Editor’s Note: At Purple Kale Kitchenworks, chef Ronna Welsh puts an innovative spin on cooking classes. Rather than focusing on recipes, she teaches a way of approaching cooking that allows developing home cooks to be more creative and reduce waste while serving up a higher-level of food much more easily (and quickly) than one might expect. Her method is inspired by the restaurant discipline of mise en scene – a kind of mass prepping of ingredients in a way that allows for all kinds of versatility throughout the week. For our Thanksgiving Potluck, Ronna offers her mom’s Walnut Sour Cream Apple Pie.
By Ronna Welsh, chef and owner of Purple Kale Kitchenworks
My mom had several careers as I was growing up. The last and most impressive to me was pastry chef—not the French one that rises at 2 am to bake croissants, but the stoic one who turned her passion for a craft into an important income stream, worked all night in her tiny, illegal home kitchen, cooking pies and cakes to deliver to restaurants’ back doors, all after putting her kids to bed.
As it happens, a favorite of my mom’s desserts isn’t even hers to claim. She and I tried in vain to find its original source—The Frog Commissary in Philadelphia? Joan Spector, the Senator’s wife?–and there are dozens of copycats found on the web. Regardless, she made it an undeniable signature item, one that made her contributions to dinner among the most memorable part of Thanksgiving meals.
Walnut Sour Cream Apple Pie
Note: This is best if made the day before to set.
- 1 (9-inch) deep dish pie crust
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ pounds apples, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup walnut halves and pieces
- Preheat oven 450 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine sour cream, egg, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, and apples. Toss together well. Pile all into a deep dish pan, making sure to scrape the bowl clean. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake another 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the topping and set aside.
- Remove pie from oven and add topping and nuts, completely covering the top of the pie and making sure to bury the nuts under some of the topping mix, so they don’t burn. Bake another 20 minutes.
- Cool at room temperature and store overnight in the refrigerator. Serve cold from the refrigerator or bring to room temperature before serving.
Ronna Welsh’s Park Slope-based Purple Kale Kitchenworks offers regular workshops aimed at developing planning, prep, and improvisational skills for home cooks looking to up their game.
For more on Purple Kale’s innovative approach, take a look at our conversation with Ronna.