Tag Archives: apple

Stations of the Crust

A walk through the making of a pie.

Pastry Station

The beginning  and the end of pie…the crust, the dough, the very pie-ness of pie. Contrary to all sorts of nonsense, pie dough is easy. Easy as Pie.

Three ingredients – flour, fat, liquid. Infinite variations.Change the flour, change the liquid, change the fat…The basic of basic: a 3:2:1: ration of  flour:butter :water. In Ratio (Michael Ruhlman precise by weight measurements; or in more eyeballing, not quite so scientific throw together school (mine) :  2  1/2 cups flour, 2 sticks butter, 1/4-1/2 cups water. You might also want a teaspoon of salt (not quite so necessary if you’re using salted butter) and perhaps a spoonful of sugar, but if  you don’t know if you need sugar, DON’T PANIC, don’t fret – leave it out and after you eat this pie, know more, know better for the next pie.

Add the butter to the flour, rubbing it in, letting some of the pieces remain the size of pease.Sprinkle the 1/4  water on top, stir it together until it comes together in a ball. Add a little more water if it’s still too crumbly. Don’t over-mix – you don’t want to wake up and excite the gluten. When it holds together, divide in half and make into 2 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour, or even a full day. This waiting time lets the water molecules mix with the flour molecule and all be evenly hydrated. These 2 disks are enough for a top and bottom crust.

This is the outer gold of the pie.

pie_crust

Apple Station

5-10 apples, depending on their size, how high a pie you want to make and how patient you are with peeling and coring and slicing.If you don’t like slices,you can chop the apples….but in the end you want them to fit on a fork with some crust and then fit into your mouth. Or roses….you can make roses from apples instead of slices or chunks….

MA101146_WHOLETART01

Martha Stewart Living Feb 2005 – there are YouTube videos galore about this, too.

Any apple can make an apple pie – what are you looking for in a pie? Old Farmer’s Almanac has an Apple GuideApple Guide if you don’t want to trust your own taste.You can also mix apples…really, it’s your pie.You can mix otehr fruit in, too, but then it isn’t an apple pie, it’s and apple and____pie. Apple make good company. Cranberries. Squash slices. Pears. Onions (caramelize them first). Sweet Potatoes. Regular Potatoes. Bacon. Cheddar Cheese. Etc.

Spice Station

Sugar and spice  and everything nice…

Sugar – white or brown? A little to enhance the other flavors or is it a flavor in an of itself? Maple sugar? Maple syrup will make it drippy….

Cinnamon – a little or a lot? Ginger? Nutmeg? Let your nose lead you…

Lemon juice is often added to keep the slices from browning – News alert : Cooking the apple is ALSO going to brown them, so add the sugar, add the spice and add the lemon juice if you like the taste.Or add a little of another juice. Apple juice/cider is good. Lemon juice is  very 20th century flavor in apple pie; a spoonful of lemon liquor would work, too. Grated orange peel is another option.  Caraway, dill seed or fennel seed add nice flavor. A spoonful of rosewater or orange flower water. Cinnamon and rum…lead with your nose!

barbieri_paolo_antonio_-_the_spice_shop_-_1637

Paolo Antonio Barbieri. The Spice Shop – 1637

Rolling Station

Now the component pieces start to come together as a whole. Before you gather together the pie pan, the rolling pin, the dough and the filling, there’s another decision – Is this pie to be bakes now, or is it to be assembled and frozen to be baked later? If you want to bake the pie now – turn on the oven to 425°F. If later – get rolling!

Sprinkle a little flour on a clean flat surface. Unwrap one disk of dough. With a rolling pin

rollingpin_japanese

One kind of rolling pin

 

roll one disk into a circle about 2 inches wider around then your pie pan. There are lots of rolling out videos and magazine hints. In the last few months both Christopher Kimball in his new magazine Milk Street has a new no-shrink dough

and – just about everyone else has a pie rolling video out. Apple Pie alone could entertain you on the internet for weeks on end…..

Roll out one disk, put it on the pie plate.

Roll out the other disk.

Put the Apple in the bottom crust. Dot with butter. Maybe sprinkle with sugar.

Put the top crust on.

