It’s apple time….

Fall means apples. They’re everywhere in the farmers’ markets and at the grocery stores. Visions of the crisp, sweet yet tart fruits conjure up memories of autumns past back in the Midwest when a visit to the local apple orchard was a natural. I remember sunny Saturday afternoons with my then little girls to fill up a basket to the brim. And even though that basket was full in 15 minutes, it was the whole experience that was the real fun. Some of my favorite memories:

…..tromping through the orchard to find the perfect tree from which to pluck the bright red or yellow fruit to fill our basket

…,. sips of cider or hot chocolate

…. a whiff of the fire burning in the fireplace

…. and scouting all the apple trinkets and books in the gift shop

…and, of course, taking the perfect memento home…….

But the best part was bringing those apples to our kitchen and crunching on their delightful flavors or turning them into a beautiful pie.

So what about apple pie? Have you ever thought about how this delightful treat got started? Well, I did a little research a few years’ back and here’s what I learned.

An apple pie made from scratch, showing both the crust and the filling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We may think of it as an American tradition, but actually apple pies or tarts go back to at least the Middle Ages. The 14th century pies were very different from today’s pie. They were not made with sugar. And the pastry (coffins as they were called) was not meant to be eaten. These pastry coffins were meant only to hold the filling. During the 1300’s sugar was scarce and costly. A cookbook that was originally compiled about 1390 A.D. by the master cooks of King Richard II and presented later to Queen Elizabeth offers this early version of what we know as apple pie:

To Make Tartys in Applis

Tak gode Applys and gode Spryeis and Figys and reyfons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed co-lourd wyth Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well.

Well, if you are having trouble figuring out that recipe, try my version of crust and apple pie. Enjoy!!

The Best Crust Ever

You can roll and reroll this crust and it is still flaky and tender.

Mix together with a pastry blender:

  • 4 cups flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups Crisco

Mix together one beaten egg, ½ cup water and 1 tbsp vinegar.

Pour into flour mixture and blend with a fork until mixture balls up. Refrigerate 15 minutes or form into 4 separate portions and freeze for later use. This crust keeps well!

The Pudbudder Apple Pie

  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (2 lbs) (my personal favorites are McIntosh, but your favorite baking/cooking apple will do)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • ½ – 1 tsp ground cinnamon and dash of ground nutmeg (or try pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 tbsp butter

If apples are a sweet variety, sprinkle with 1 tbsp lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour, and spices. For a juicier pie, omit the 2 tbsp flour. Add sugar mixture to the sliced apples; toss to coat well. Fill a pastry-lined 9-inch pie plate with apple mixture; dot with the 1 tbsp butter. Adjust top crust and seal or flute the edges. Brush with egg white for a shiny top crust and sprinkle with granulated sugar (optional). Cover edge of pie with strips of foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake additional 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Cool. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

I hope you try my recipe, and if you do, let me know how you like it – especially the crust. I promise you that you’ll find no better crust recipe. It’s so easy to work with and melts in your mouth!

Now apple pie isn’t the best for your diet if you’re watching your weight, but I did find an interesting recipe in Cooking Light Magazine that I’m anxious to try. Watch for an update after I bake their version! In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful time of the year with all of the treasures it has to offer!

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