Pies and Tarts

PPQ: Southern Comfort Apple Pie

by Shawnda on October 31, 2011

in Apples,Pies and Tarts,Project Pastry Queen

Southern Comfort Apple Pie

That right there – that’s going to be my contribution to Thanksgiving this year.

If you follow any of the other Project Pastry Queen members’ blogs (and you totally should), you’ve probably read high praise about this week’s recipe: Southern Comfort Apple Pie, chosen by Sarah of 20-Something Cupcakes. I will echo the praise: this is the best apple pie I’ve ever eaten.

In short, it’s an apple pie with a streusel topping. But calling it just an apple pie doesn’t do it any justice. The filling consists of apples and a dreamy cinnamon-caramel sauce made with cinnamon, sugar, butter, cream, and Southern Comfort. Yeah, that Southern Comfort. It’s sandwiched between my favorite pie crust recipe and a pecan streusel that’s so good you could eat it cold. But you won’t… because that would be weird.

Southern Comfort Apple Pie

I made the recipe as written, except I didn’t toast the pecans in the streusel (the pie bakes for an hour, I figured the pecans would burn) and I added a generous pinch of sea salt to the filling while it cooked. I used 6 apples that weighed 9-10 oz each before peeling and coring (3 honey crisp, 3 granny smith).

Southern Comfort Apple Pie

An apple pie with a whiskey-caramel-cinnamon filling. Hands-down, the very best apple pie I've ever eaten.


  • 1 pie crust, or make your own (this is my favorite recipe)
  • For the crust:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2/3 cup (11 Tbsp) chilled butter
  • 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water, possibly more
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp) chilled butter
  • For the filling:
  • 6 medium apples (I used 3 honeycrisp and 3 granny smith, weighing 9-10 oz each before peeling and coring)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Southern Comfort (or Bourbon or Jack - I've used it all)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt,
  2. Add the cubed butter (I cut into quarters lengthwise and then make small cubes) to the bowl, toss to coat, and then cut the butter into the flour until the butter cubes are about the size of small peas. You can use a pastry cutter or two knives. I use my fingers - it's a workout!
  3. Add 4 Tbsp of the cold water and stir with a spoon at first, and then use your hands to fold the dough a few times to create one large ball - add the additional water 1 Tbsp at a time until it holds together (your liquid usage will vary).
  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.
  6. In a bowl (or food processor), combine the topping ingredients: both sugars, cinnamon, salt, and flour and mix. Cut in the butter (by hand or machine) until crumbly and stir in the pecans. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  7. Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices.
  8. Melt the butter for the filling in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute teh apples for 5-8 minutes.
  9. Transfer the apples to a plate leaving as much of the liquid behind as possible.
  10. Add the sugar, cinnamon (and a pinch of salt, if using), and whiskey to the skillet, simmering for at least 5 minutes until much of the alcohol burns off.
  11. Add the cream and cook another 5-10 minutes more, until it is thick as pourable caramel.
  12. Return the apples to the skillet and stir to coat.
  13. Roll out the pie dough onto a lightly floured surface and then transfer it to a deep dish pie plate, crimping the edges.
  14. Pour the filling into the pie plate, sprinkle the streusel topping over, and put in the oven on a baking sheet for 50-60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the topping has browned.
  15. Serve warm or room temperature.


Yields: 8 servings

Source: The Pastry Queen

Estimated time: 1 hour 45 minutes



Peach Cobbler

I am super excited about this week’s selection for Project Pastry Queen: Hill Country Peach Cobbler, chosen by Josie. Peach cobbler is one my very favorite desserts, topped with a melty scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.

This is one of my very favorite recipes in the entire cookbook. The browned butter adds a wonderful layer of flavor to the filling and biscuits. Back when I made this the first time, I thought that it was far too sweet. During peach season, ripe peaches are plenty sweet enough to carry a dish like this!

So we:
– Cut the sugar in half so the fantastically sweet peaches could shine through.
– Substituted whole wheat flour for half of the white.
– Whisked 2 Tbsp of bourbon into the butter before putting the batter down.
– Added ~1 tsp of cinnamon to the cobbler batter.
– Instead of using 1/2 cup packed brown sugar for the topping, I just sprinkled 2 Tbsp over top.

Head over to Pink Parsley to get the full recipe. And check out the other members’ take on peach cobbler:
Pink Parsley
Smells Like Home
I Heart Yummy
20something Cupcakes



Blackberry Pie Bars

by Shawnda on May 8, 2011

in Cookies and Bars,Pies and Tarts

Blackberry Pie Bars

This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge is being brought to you by Josie of Pink Parsley: Blackberry Pie Bars. A moist, tangy cobbler/pie/bar dessert/snack/breakfast hybrid that requires no utensils – the perfect dessert to take to a picnic or barbecue. Or the perfect breakfast to eat on the living room floor. I love blackberries. They grew wild along our fence line so we used to pick them all summer long for cobbler. MMMmm. Cobbler.

I had quite a few self-inflicted problems with the recipe this week. You know those times when you plow full-steam-ahead into a recipe that you didn’t completely read? Or… you know, even read at all? You just assume that you know what’s going to happen? And then you find yourself elbow deep in mistakes before you even get to step 3? Yeah…

Blackberry Pie Bars

Hi, my name is Shawnda. And I almost never read a recipe before I get started. It’s a sickness. I’ve lost count at the number of times that I’ve run into an over-night step in a dish when dinner is an hour away. Or like this week, I assumed the recipe was going one direction when really it was headed in another. In a bigger pan. One that could actually hold all the contents of the recipe.

Despite all the missteps I made along the way, they were really tasty. Serving them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was the perfect send off!

This is what we did differently… not all of them were intentional.

      - I cut the recipe in half because who needs that many blackberry pie bars hanging around, singing their sweet siren song from the kitchen counter all day long? We (I) don’t.
      - I cut the sugar by half again.
      - I used 1 lb fresh blackberries because they were on sale and cheaper than frozen.
      - I put the juice of a lemon in the bottom of my measuring cup before adding the sour cream – because blackberry + lemon = love.
      - I added water to the “pie crust” because I assumed we were making a pie crust. We weren’t. So don’t add water.
      - I bonked on the math when I was trying to figure if my 9-inch tart pan would hold the contents of an 8×8 square pan. (It won’t.)
      - When I poured the filling into the tart pan, I realized that I had really bonked on the math. Even worse than I had first thought.
      - I didn’t grease the sides of the tart pan well enough and, it stuck. Like glue. And not just any glue. Completely possessed, demon-spawn glue.

You can see the other Project Pastry Queen members’ take on Blackberry Pie bars:
Pink Parsley
Fake Ginger
20 Something Cupcakes
Smells Like Home

Thanks to Josie for picking such a delicious recipe! Next week, we’re going sticky & gooey with Sticky Finger Bars! Well, I assume they’re sticky & gooey. I haven’t read the recipe. Yet.