Serves four

December 22, 2009

There is a family story from my mom's side that gets told every single time we eat pie. I was about to say that it is such a good story that it never gets old, but... Well, it is a really great story. My mom grew up with a fantastic pie-baker for a mother and a pie-lover for a father. There was pie after dinner every night. It wasn't even considered dessert, it was just the pie course. In fact, sometimes after pie, a person might inquire if there was dessert that night. As a family that had fresh-baked pie every night, they did not necessarily want leftovers, so the eight inch pie was always cut into four pieces - one for each person. When my mom started bringing my father home for dinner, my grandmother had to start making an extra pie, because no one could bear to have a smaller serving of pie. I wonder what that family of pie-lovers did with those extra three pieces? I'm sure they found a good home in someone's belly.

Speaking of pie-lovers, I happened to have married one. For many reasons I'm sad that my grandpa died before I met my husband, but just imagine the conversations they could have had about pie! My husband is also a FABULOUS baker and made this pie for my family for Thanksgiving. He made it the day before and well, the pie was just a little too tempting. This photo was taken about 10pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Apple pie, from the Shelburne Farms cookbook
serves 4 (at my mom's childhood table) or 8 at a regular tabl
Makes a 10-inch pie 

2 10-inch homemade pie crusts (the Shelburne Farms cookbook has a great recipe, but I think any great pie crust will work just fine)
3 pounds apples (recommended: a variety of apples, including but not limited to the Northern Spy, Cortland, Empire, Fuji, Baldwin and Ida Red - or, ask your local orchard for a good variety for pie)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced into pats
couple of tablespoons of milk
a sprinkle of sugar

Peel the apples and slice them VERY thinly into 1/8 inch slices. This may seem too sliver-y, but it makes for a fabulous pie. Toss them in a large bowl with the brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons flour and salt. If the apples seem really juicy, add the extra tablespoon of flour. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with racks at the lowest and second lowest spots in the oven.

Roll out one of your homemade pie crusts, which was probably chilling in the fridge, to a diameter of about 13 inches. Gently transfer it to a 10-inch glass pie pan. Carefully layer the apple slices in the pie crust. It takes more time than just dumping the slices (and I've been known to mock my  husband for his placement technique) but it does make a difference. Just add one slice at a time, trying to add them with little to no space in between. Top the apples with the thin slices of butter. 

Roll out your top crust (also to a 13 inch diameter) and place on top of the pie. Crimp all along the edges with your fingers. Lightly brush the top of the pie with milk. Cut about 4-5 slits in the top of the pie. Sprinkle with some sugar. 

Pop the pie in the second lowest slot in the oven and let it bake for 25 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350, and move the pie to the lowest rack. If the edges are browned at this point, put some foil over the edges to prevent them from burning. Bake the pie for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender when you poke through one of the vents with a skewer.

Let it cool before eating. And good luck trying to save it for a day. You probably should have made two pies.


Emily Pearl Goodstein said...

I remember you first telling me about the pie course. And the addition of the second pie when your dad started coming to dinner. It is one of my most favorite C fam stories and I think about it often...and now I will imagine C and your grandfather sitting together at a kitchen table talking about their love of the inbetween-main-and-dessert-course. (along with my grandfathers who were also big pie people themselves)

Grace said...

This pie recipe sounds great! I have an apple pie recipe that I love but I think this one sounds better. I'll have to try it soon. I am a big pie lover and the thought of having a pie course really makes my day. Why not have pie every night? hmmmm...