I 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 to this comfort-food pie and you won’t care what kind of weather is howling outside.

Crunch 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

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.

* You can do this simply with any dark rum or spice it up a bit with your choice of flavored rum or any type of Malibu rum you would enjoy. If liquor is not your cup of tea, opt to replace the rum with 1 tablespoon rum extract for a great flavor.

Chef Jim Baley -- The Yankee Chef -- is a noted food columnist, cookbook author and the foremost New England Food Historian. He is a third generation chef and historian and lives in Maine with his wife and four children. He welcomes feedback at theyankeechef@aol.com.