Crunchy crust, timeless taste in a Christmas pie


By Jim Bailey
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couldn’t fit any more comfort flavor in this inviting dessert if I tried. I have incorporated the timeless taste of rum-raisin with the forgotten taste of seasonal fruit cake and combined it with feel-good warm apples. One taste of this comfort-food pie and you won’t care what kind of weather is howling outside.

Christmas pie with a crunchy topping.

Streusel topped Christmas pie.


Pastry for single-crust pie
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup spiced rum (your choice)*
1/4 cup apple cider
2 1/2-3 pounds apples, peeled, cored and
wedged thin (about 5-6 cups total)
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup apple cider
Fruitcake streusel topping, recipe below

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Place pie pastry onto a 9-inch pie pan and crimp to fit. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the raisins, spiced rum and apple cider. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, toss the sliced apples, flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a large bowl until all apples are coated with flour. Add the raisins, with the liquid, to the apple mixture and combine well. Transfer to prepared pie shell and evenly — but loosely — sprinkle the Fruitcake Streusel Topping over the top. Place pie onto a large baking sheet and bake 40-45 minutes, or until the pie is bubbling and syrupy and the topping is crisp. Remove to cool slightly before serving. Don’t forget a wedge of extra sharp Cheddar cheese.

Streusel Topping

1 cup flour
1/2 cup dried, chopped fruit
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Mix altogether in a bowl.

*Simply use any dark rum or spice it up a bit with a flavored rum or any type of Malibu rum. If liquor is not your cup of tea,  replace the rum with 1 tablespoon rum extract.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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