"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness."
— Jane Austen
— Jane Austen
Some people are of the opinion that cake can fix anything. And while I've never been one to turn down a piece of cake, I think that the real magical, healing food powers belong to a pie, still warm from the oven and filling the entire house with its scent.
I started my math class on Monday. After struggling through the first couple of days, I emailed the professor to ask what I was missing. Was there a textbook I forgot to buy? A video I didn't watch? She emailed back to tell me that this wasn't a "typical" class- that, in her words, "Most classes show you what to do and then have you do it- this is the opposite."
Math is my nemesis as it is. Math with no instruction? Pass the dang pie.
So if you find yourself having a particularly tough week- or if you are having a great week, for that matter, and want to celebrate- I would suggest making a pie. I made this recipe for Amish apple pie from my mama, and it was just the thing to make my day better. A comfort food and a dessert. It makes the math go down easier. If I have to make pie charts, I might as well have a better visual of them, right?
Thanks to my mom for letting me share the recipes below. I've included her notes for the pie crust as well.
BEST AMISH APPLE PIE
Sliced apples to fill 9-inch pie pan, half Granny Smith and half Golden Delicious [Erika's note: I used large apples, and probably only needed about 4 or 5- I actually used 7, and had to make a cobbler, too!]
2/3 c sugar
2 TBS lemon juice
1/3 c flour
½ tsp cinnamon
Sprinkle lemon juice over apples, then add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Top with crumb topping.
1 cup flour ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ c brown sugar ½ c softened butter
Crumble together with pastry blender. Sprinkle over apple mixture. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°, and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until apples are tender. Loosely cover with foil to prevent over-browning of topping.
Best when served warm.
OLD-FASHIONED REAL PIE CRUST
"Is it really worth it to make your own pie crust, when those refrigerator or frozen crusts are so readily available? Yes! Once you’ve tasted a real, delicately flaky, just-salty-enough crust, you’ll never settle for those things again, and you’ll never be able to choke down a store-bought (even from a bakery) pie again. There are numerous recipes, some with “secret” ingredients, but even if you leave out the baking powder listed here, you will have a truly fabulous pie crust. The real “secret” is in barely handling the dough and keeping everything cold. I even chill the bowl. If you’re just starting, you will get a crust that may be only edible, but keep at it, and you’ll quickly learn what the feel of the dough should be. You may even be sorry because everyone will always expect you to bring the pies for every gathering!"
2 c flour ¾ c cold shortening, cut into pieces
1 tsp salt ice water
¼ tsp baking powder
If you wish to use a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder a couple of times. Add the chilled shortening, cut into pieces or slices. Pulse very briefly until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces remaining. Do not over-process! The larger pieces of shortening are what make the crust flaky. Transfer the flour-shortening mixture to a medium bowl. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoonfuls of ice water over the flour mixture, drawing the dough together very gently with a fork just until the dough holds together, and adding only enough additional water to keep the dough together. Do not handle the dough with your hands any more than necessary. Chilling the dough after dividing into two disks may make the pie crust a little easier to roll out, but it isn’t necessary. Wrap the disks with plastic wrap and chill for at least ½ hour before rolling out on well-floured surface. You may freeze the disks, wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in freezer bags, if desired, for up to 1 month. One recipe yields 2 crusts to fit a 9-inch pan.
If not using food processor, stir the salt and baking powder into the flour in a medium bowl. Cut in the pieces of chilled shortening with 2 knives or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces and continue as above.