I finally got around to baking an apple pie with the last of my homegrown Granny Smith apples. If you try this recipe, you’ll probably never want to eat an apple pie from the store again. There is no comparison.
1 C white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/3 C + 1T shortening (I use Crisco plus a little butter)
2-3 T cold water
Mix dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until thoroughly blended. Add water with stirring until dough forms a ball and sticks to fork. Roll out dough on a floured pastry board. Fold in quarters and transfer to a 9″ pie pan. Unfold the crust and flute/crimp the edges.
6 apples (Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Wealthy, or other tart baking apple)
1 T lemon juice
1/2 C sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace
Peel and core the apples, and cut into eighths. Squeeze lemon juice over apples to prevent browning. Mix sugar and spices and sprinkle over apples. Put sweetened apple slices into pie crust.
3/4 C white flour
1/3 C brown sugar
6 T butter
Blend topping ingredients together until crumbly and spread over the top of the apples. Bake pie at 400 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or Vermont cheddar cheese.
Be sure to check out my newspaper column that’s coming out in the Huntington Beach Independent this Thursday. It’s on heirloom apples. See it at www.hbindependent.com/opinion.
Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the founders of Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) has declared 2010 as the Year of the Heirloom Apple to publicize the decline in our national heritage of apple varieties.
Sadly, out of America’s 15,000 historic apple varieties, only about 3,500 are still commercially available. Like most endangered foods, we can save them by eating them. Create demand for heirloom apples by seeking them out and buying them. If you can find Wealthy or Northern Spy apples, they make fantastic pies. I speak from experience about the Northern Spies, but I have yet to find any Wealthy apples to try.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend “Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and savoring the continent’s most endangered foods.” The book lists 108 hard-to-find apple varieties that are worthy of searching out.
Look for heirloom apples at your farmer’s market or local U-pick orchards. They’re still out there. Go find them!