Of my own early food memories, perhaps the one linked most vividly with Hollywood is of French apple pie. My father loved this dessert, and when he was working under contract at 20th Century-Fox, a waitress in the commissary (once known rather grandly as the Café de Paris) always used to save a piece for him. I called the Fox commissary not long ago to inquire if by any chance they might still have the recipe from the 1950s. “Oh, no, we wouldn’t have that,” replied the manager’s assistant. “Gee, the chef that made that is probably dead by now. Now all of our stuff comes in already made.” And people wonder why Hollywood isn’t what it used to be! In any case, in the absence of the old Fox recipe for this dessert—which of course is no more French than English muffins are English—I made one up, trying to capture as closely as possible (and as closely as I could remember) the character of the original.
Grind or crush 23 graham crackers into fine crumbs. Place about ⅔ of the butter in a mixing bowl and cream it with a whisk, then slowly add graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly blended. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie pan with a bit more of the butter, then press crumbs evenly against the sides and bottom of the pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
While crust is chilling,
Remove apple mixture from oven and cool to room temperature, then fill pie crust with it, tamping it down evenly.
Crush the remaining graham crackers more coarsely than for the crust and mix them with the remaining butter, the brown sugar, and the bread crumbs. Spread this mixture carefully over the top of the apple mixture, and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
© 1992 Colman Andrews. All rights reserved.