Wednesday, September 18, 2013

1960's Apple Pie

What strikes me about this recipe is how straightforward and plain it is by today's standards. No stem ginger, or dried cherries. No insistence that apples of a certain pedigree be used. No strange additions like fresh thyme (I like apples, and I like thyme, but I do not get that combination in a pie. I just don't). With the exception of the instant blend flour, most of these items are probably in your kitchen right now. I don't want to give the impression this is anything less than a wonderful pie-it is a wonderful pie. It just isn't unusual, or innovative, or something unique I dreamed up. Still, if you have some apples, and an hour to kill, this is as good a way to put them to use as any.

The pastry comes from Farm Journal's Complete Pie Book, 700 best dessert and main dish pies in the country, 1965. That sounds like quite a boast until you start making some of those pies and you think, "I wonder if I could cook my way through this book", and it isn't just some daydream, but something you (I) give serious consideration.

The filling comes from Better Homes and Gardens Pies and Cakes, 1966. I love this cookbook, and I very nearly have cooked my way through it.

The pastry calls for an electric mixer to blend the dough. I've done it that way, but I still prefer to use a pastry cutter and add just as much water as the flour will take. I have adapted the method to reflect this because I honestly feel it is worth the few minutes of work cutting the butter into the dough. In the end you will have a pastry that is easier to handle, and bakes up light and flaky.

You Will Need:

For the Pastry:

1/3 plus 1 tablespoon ice water (have more on hand in case you need it)
3/4 cup shortening (I used unsalted butter because we prefer it)
2 cups instant type flour (I used Wondra)
1 teaspoon salt.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until fine. Add water slowly adding just enough so that the dough comes together in a ball. It should be pliable without being too wet or dry.

This will make enough for 2 crusts.

For the Filling:

6 cups pared and sliced apples (I tossed mine with fruit fresh to prevent darkening)
3/4-1 cup sugar (I used the full cup as my apples were quite tart)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons plain flour
Dash of nutmeg and salt
2 tablespoons butter

Combine dry ingredients. Add apples and toss to coat. Pour into pie crust, dot with butter and affix top crust. I like to brush mine with cream and then scatter the top with coarse sugar, but that's just one of a million ways to decorate a pie. Cut vents, and place pie on a baking sheet (It WILL spill over) and bake 55-60 minutes.

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