Almost pie.

julia6

The other kind of rolling pin

Crimping Station

In pie, crimping is good. It holds everything together.It can be pretty, too. Remember that that oven is heating up, and the longer the filling sits in unbaked crust, the soggier your bottom will be. And a little venting in the top. Even a pie has to let off some steam.

 

Baking Station

Now is the time to pass this pan, with apples and butter and flour  through heat, where it will be transformed. It’s not really pie until it comes out of the hot oven.

Start at 425°. After 10 or 15 minutes take a peak – is it browning up? Is it smelling good. A good pie crust is golden brown, not pasty palely white. Let it cook! Turn it down to 375° when you see color on the pastry, and let it continue baking until juices are bubbling.Let the fruit cook, too. 30-45 minutes – don’t rush it.

Cooling Station

If you REALLY want to eat pie hot – even though pie is not at all it’s best then – use spoons and dish it up like like a baked pudding. Forget all pretense of slices.

As it cools, contemplate – whipped cream, ice cream, cheddar cheese?

pie-science2

 

Henry Ward Beecher on Apple Pie

[B]lessed be the unknown person who invented the apple-pie! Did I know where the grave of that person was, methinks I would make a devout pilgrimage thither, and rear a monument over it that should mark the spot to the latest generations. Of all pies, of every name, the apple-pie is easily the first and chief.

Apple-Pie should be eaten while it is yet florescent, white or creamy yellow, with the merest drip of candied juice along the edges (as if the flavor were so good to itself that its own lips watered!), of a mild and modest warmth; the sugar suggesting jelly, yet not jellied; the morsels of apple neither dissolved, nor yet in original substance, but hanging, as it were, in a trance between the spirit and the flesh of applehood.

Not that apple is no longer apple! It, too, is transformed; and the final pie, though born of apple, sugar, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon, is unlike none of these, but the ideal of them all, refined, purified, and by fire fixed in blissful perfection.

Enjoy!

 

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Filed under Autumn, Pie

A little apple pie

I’ve been  telling you I have apple pie on the brain…..

and when I’m studying about a certain food, I  sometimes want to

EAT IT

All the time. Persistent cravings can lead to less then great food choices…..

So, when I grabbed a coffee at a certain Golden Arches while at the bus station….and they offered

APPLE PIES

2 for  DOLLAR

AND they smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

I knew to resist.

And I did.

McDonalds-Apple-Pie

Mom didn’t have time today so WE MADE YOU THIS BAKED APPLE PIE . Thanks, but no thanks, Micky D

But then there’s the trip homeward bound. I’m tired. My guard might have been  a little bit down. I was hungry and home is still a while away. Pure curiosity compelled me to try the Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Artisan Roll

mcdonalds-Artisan-Grilled-Chicken-Sandwich

100% grilled chicken breast filet seasoned to perfection with ingredients like salt, garlic and parsley – seared in our kitchens, no preservatives added. Crisp leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. All atop our delectable artisan roll.

It wasn’t bad. I’m still not sure what made the roll artisan. I believe artisan has officially jumped the shark in the food descriptor world, though, if it’s on a McDonald’s menu.

And Egad that pie smelled good…..and for a dollar, one little, measly dollar that I had in my hand because the coffee was also only one little dollar….and it

STILL

smelled ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

So when the kid at the counter asks, “Apple PIE??????”

My head nodded in agreement, somewhat independently of my brain and better judgement. He rang up the order….the chicken sandwich had one bag and the apple pies (I would of had to had been more verbal to get only one.) had their own. Oh, that smell!

The chicken was good, the fries a disappointment – maybe it was BK that had the good fries? but no matter. I had a Little Apple Pie to go with the coffee.

applepieapplepieapplepieapplepieapplepie happy apple pie song in my head

Apple-PieMcD

Apple Pie and Coffee. What could be better?

Just around the corner,
there’s a rainbow in the sky,
So let’s have another cup of coffee,
and let’s have another piece of pie.

Apple pie and coffee. Yes.

The coffee was good, maybe a little better then good. Not great, but really good.

And the pie.

The pie.

How could something that smelled THAT good, have so little taste whatsoever??????

I could feel it in my mouth, but there was no taste there. No too sweet, no too greasy, no tart or bad.  Just no. Nothing.

