I took a wonderful turn from my usual holiday baking this Christmas, and abandoned the cherry pie for a new friend: Apple Cream Pie. From my Southern Pies book, by Nancie McDermott.
Here's the recipe:
Apple Cream Pie (page 82) from Southern Pies: A Gracious Plenty of Pie Recipes, From Lemon Chess to Chocolate Pecan
Pastry for a 9-inch single crust pie (store bought or homemade)
2 pounds tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
6 tablespoon sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with crust, and then crimp the edges decoratively. Line and partially bake the crust.
To make the filling: peel the apples, and then quarter them length-wise. Cut away the core portion of each apple, and then chop them into large chunks. Put the apples in a medium saucepan with 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the apples are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash them into a fairly smooth puree. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and stir to mix well.
In a small bowl, combine the cream and egg yolks. Use a fork or a whisk to stir them together and combine them until smooth. Add the egg yolk mixture to the apple filling and stir to combine everything evenly and well.
Pour the apple filling into the pie crust, and place the pie on the bottom rack of the oven. Bake until the filling is puffed up, fairly dry, and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pie to a cooling rack while you prepare the meringue.
To make meringue: in a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high, and beat until the egg whites begin to thicken to the texture of cream. Add the sugar two tablespoons at a time, beating well each time, until the meringue is thick, shiny, and able to hold curly, firm peaks. Spread the meringue evenly over the cooked pie filling, sealing the edges to the crust completely, and then piling the egg whites higher in the center of the pie. Use a spoon to form curly peaks all over the meringue. Return the pie to the oven and bake until the meringue is handsomely golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more.
Place the pie on a cooling rack on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and let cool to room temperature.
And this is how it turned out(!!):