Christmas in New Mexico has many traditions, many of which I still honor.  This week I’m focusing on what might be on the menu in many New Mexican homes.  While this Apple Green Chile Pie isn’t something I’ve had before it tastes like something that might be served after a bowl of Posole and Tamales on Christmas eve.  I saw this pie made on the Cooking Channel awhile back from a pie shop in the San Francisco area and I was intrigued.  It sounded like something that would be served in New Mexico, not San Francisco, but no matter where it originated it was something I wanted a taste of.  This pie originally had a walnut streusel but I decided to go with pine nuts.  I grew up on pine nuts (most times still in the shell) which we called Pinon nuts grown from Pinon trees which also happens to be the state tree of New Mexico.  This pie was the most intriguing  pie I’ve ever made.  The first bite was “interesting”, and each bite afterward was like “hey, this is pretty good”.   As I took the last bite I decided I really liked it.

I made a pie crust from flour, salt, chilled butter, cheddar cheese and ice cold water.

The easiest way to make this crust is to use a food processor.  Blend the flour and salt together.

Add the chilled butter.

Pulse until the mixture if fine and crumbly.

Add the grated cheese and pulse a couple times to mix well.

Begin adding ice water a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition.

Test the dough by pinching with your fingers.  If it holds together it’s ready, if crumbly, add an additional tablespoon of water.

I like to empty the contents into a zip lock bag.  Or you could form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.

Squeeze the contents to the bottom of the bag forming a ball.

Then flatten into a disk shape.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

Next, I’m going to make the pine nut streusel.  Take 1/2 cup of pine nuts and lay single file on a baking dish lined with aluminum foil.  Toast in a toaster oven for 5 minutes.

Slightly toasted and brown.  That will enhance the flavors.

Run a knife through the pine nuts to give them a rough chop.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.

Cut in 4 tablespoons of butter with a pastry blender until you have a crumbly mixture.

Add in the pine nuts and toss with the streusel topping.  Cover and set in the refrigerator until time to use.

The pie filling includes 5 cups of apples (I used Fuji), roasted chopped green chile, fresh lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and cornstarch.  I used Bueno frozen green chile for this pie, partly because of the color and texture, also their chile is grown in NM.  I pick up a few containers each year when we go back home.

If you have an apple peeler, it makes for quick work peeling and slicing.

All done!

Run a knife through the rings to make small apple slices.  Toss in the green chile and fresh lemon juice.

Gently mix everything together.

Combine the sugars, spices and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the apple mixture.

Mix together and set aside.

Time to pull out the refrigerated dough.  Set the dough on a floured surface and let sit a few minutes to rest.  It will make it easier to roll and form if it has just a couple minutes to sit at room temperature.

I’m still a novice at pie dough but for me it’s easiest to roll slowly back and forth, then turn the dough roll again.  Keep the surface lightly floured and your rolling pin also.

You want the dough large enough to overlay the pie plate.

Pinch the edges together and cut off the excess dough with a knife.

Not bad . . . for me that is!

Use a slotted spoon to scoop the filling into the pie shell.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the juice from the bottom of the bowl over top of the filling.

Almost done, just one more thing.

Time to add the streusel topping.

Place in a 400 degree oven and bake 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 375 and bake an additional 30 – 40 minutes.  About 20- 25 minutes in I placed a sheet of aluminum foil over the top so that the edges wouldn’t become too brown.

While the pie is in the oven I’m going to make a red chile and honey drizzle to go over the pie.

I ground some dried NM red chile and added a tablespoon to 8 ounces of honey.

The pie is ready and set out on a cooling rack.  Let cool before cutting in to it.

Serve with a drizzle of red chile honey over top and enjoy.

Apple Green Chile Pie with Pine Nut Streusel (adapted from segment on Cooking Channel and recipe reprint from NY Times)

For The Crust:
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Unsalted Butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
5 tablespoons Ice Water, or more as needed

For the Filling:

5 cups Tart Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup Green Chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Cornstarch

For the Topping:

1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Pine Nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Red Chile Honey Drizzle:

1 (8 ounce) jar Honey
1 tablespoon ground New Mexico Red Chile

Make the crust; In a food processor combine flour and salt.  Add butter and pulse until the mixture becomes fine and crumbly.  Add in the grated cheese and pulse a couple times to distribute.  Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition.  Test the dough to see if it will pinch together; if still crumbly, add a little more water until it will hold together.  Transfer dough to a gallon size zip lock bag and squeeze dough into a ball inside the bag.  Flatten into a disc and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to 3 days.

Make the streusel topping; In a small bowl, mix together flour and brown sugar.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Toss in pine nuts.  Cover and set aside or refrigerate.

Make the pie filling;  Peel, core and slice apples.  In a large bowl, combine apples, diced green chile and fresh lemon juice.  In another bowl combine sugars, spices and cornstarch together.  Add to apples and chiles, tossing until thoroughly coated.

Bake the pie;  Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop filling into pie crust and drizzle 2 tablespoon of juice from the bottom of the bowl.  Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over pie filling.  Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees.  Bake an additional 30 – 40 minutes or until filling bubbles at edges and crust is brown.  Note** If crust becomes brown too quickly set a sheet of aluminum foil over top of the pie to shelter the crust.  Serve warm with a drizzle of NM Red Chile Honey.

Red Chile Honey; Mix ground NM Red Chile into an 8 ounce jar of honey.  Drizzle over pie.  Store at room temperature.