If I hadn’t been able to SMELL it, I wouldn’t have known it was there at all.

How can something be all scent and no flavor and still be sold as a food item?

I was not at all tempted to eat pie #2……Maybe it was something in the artisan roll or the chicken or…..

But the bag it came in smelled so wonderful., like I always want those little car air fresheners to smell and they never, not even quite, do.

applepie air freshner car

I carried the pie home, mostly because it smelled so pie.

I wanted to save the bag it came in. As it cooled, it smelled less

sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Hmmm – heat activated scent. Just like my antiperspirant…….

The next day, when I made my Bengal Spice tea and the scent reminded me of apple pie, and I remember the apple pie in the bag. Why not give it another go? Maybe French Fries negate Apple Pies….a stretch, I admit, but still a possiblity.

I put the apple pie in the microwave to heat for half a minute.

My kitchen was suddenly a Great Bakery, where everything

smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Magic.

And the taste?

Still elusive. Non-existent. Not there. Nada.

I drank the tea as the so-called pie cooled, and for the next little while  lived in the fantasy of having baked a pie because that’s how my kitchen smelled while I transcribed apple pie recipes and poems.

 

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National Apple Pie Day

was May 13th.

How did I miss this????

Who makes apple pie in MAY??????

There’s rhubarb and blueberries and strawberries…..but apples…

Not still and not yet.

Now, if were

National Mock Apple Pie Day

I could get behind that. A little pastry practice for all the lovely real fruits that are just ahead.

ritz cracker

Ritz Cracker did not invent the mock apple pie….but it certainly popularized it.

When there are no apples people still wanted apple pie. Dried apples were the thing that used to extend the season. After the fresh apples, the dried apple. After the dried apple, the crackers….and then Spring and Summer fruits until the new apples.

Here’s an earlier then Ritz version:

applepiepart1applepie part2

A CALIFORNIA PIONEER APPLEPIE-1852
Mrs. B. C. Whiting.

Break four soda crackers into an earthen bowl. Pour
over them a pint of cold water, made very tart with citric
acid. When soft, but not mashed, removed the soda crackers
to your pie plate, with the under crust already on; then sift
over two tablespoons of light brown sugar, and a little all-

spice and cinnamon to flavor. (The brown sugar and spice
give the requisite color), after which put on a prettily per-
forated top crust, and bake in a very quick oven a few
moments.
The deception was most complete and readily accepted.
Apples at this early date were a dollar a pound, and we
young people all craved a piece of mother’s applepie to
appease our homesick feelings.

applepiesource

Los Angeles, C. Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church (Ladies Social Circle).1894.How We Cook in Los Angeles. A practical cook-book containing six hundred or more recipes….including a French, German and Spanish department with menus, suggestions for artistic table decorations, and souvenirs.pp.240-1.

 

 

Here’s what used to be on the back of the Ritz box:

mockapplepieritz

I have made this pie. More than once. The first time I made it, there was a certain amount of disbelief. So, I made it a second time (in the same 24 hours) –  with witnesses.

Which also happened the second time I made it…..and I have made it since then, too. Because sometimes crackers are better then apples.

.It’s still a little hard to believe how much like apple pie it tastes. And looks. And smells.

Is it the cinnamon?

Or is it just how bland so many of our apples have gotten that they taste like crackers?

Part of the ruse is science.

pie-science2

Newsweek has an article on the appleless apple pie.

Part is that your eyes and nose believe, and then convince your brain.

mock_apple_pie_Savour2008

from Saveour, Feb 2008

And it’s really, really good – if  ironic  – with cheddar cheese

apple pie w cheddar

This is pretty orange cheddar….but for cheese and cracker pie …

Just like Real Apple Pie.

 

 

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Filed under Eating, Pantry, Perception ways, Pie, Spring, The 1980's

Are you going to Marlborough Fair?

Not to be confused with Scarborough Fair….or the song of that name.

Marlborough Pie is a rich, enriched sort of custard and apple concoction that is far too easy and good, good, good to have ever fallen out of favor.

And now seems to be having a teeny-tiny rebirth.

