Everywhere I look in blogland this week, I see food. As a confirmed glutton, I love this time of year. Roasted veggies, comforting casseroles, hearty stews – yum! Speaking of which, there are some great recipes posted right now on one of my favorite blogs, Petticoats and Pistols.
In the spirit of the season, I’m posting a favorite family recipe for apple pie. For me, its the apples and the touch of brown sugar that makes this one special. Enjoy!
Gravenstein Apple Pie
Gravenstein apples (see photo above)are an old variety that, I discovered today online, came from Denmark. In Canada, they are grown in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and, as far as I know, almost nowhere else.
Tart and flavorful with mottled red and yellow skin, they are delicious straight off the tree, but unfortunately don’t store well. They are a seasonal delight and the best pie apples on the planet. This recipe brings back memories of fall days in windy orchards in “The Valley”, as it’s known here. When my mother calls herself a valley girl, she isn’t talking SoCal.
Pastry: Stir 1 tsp salt into 2 cups of flour. Cut in 1 cup cold vegetable shortening until the texture is coarse and crumbly. Do not overmix. I use my grandmother’s old pastry bowl – I think it knows the recipe by heart.
Stir together 1 egg, 5 or 6 tbsp ice cold water and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Add to dry mixture, stir to form dough. When it comes together turn out on a floured surface and knead two or three times, just until workable. Pastry making is a metaphor for life – you get better at it with practice, and you spoil it by trying too hard,
Wrap and chill for 30 – 60 min. Makes enough for two 9-inch double-crust pies or one larger pie and a turnover.
Filling: for one generous ten-inch pie, peel and slice 8 or 9 fresh Gravenstein apples. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and about 3/4 cup white sugar (taste apples and adjust as needed.) Pour over apples and mix.
Assemble pie and bake at 425 for 15 min, then reduce temp to 350 and bake for another 45-60 min or until apples are tender. Serve with sharp aged cheddar cheese.