14 March 2013

Elmbrook Farm Apple Pie

Dear Lissy,

At Elmbrook Farm, apple pie is eaten at room temperature with a  cuppa coffee.  For breakfast.  Or coffee break at 10 am after the milking's done and Fred drops by.  Or maybe after supper when the kitchen's cleaned up and you're watching Jeopardy.  It's an all-purpose food, a symbol of a hard but simple life.

My mom and Grammy in the dining room at Elmbrook Farm.   


Elmbrook Farm pie isn't like, say, Kansas pie.  Our pie is flat, like a turnover, and baked in a stoneware dish or a shallow tin pie plate.  The crust is plain and flaky, a simple amalgam of flour, short, and water.  Three or four Northern Spy or Cortland apples, barely sweetened, and a pat of butter complete the recipe.  My gram served it with a dollop of ice cream, Dad and I prefer sharp cheese.

Elmbrook Farm Apple Pie
makes one dish-sized pie

3-4 medium Northern Spy or Cortland apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
Up to 1/3 cup sugar (taste the apple)
1 tsp. cinnamon 
2 tsp. butter
2 cups white flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening or lard
6-7 Tbsp cold water
In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt with a fork.  Cut in the 2/3 cup short with a tuna cutter or just the side of the fork until mixture is crumbly.  Drizzle in the iced water, tossing with the fork until every bit is moistened and clings together.  Form into two balls, one slightly larger.  Roll the larger ball on a square of floured parchment and line the plate or shallow tin. Layer the apples in no more than 2 slices deep, leaving a 1"rim around the edge of the crust.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the apples.  Dot with butter.  Roll out the second crust.  Moisten the edge of the bottom crust with water, and place top crust on.  Press together and flute using thumb and forefinger of right hand and pointer of left hand.  Run the pie crust under a drizzle of cold water from the faucet, spinning and tipping to get the top wet.  Cut vents with the tip of a paring knife.  Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, and finish in a 350 degree oven until apples are soft when the tip of the knife is inserted through a vent, about 15 minutes more.  Cool and serve.

I miss the days of visiting the farm, but perhaps we'll make the trek back this spring.  I'd like you to have memories of walking the fields and playing in the hay mow, too.

Pie crusts and promises,

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