Monday, June 22, 2009

Edna Lewis's Summer Apple Pie

Happy Father's Day!

We enjoyed a fantastic evening with my husband's family - my mother in law's homemade hamburgers, green salad and baked potatoes; and for dessert, two desserts including this Summer Apple Pie from Edna Lewis. I've renewed The Taste Of Country Cooking from the library three times, and have come to the realization that I must own it. Molly claims to read sections of it at the change of each season, and I understand why.

To tempt:

Another late afternoon feast would be the melons my father had gathered in the early morning from the melon patch while the dew still lingered on them. He would put them in a tub or water or underneath the shrubbery until we were ready to eat them. Before he ever sliced open a melon, he would always plug it - by cutting out a small piece which he would taste to see if it had the proper flavor. If it didn't, he would cast it aside until he found a good one. We would all be served in our turn and we would enjoy each bite, discussing which condiment made the melon even sweeter - salt or pepper. After the feast, the rinds were saved and made into pickle or preserve, and the rest went into the swill for the hogs. Then we would go off to do our evening chores.

Absolutely glorious writing!

I'm looking forward to making this pie again in the fall, when the local apples will be at their peak. The baby and I are sure to come home from the farmers market, loaded down with crisp, sweet apples - this is such an honorable way to showcase their beauty.

Summer Apple Pie
-Edna Lewis, The Taste Of Country Cooking-
Makes 3, 7 or 8 inch pies.

3 cups sifted unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lard, chilled
1/2 cup ice water

1 1/3 cups sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 pounds apples, peeled, sliced and cooked as below

Place flour and salt into a large bowl. Add the chilled lard, and using your fingertips or a pastry blender, mix well. This blend will not be as dry as a butter mixed pastry. When well blended add all of the water and mix until the water is all absorbed. This will make the dough a bit sticky. Sprinkle over lightly with flour and roll into a ball. Leave to rest in a cool place for about 15 minutes.

To make applesauce, pare, halve, quarter and core each apple. Place them into a saucepan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar and salt over apples. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove cover. Enough water should have developed to cook the apples - shake the saucepan to stir. Leave uncovered and continue cooking gently until all the juice has dried down and the sauce is thick. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Divide the dough into pieces to fit the bottom of each of three pie plates and a little less for the top crust. This is a soft dough and it is best to roll it out and place it in the pie plates, then chill until needed. The top pie crusts can be rolled out, placed on wax paper and set to chill as well. It is important to remove the top crust from the refrigerator ahead of time in order for it to warm up. If not, it will become brittle and break in half. The bottom crust should remain chilled until it is filled.

Add sugar and nutmeg to applesauce. Mix well and spoon 1 1/2 cups into each pastry lined pie plate. Moisten the rim of the pie shell and place on the top crust; seal the two by pressing the rims together. Make 5 or 6 vents in the top of the crust - the more vents there are in a two crust pie the crispier the crust will be. Bake about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 425C. When done, remove from oven and set on a rack to cool.

When completely cooled, stack all three pies on top of one another. Cut into wedges to serve, along with ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: I found that 3 pounds of apples did not make enough applesauce to fill each pastry shell with 1 1/2 cups, so I made another, smaller batch using 4 apples. This made just enough applesauce. Depending on the type of apples you use, taste the sauce before adding the additional 1 cup of sugar - you may or may not need that much. I used Granny Smith apples and did not need to add a full cup of sugar.

The pastry recipe is better than anything you've ever made - perfectly flaky yet tender, with good flavor and turns a beautiful golden after baking. It's become my go to pie crust recipe.



NikiTheo said...

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't "plug" melons in the store, to sort the worthy from the un-. Your pie looks delicious and better yet! A new, reliable pie crust recipe. We make all sorts of pies around here (pot pie, lemon meringue, etc.) and I would love to try a crust that comes so highly recommended.

I found you on TasteSpotting and am writing to say that if you have any photos that aren’t accepted there, I’d love to publish them. Visit my new site (below), it’s a lot of fun! I hope you will consider it.


Bailey said...

Hello -
I am a filmmaker in Atlanta. I just wanted to let you know I produced a 21 minute documentary about Miss Edna Lewis. The film is called "Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie".

It is viewable in its entirety on Internet at a Gourmet Magazine website:

My website, has more information about the film and the story of Miss Lewis.

Bailey Barash

redmenace said...

I just put this on my library list. I've heard of her, but never got around to checking out her books. Thanks! This looks just lovely!