Source: Oh, how I wish I knew.
You see, many years ago (perhaps not too many, but enough), there was a show named Firefly, and it was a woefully short-lived show. Only 13 episodes. It was a tragedy.
The funny thing is, I didn’t know about Firefly until the follow-up movie Serenity was released and a sushi chef at a fusion restaurant that I frequented suggested that I go and see it. I did. And then I devoured every Firefly scrap I could find. One such scrap was a small collection of recipes inspired by the TV series. And by small, I mean small, maybe 5-6 recipes. All of the recipes came from brief mentions in the show itself. This particular recipe references an episode in which one character uses his windfall to buy a crate of apples to share with his fellow crewmates, a rare and expensive treat for a space-going group of people. What else would you do with an overabundance of apples but make some apple pie?
This was a time period in which I was just discovering that cooking could be enjoyable. I was still a novice in the kitchen, still hesitant to try new and unusual things. I doubt any of those recipes were truly too strange to try, but I can’t say for sure because I don’t remember any of them. Except for this one.
Well, to be completely honest, I only remember the recipe because I wrote it down and shared it in a family cookbook. I’m not even sure if I have the name of the recipe right. I think I do, because it’s what I’ve always called it, but it’s possible that I’ve misremembered it over the years. I first made this pie in 2005/2006. I have the recipe, but I don’t have the original page that I found it on. I’ve looked for it, because the internet never forgets, but I still haven’t found it. Now that I’m not a novice cook anymore, I wonder about those other recipes.
Because I LOVE Firefly/Serenity. I don’t tend to geek out too much, but there are two things that bring out the rabid geek in me: Firefly and Mystery Science Theater 3000. Combining them with my love of cooking isn’t easy to do, so I cherish this one recipe.
It helps that this pie is absolutely delicious.
I was not a big fan of apple pies before I found this recipe. I didn’t realize that apple pies did not have to be double-crusted. I didn’t know about crumble toppings. Making a double-crust apple pie seemed like far more work than I was capable of at the time. I was a newbie, and making an apple pie – a pie of any sort, really – seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. But this is a simple recipe, and I thought I could do it.
And I did do it. And it was delicious. I love it. I still don’t make apple pies very often, but this is my go-to apple pie recipe. Nothing beats it, for me anyway.
Apple slices piled up on apple slices. A thickened simple syrup turned deep brown by ground cinnamon. A soft crumble topping with just enough sweetness. It’s a simple pie that satisfies any apple pie craving I’ve ever had. It’s also very simple to make, especially if you use a storebought pie crust.
I don’t often share recipes on my blog because I don’t develop my own. I take other people’s genius and see what I can do with it. But because I legitimately cannot find a link for this recipe, I’m going to post it here, because I don’t think it’s fair to talk about how awesome something is and then not provide a way to make it happen for people who might be interested in it.
So, here you go.
Sweet Serenity Apple Pie
for the pie:
1 9″ pie shell, pre-cooked
2-3 apples of your choice (I usually use Gala because that’s what I have)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
for the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, softened
Peel, core, and slice the apples thinly. Place in the pie shell, layering until all slices are used and the shell is full.
Combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and allow to cook down until thick, between 5-10 minutes. Pour evenly over the apples.
For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and butter until crumbly. I just use my fingers to rub in the butter and get the consistency I want. It should be clumpy and not too sticky. Cover the pie with pieces of the crumb mixture. It will be a bit patchy, but that’s okay. It looks really nice with glimpses of the reddish filling peeking through the browned topping.
Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is just lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely. The pie is just fine on its own, but it would also be terrific with some vanilla ice cream or slightly sweetened whipped cream.