14 May 2010

Apple Pie






Apple pie has always been one of my favorite desserts. My earliest food memory is of being in the kitchen watching my Southern grandmother make one when I was not yet three. I found it fascinating that she could peel the apples in one continuous spiral. She served her apple pie with vanilla ice cream and a cup of coffee. Tea was the beverage of choice of my English grandmother, and her apple pies were more likely to have a side of custard sauce or whipped cream. But I don't recall ever seeing her follow that other (unappealing to me) English tradition of Cheshire or Cheddar cheese with apple pie.

Of course, at this time of year, apple pie is only tiding me over until peach season. Once the peaches start coming in, peach pie with a golden lattice crust will be on the menu at least once a week. I love eating with the seasons. Buying only in-season produce grown as close to where we live as possible not only gives us the pleasure of anticipation, it supports our local farmers. And both apples and peaches are on the Top 12 list of fruits and vegetables most important to buy organic because of having the highest levels of pesticide residue in the conventionally grown.

I'll post the recipe for my organic, all-butter pie crust another time. And here's a link to an interview of me by Australian writer Grant Soosalu, Food for Thought: Delightful Repasts.


Apple Pie

(Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings)

Pastry for double-crust pie
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (3 cups peeled and thinly sliced)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds Golden Delicious apples (3 cups peeled and thinly sliced)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Spray a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray and line with pastry; cover with parchment and place in the refrigerator. Roll out pastry for top crust on parchment; place on a baking sheet, cover with parchment and place in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 425.

Peel and quarter apples, cut away cores and cut (the short way) 1/4-inch-thick slices into a large bowl (I use a 2-quart glass measure). Add lemon juice and toss gently. You can use all Granny Smiths, but I think the combination of the crisp, juicy, tart Granny Smith with the sweeter Golden Delicious adds a certain complexity to the pie and allows you to use less sugar.

In small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt; add to apples and mix well. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate and put top crust in place; seal and crimp edge; prick top with fork, marking eight wedges, to vent. Place a foil-lined baking tray on the bottom shelf (I usually have a used piece of foil I'd like to get another use out of before recycling) to catch any drips from the pie on the shelf above.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 3 hours before serving.

10 comments:

James Hickey Photography said...

With your choice of tea or coffee, this is one of the tastiest pies I've had. And it looks so 'authentic' - like the pie cooling at the window sill with the little bird feet holes over the top. The only room for improvement...and calories...is to add homemade schlag (German for whipped cream).

Can we say County Fair contender?

Jean said...

Thank you, James, I'm glad you liked it! [James is the wonderful photographer who gave me a crash course in food photography last week. Now, if I can only remember what I learned...] And, yes, some schlag goes well with it. County fair, hmmm, I've never done that...

Dori said...

I love your memories of your grandmother making apple pie. Those memories are the best aren't they? :) I'm going to have to try your recipe. I love apple pie too. Have a great weekend! :)

Jean said...

My grandmothers were the best! So different, and yet they got along so well when they got together. I hope you will try my recipe and let me know how you liked it.

Thomas Sullivan said...

Well, golleee, that looks/sounds good enough to eat! Matter of fact, when you parse a recipe and finesse it, I always feel like I have tasted the result. The promise of an all-butter pie crust is going to give me insomnia. Hope it is gloop friendly (translation: just love that slurried sugar layer at the bottom where the pie filling commits miscegenation with the pie crust).

-- Sully

Jean said...

Glad you like it. Hope you'll find the all-butter crust "gloop friendly." It should go up in a couple of weeks (I don't know, I've been getting so many "requests" lately, I may have to start posting more frequently!).

Grant Soosalu said...

The apple pie sounds delicious! I do looooove apple pie, and apricot pie is another top fave. We make an almond meal based short crust pastry for our apple pies and it's the most delicious pastry that compliments wonderfully the flavor of the apples.

Thanks for the info and link in your post about the 'dirty dozen'. Pesticides are NOT life enhancing and as consumers we just never know what chemicals we are ingesting with those delicious looking 'healthy' foods. I always try to eat organic, but living in the country it's not always possible to buy organic. So knowing what foods are the ones to avoid because of likely pesticide contamination is really life enhancing.

all the best, Grant

Jean said...

I love grinding raw nuts to use in pastry crusts. The almond would go well with the apricot as well as the apple, I would imagine. Mmmm ... I should be able to get my hands on some local organic apricots in a couple of months. Thanks for commenting!

Marc Frederic said...

Hi Jean, Your apple pie recipe looks like one for my collection as it has a bit more refinery than mine. I just adore apple pie of any description and I have to have custard with mine. I peel my apples too in a continuous twirl, must be something to do with the Lancashire peeler I use. Bobbing the apples in my bacon brine for a short while stops them from discolouring whilst I get the pastry made!

Jean said...

Thanks, Marc! I was going to make brownies today, but now you've talked me into apple pie! It IS the perfect fall and winter dessert.

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