheesecake but with more texture and without the graham crust.  You have to be prepared to taste a little bit of savory/sour, along with the sweet, and I think it’s best eaten on its own and not after a bite of pumpkin pie.

I made this pie for Christmas Eve dinner, and also to bring to Fiesta Friday #100.  Stay tuned because I’ll be bringing more!  Happy Anniversary to everybody who’s been a part of Fiesta Friday and as always I send my gratitude and thanks to Angie for making this all possible.

christmas eve (3 of 5)

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Pie Filling: Adapted from Shockingly Delicious

  • 1.5 cartons cottage cheese (1 16-ounce regular size carton and half of another 16 oz carton)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • ¾-1 cup sugar
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • Grated rind and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Unbaked pie crust (see recipe below)
  • pinch nutmeg, either freshly grated or prepared ground

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Lodge Bread Co.

#”Live Free and Bake.” – Lodge Bread Co.

more lodge (5 of 27)

I was going to title this post “Toast in Los Angeles” but for journalistic integrity I had to change it to because the only place (besides home) I’ve actually been having toast in Los Angeles is the wonderful new Lodge Bread Co. Read More

Donuts in Los Angeles

If you were wondering what I have been doing the past few months, the title of this post covers a lot of ground towards the answer.  In addition to visiting a slew of mostly newly-opened, but also older, donut shops in Los Angeles, I’ve also moved jobs twice which has compromised my commitment to blogging.

Donuts have a special place in my heart, even though I am not a true sweet tooth, but more of a savory tooth.  When I was a child, on Saturdays my mom used to drive a mile or so down Montana Avenue in Santa Monica to Carl’s Bakery, a small bakery that carried very basic donuts.  My donut of choice was the glazed twist.  Occasionally I would get a chocolate glazed, raised donut instead.  We were not cake donut eaters, we stuck with the yeasted, raised donuts.  So donuts signaled a departure from the normal daily breakfast which usually, at our house, involved either pancakes, french toast, waffles, date bread, biscuits, sometimes some bacon, and occasionally cold cereal with milk.  Fruit may have been offered, but I don’t remember much beyond orange juice.  Clearly, not bad, but still donuts were better!

As I got older I developed a fondness for Trader Joe’s bran muffins and into my later teens I was drinking smoothies and shakes for breakfast, with some fruit.  I spent one summer trying very hard to slim down before college by drinking Herbalife shakes (my mom tried them too) until my father, after watching a late night exposé on the company that revealed in his opinion some nefarious practices and possibly quackery, purged our cupboards of all the shakes and supplements and that was the end of that adventure.  But back to donuts.

These days our donut tradition is on Christmas Day.  Nearly everything is closed, but Stan’s Donuts in Westwood, CA, home to the UCLA campus, is not.  And so we go.  Some years my beautiful (and  . . . vegan!) neice Katy is in town and she accompanies us.  Stan has been making donuts for forever, and he’s 86 and still shows up to work every day.  What’s neat about Stan’s is he’s named various donuts after local icons, for example, the late Huell Howser donut is a VERY thickly peanut butter stuffed chocolate bar and the Bruin is glazed cake donut covered in blue and yellow sprinkles.

First let’s take a look at Stan’s and some other classic, iconic Los Angeles donut shops and their creations:

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut

The Famous and Original Maple Bacon Donut from Nickel Diner

Ube Bacon Donut

Ube Bacon Donut from the apparent home of the original “Cronut,” DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica

Stans (1 of 1)

A Few Selections from Stan’s in Westwood

katie at stans (1 of 1)

Katie at Stan’s


Mike at Stan’s


The “Bruin,” Stan’s

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Buttermilk Bar at Primo’s Donuts in West Los Angeles

Now on to some newer donut emporiums:

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Maple Bacon Donut from Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica

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Sugar Raised Donut and Crumb Cake Donut from Cofax


Honey Sea Salt, my favorite, from Cofax

assorted cofax

Coconut Horchata, Lemon Pistachio, Chocolate Cake and I can’t remember what the bottom left is, Cofax


Hibiscus Cake, Cofax

green pantz

See what I did to my pants? Smart!

The best new donut shop in LA in my opinion is Blue Star Donuts.  They use brioche dough and fry in rice bran oil.  Yum.

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

Orange Olive Oil Donut, Blue Star Donuts

Dec. 4 219

Lineup at Blue Star Donuts in Venice, CA

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Dark Double Chocolate Crunch Creme Filled Donut from Blue Star Donuts

Dec. 4 246


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The Duke of Donuts and his Diplomat

We met the “Duke of Donuts” on opening day at Sidecar Donuts in Santa Monica.  He explained that his mission in life is to eat and report on donuts.  I said, “what about biscuits,” and he said, ” . . . eh, peasant food.”

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Country Ham and Egg Donut from Sidecar Donuts

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Buche de Noel Donut with Callebaut Chocolate Glaze, Pistachio and Meringue Button

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Malasada with Huapia Creme from Sidecar Donuts

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Seasonal Gingerbread Cake Donut from Sidecar Donuts

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Cinnamon Crumbcaker, Sidecar Donuts

I’d love to hear from you and your donut opinions.  Are you a cake donut gal?  Raised?  Apple fritter?  What are some of your favorite donut shops where you live?  Have you ever made donuts at home?  Any tips or cautions?

Have a very happy holiday season, y’all!!

In My Kitchen February 2015

It’s been a while since I inventoried what was In My Kitchen, but my recent awesome success with the progeny of Celia@figjamandlimecordial’s sourdough starter Priscilla (Celia is the wonderwoman with a blog that’s a trove of cooking information, recipes and fun and who hosts In My Kitchen monthly), reminded me to pitch in. Read More