As American as Apple Pie…but there was Apple Pie in England (and many
other places) long before there was Apple Pie here. There were no apples
growing in New England in 1620, so no apple pie at the First Thanksgiving.
But I wonder, how many apple pies were eaten at last year’s Thanksgivings?
Apple Pie is good alone (Apple Pie is GREAT alone), apple pie is good with
friends, apple pie is good with coffee, apple pie is good with ice cream or
whipped cream or sharp cheddar or…what do YOU like with apple pie?
FOR A 17TH CENTURY KITCHEN
“…yn take a quart of fine flower, & put ye rest of ye butter to it in little
bits, with 4 or 5 spoonfulls of faire water, make ye paste[pastry] of it &
when it is well mingled beat it on a table & soe roule[roll] it out.”
- Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed. pp130-1
A PIPPIN TART
Take pippins [ a variety apple] of the fairest, and pare them, and then
divide them just in the halves, and take out the cores clean: then, having
rolled out the coffin[the pastry case] flat, and raised up a small verge of
an inch or more high, lay in the pippins with the hollow side downward, as
close to one another as may be: then lay here and there a clove, and here
and there a whole stick of cinnamon, and a little bit of butter; then cover
all clean over with sugar, and so cover the coffin, and bake it according to
the manner of tarts; and, when it is baked, then draw it out, and, having
boiled butter and rose-water together, anoint all the lid over therewith,
and then scrape or strew on it a good store of sugar, and so set it in the
oven again, and after serve it up.
- Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife.(1615/1623) Michael Best, ed.
McGill-Queen’s Press: Montreal. 1986.
FOR A 21ST CENTURY KITCHEN
2 cups all purpose FLOUR
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER
½ teaspoon SALT
1 teaspoons SUGAR
6 tablespoon cold WATER
Mix flour with salt and sugar. Work butter in until it’s crumbly. Add water
and mix and mash until it holds together. Add a little more it’s not holding
together, but not too much. When it forms into a great big ball, divide into
two parts, one larger then the other – one one-third and the other
two-thirds. Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap or put into a
plastic bag so it does’t dry out and let it sit in the fridge for at least
10 minutes and up to overnight.
Meanwhile, make up the filling:
1 POUND APPLES (about 3 medium size one)
1 tablespoon SUGAR
½ – 1 ½ teaspoon CINNAMON
1 teaspoon BUTTER
1 teaspoon butter, melted and 1 teaspoon sugar for the topping
Cut the apples into quarter, peel and core.
Sprinkle a dusting of flour on your work surface. Take the pastry out of the
fridge and remover the larger disk from it’s wrapping. This is going to be
the bottom of your pie. Put some flour on your hands to and dust your
rolling pin. Swack the pastry disk with your rolling pin a few times. Roll
it out to be and inch or two larger then your pie plate. Roll the pastry
unto your rolling pin and transfer it to the pie plate.
Put your cut apples in, round bumpy sided up. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar
and dot with the butter.
Remove from plastic, put on your floured surface and swack and roll some
more for the upper crust, or lid. Remember, the flour keeps things from
sticking, so you should only need a dusting! Cut slits in the pastry, roll
around your pin and transfer to the top of the apples.
Roll the edges of the bottom crust to meet the top crust and crimp and seal
all around. The edges can be resting inside the pan, right on top of the
Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes – it’ll smell great and be a lovely golden
color. Take out of the oven, brush on the melted butter, sprinkle with rest
of the sugar and put back into the oven. SHUT THE OVEN OFF. Leave the pie in
the warm oven for at least 10 minutes or through supper so you can eat it
warm for dessert.
OR make the pie up, pastry and apples and spice and wrap tightly in a foil
and then plastic. Freeze for up two months.
TO BAKE A FROZEN PIE
Heat your oven to 475.
Unwrap the pie. Put the frozen pie in the hot oven. Bake for 20 minutes and
then lower the heat to 350 for another thirty minutes. Again, don’t the
timer rule you – use your senses! Does it smell done, is the pastry golden
brown, not pale? (Of course, if your oven’s hotter, take it out sooner)
Then brush the top with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and put back into
the shut off but still warm oven… give it ten minutes or eat your supper
first and it’ll be waiting there for you.
Leftover pie is great for breakfast, especially in New England in the cold
weather or probabley anywhere else for that matter. Anne Dimock’s Humble
Pie: Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust is a great book about making
pies in general.
Kathleen Wall ~ Colonial Foodways Culinarian