Apple Pie

Apple pie is a favorite American dessert. To a lot of us, it is placed in the category as a comfort food. My favorite times of year to bake an apple pie are during the fall and for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Apple pie tastes good anytime of the year, but it seems to taste even better when made from locally grown apples.

Michigan is the third-largest producer of apples in the United States, behind Washington state and New York. Fortunately, many of the apple orchards are located nearby.

Cooking With Love

One of my favorite orchards to visit is Robinettes which is less than two miles away from my house. It is a fun place to visit, especially in the fall with their corn maize and wagon rides into the orchard. As soon as you walk into their Apple Haus you immediately smell their freshly baked donuts. Kids love having their picture taken in front of their huge red apple.

Robinettes Apple

Even though we are familiar with the phrase “as American as apple pie” apples are not native to the USA. When the colonists arrived in North America, they found only crabapple trees, so apple seeds had to be brought from England to be planted. While we associate the apple pie with such American things as baseball and the Statue of Liberty, history seems to indicate that it is the English who invented the apple pie.

Thanks to Google, I found the following recipe for apple pie that appeared in a scroll of cookery believed to have been written at the end of the fourteenth century. It is the recipes of the Master Cooks of King Richard II. The name of The Forme of Cury was given by Samuel Pegge and was published in 1789 in England. The name translates to The Method of Cooking. Cury being the Middle English word for cookery.

“XXIII. FOR TO MAKE TARTYS IN APPLIS.

Tak gode Applys and gode Spycis and Figys and reysons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd [1] wyth Safroun wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well.”

The Forme of Cury is free as an eBook on Project Gutenberg and can be found here.

An American apple pie recipe was first published in 1796 in a cookbook titled American Cookery by Amelia Simmons:

“Stew and strain the apples, to every three pints, grate the peal of a fresh lemon, add cinnamon, mace, rose-water and sugar to your taste–and bake in paste No. 3.”

The above recipe has familiar ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon with mace and rose-water not so familiar. American Cookery was the first known cookbook written by an American, published in Hartford, Connecticut in 1796. Until then, the cookbooks printed and used in the Thirteen Colonies were British.

A free version of American Cookery is also available from Project Gutenberg.

Both of the above referenced cookbooks are available on Amazon at very reasonable prices. I could not resist, so I bought the paperback version of The Forme of Cury and Kindle version of American Cookery. Both books are very interesting to read and are a good source for food history.

the forme of curry 1 american cookbook

The first apple pie I ever baked was from a recipe in a vintage Betty Crocker New Picture Cook Book published in 1961. The cookbook was passed down to me by a favorite aunt and shows its wear and tear.

Betty Crocker's Cook Book

Over the years, I have updated the recipe to the one in this post. It is a family favorite. Apple pie is such an easy pie to bake and everyone seems to appreciate it when you take the time to bake one from scratch.

apple pie 1

Apple Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Double-Crust Pastry

2 1/2 pounds baking apples (about 6 medium or 8 cups), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
juice of half of a lemon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
1 tablespoon coarse sugar crystals, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F

Slice the apples in a large bowl and toss occasionally with the lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning. In a small bowl, mix sugars, flour, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour this over the apples and toss to coat well. Transfer the filling to a pastry-lined pie plate and dot with the butter.

Top with the second crust. Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch. Pinch bottom and top crusts together and fold under. Crimp as desired. Cut several small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sugar crystals.

Place pie plate on a foiled-lined baking sheet and place on lowest rack in oven preheated to 375 degrees. Bake 45 to 60 minutes or until apples are tender, juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown. If edges brown too quickly, cover lightly with aluminum foil. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Serve with ice cream if desired.

NOTES:
1. I used a Perfect Pie Crust recipe from Barefoot Contessa for this apple pie. Her recipe can be found on the Food Network
2. If you prefer, one box of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts can be used. I use them quite often. They are easy to work with and produce a flaky crust.
3. I used Golden Delicious apples in this recipe.

apple pie slice

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