First – there are various historic sites that keep it alive, thank you Old Sturbridge Village

Here’s Ryan Beckman on  pie

and then a story on Eater : what-is-marlborough-pie

…which could be why I’ve been fielding Marlborugh Pie questions all week…

Here’s a recipe from OSV

Marlbor pud RX

There;’s a certain (tasty) place where pie and pudding intersect. Pudding Pie is a real (GOOD) thing.

marlbor pud OSV

Tastes like a million bucks! Don’t skimp on the sherry…

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Filed under Autumn, Pie, Thanksgiving, Wicked Wayback

Pi Days, Fry Days

First, some follow up from Pi Days, part I…

RINGO ROOTS

Not the remaining Beatle..

Guess who has a new album coming out at the end of this month? Postcards from Paradise

Guess who has a new album coming out at the end of this month? Postcards from Paradise available 31 March

but Eringo roots, eringo also known as Sea Holly

Sea Holly - eringo - growing on the dunes

Sea Holly – eringo – growing on the dunes

Ivan Day at Food History  has sooo much more on eringos – he’s cooked it…..

Perhaps you remember this from high school English class.

MISTRESS FORD

Sir John! art thou there, my deer? my male deer?

FALSTAFF

My doe with the black scut! Let the sky rain
potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of Green
Sleeves, hail kissing-comfits and snow eringoes; let
there come a tempest of provocation, I will shelter me here.

– William Shakespeare. The Merry Wives Of Windsor Act V Scene V

I hadn’t remembered that it was “Snow Eringoes” – rather apt for this endless winter. Boston has – and winter isn’t actually over, so, SO FAR received 108.6 inches of the fluffy white stuff and Plymouth has had MORE….that’s  nine foot of snow shoveling. I will add ‘snow eringoes’ (which Spellcheck would really rather be ‘snow dingoes’) to the general snow vocabulary.

But, on to apple pies to fry

To fry Applepyes.

Take apples and pare them, and chop them very small, beat in a little cinnamon, a little ginger, and some sugar, a little rosewater, take your paste, roul it thin, and make them up as big pasties as you please, to hold a spoonful or a little lesse of your apples, and so stir them with butter not too hastily least they be burned.

  • W.I., Gent. A True Gentlewoman’s Delight. Falconwood ed. p. 8.

NOTES:What W.I, Gent is suggesting is that you

  1. pare some apples and chop them small
  2. add some powdered (beaten in a mortar with a pestle) cinnamon, ginger and sugar with a little rosewater [did you know that apples and roses are in the same botanical family – they really go very nicely together]
  3. Your paste is your pastry – a  nice buttery based pastry works well here.
  4. He says make them as big as you please – think coat buttons versus hand pies – raviolis or pierogies..

    I'm thinking several of these little filled pasta (pasta means paste....the apple pies are sweet....)would be nice

    I’m thinking several of these little filled pasta (pasta means paste….the apple pies are sweet….)would be nice

  5.   A spoonful or less for the filling – wet the edges and pinch them together good – use a fork in the modern kitchen – you don’t want these pretty babies falling apart in the frying pan.
  6. Put some butter in your frying pan – medium heat – you want to melt the butter and cook the pastry, not burn it.
  7. A sprinkle of sugar as they come out of the pan would not be amiss…you don’t want to use so much butter that they need to be blotted or drained.

How to make Apple-pyes to Fry.

Take about a dozen pippins, pare them, cut them, and almost cover them with water, and almost a pound of sugar, let them boyl on a gentle fire, close covered, with a stick of cinnamon, minced orange pill, a little dillseed beaten, rosewater, when this is cold and stiff, make it into a little pastie with rich paste.

  • William Rabisha. The Whole Body of Cookery, Dissected. p. 201.

NOTES:

  • Pippin is a kind of apple (generally it’s a non-specific variety)
  • This time you peel and cut and make applesauce out of them, with LOTS of sugar and a piece of cinnamon, orange peel and dillseed, and again the rosewater. Caraway seed is also very nice with apples. You can beat – or grind it to a powder, before you add it..
  • A rich paste is one made with lots of butter, and maybe an egg yolk, like a pate sucree  click here to see Martha Stewart’s version.
  • Again make up into little pies and fry in butter….enjoy!

If you’re interested in more about Pies, there is a National Pie Council…it’s America, there’s a group for everything!

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Filed under Recipe, The 17th century, winter