Pie Streusel and how do you approach bulk cooking?

When you make an apple pie, do you peel all the apples first? Then core them, then slice them, then mix them with the other ingredients? Or are you the kind of cook who peels, cores and slices one apple, then does the same with the second, third, and so on?

That question has come up in my family. My nephew Mitchell said he would do all the prep one apple at a time. His wife, my niece Rachel, said she would do all the peeling, then the coring, etc., etc. 

My daughters Meredith and Gillian and husband Ed were more on the Rachel wave length, though Ed did say he probably would never bake an apple pie.

Then they asked me. But here’s the deal with me. I make 3 or 4 pies at a time. I absolutely would tear the hair out of my head if I had to do it Mitchell style. To me that would be like the kind of punishment teachers gave in the old days when you did something bad and they made you write “I’ll never do THAT again” 100 times. (Even then, some people wrote the entire sentence 100 times. Some wrote the first word 100 times, then the second, and so on).

But the thought of peeling all those apples before I could core and then cut them also sounded really awful, like having to watch an entire season of one TV program before I could watch something else.

I peel a few, then core a few, throw out the scraps, then slice the prepped apples into a huge bowl, then start again with the next batch to peel, then core, then slice.

We all tried to figure out what it all meant. My sister-in-law Eileen, a psychologist, thought maybe I had an attention disorder. 

But it’s just that I make so many pies at a time, the repetition of one task is just too boring. It would make the pie baking process a thankless job rather than something pleasurable, which it actually is because they taste so wonderful and looks so homey and comforting. The house smells pretty good too.

I thought about this today as I began my yearly pie baking. You can see the result of my afternoon’s labor in the photos. I’ve already finished 7 pies and they’re already in the freezer. Notice the photo at the bottom. This pie is a little different because it has a streusel crust. Ed doesn’t like regular pie, only streusel topped pie, so I make a few of these every year too.

I’ve given you my recipe for Apple Pie. Here’s the recipe for the Streusel. Everything else is just the same: bottom crust, apple filling — place the streusel on top and bake just as you would bake the standard kind of pie.

Pie Streusel

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

6 tablespoons butter

Combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon, if used, in a food processor (or bowl). Cut the butter into small chunks and pulse the ingredients for a few seconds until the mixture looks like crumbs (or work the butter in with your fingers). Makes enough for one 9 or 10-inch pie