Applehood & Motherpie

12Nov06

Every woman I know from the Rochester area who is over the age of 22 owns Applehood & Motherpie, this wonderful green cookbook published by the Junior League of Rochester. It has this apple-green vinyl cover that bends partway so that the book cover can also serve as book stand. It’s genius.

Contained within the pages of the green book are “handpicked recipes from Upstate New York,” many of which I have tried personally (or, let’s face it, Brian has, since I bake but don’t cook) and have loved. I make the “pistou” recipe every other week during the winter and each fall I make at least one apple pie. I haven’t gotten around to it yet this season, I am ashamed to say, but plan on making one THIS WEEK. It’s harder to do in Ohio because the apples aren’t as good, as plentiful, or as various. I can’t buy baking apples in my regular grocery store and have only Fuji, Gala, Macintosh, and a few others to choose from. But I have made it happen in the past and will make it happen again.

The key to a wonderful apple pie is to use different kinds of apples. There should be a sweet, firm apple as well as a tangy, tart one. I like to use granny smith for the latter and whatever firm apple I can find for the former.

The second secret is to cut the apple slices super thin. This keeps your pie from coming out half-full. Cram that puppy to the gills with thin, thin slices of apple and you’ll have a nice, full-looking pie at the end.

Third secret: after you’ve put on your top crust and poked your holes and crimped the edges, wrap the edges in about two inches of aluminum foil — just enough to stay on while baking but not enough to cover the top of the pie. (If you look carefully, you can see this in the picture above. This picture is of the first applie pie I ever made all by myself.) This keeps your edges from burning but allows the top of the pie to brown nicely.

Finally, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, too. Apple pies generate a LOT of juice, and if you followed my advice and filled it nice and full, then some of that juice will inevitably spill out of the pie and will form, when cool, a brown, sticky hard candy-like substance that snaps right off of aluminum foil but not always right off pans.

Armed with this advice, you’re now ready for the world’s best apple pie recipe (straight from the pages of Applehood & Motherpie):

CRUST: (I use Pet Ritz brand frozen crusts, because that’s what my mom always did, but you can make your own if you’d prefer. Here’s the recipe)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Sift flour and salt together.
2. Cut shortening into dry ingredients.
3. Blend egg yolks, water, and lemon juice together. Sprinkle over dry ingredients. Stir lightly until dough holds together.
4. Divide dough in half: roll out one half and line pie plate. Set aside while preparing filling.

FILLING:
4 cups cooking apples, pared, cored, and sliced.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

1. Toss apples with sugars, flour, spices, and salt.
2. Fill crust with the apples and dot with butter.
3. Roll out remaining pastry and place on top of pie. Use a fork to place holes in the top of the pie. Add aluminum foil as per my advice above.
4. Bake.
5. Cool slightly.

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees THEN 55 minutes at 375 degrees (just turn the heat down and keep the pie in the over. No need to wait for it to cool down or anything.)

VOILA! Enjoy your authentic, Upstate New Yorker-approved apple pie. If possible, sit at a window in front of changing leaves and wear long underwear and a turtleneck.

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