As American as Apple Pie
It’s been a wonderful week spending time with family and old friends this Thanksgiving. Last year, both Rachel and I stayed in Austin and while it was great to be together — it was more than a little sad eating Thanksgiving dinner at Threadgills.
This year, the Feldman’s invited us to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with their large extended family. The table was decorated beautifully and Eileen made an absolutely delicious meal. There was not one thing I tried that I didn’t like.
Mom was in charge of dessert and brought a cornucopia of pies including pecan, apple, and pumpkin with vanilla ice cream. Ashely made a beautiful, naturally sweetened, apple pie with a whole wheat crust.
Since I’m about to give away our family’s biggest secret I’m just going to come right out and say it. Orange Juice, yes OJ, is the secret to a killer pie crust. Actually, I feel a bit better now as the weight of this knowledge has been lifted.
I also included a Pecan Pie recipe from Betty Crocker’s Pie and Pastry Cookbook circa 1968. My mom was given this book when she was teaching special education in Canada. Weird coincidence — my grandmother who passed down the orange juice crust secret was named Betty too! She was an artist as well and she would sign her paintings “Bette.”
2 c. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening
4 T cold orange juice
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until particles are pea-sized. Add OJ slowly, mixing lightly with a fork until all the flour is moistened. Shape into a ball. Divide into 2 equal parts. Chill pie dough while making the filling.
6-7 granny smith or Rome apples, pared and sliced
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Up to 2 T flour
Mix apples with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice. If apples are juicy, mix up to 2 T flour with sugar.
Crust – Part 2
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough about 1/8″ thick on a lightly floured board. Make the pastry about 1″ larger than the 9″ pie plate. Transfer to pie plate. Add the filling, trim off the overhanging edges. Roll out the top crust so that it too is 1″ larger than the pie plate. Moisten edge of bottom pastry.
Place top crust over filling and fold the overlapping edge of the top crust under the edge of the lower crust, sealing thoroughly. Flute edges or press with fork tines to make sure edges are hooked to the side. Make several slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Cover edges with a strip of tinfoil to prevent over browning. Remove foil 15 minutes before end of baking time. Bake for 45-55 minutes.
Pecan Pie (Bonus Track!)
-Prepare identical crust as the Apple Pie
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
melted1 cup dark or light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves or broken pecans
Heat oven to 375. Prepare pastry. Combine eggs, sugar, salt, butter and syrup; beat thoroughly. Stir in nuts. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake 40-50 minutes or until filling is set and nicely browned.
According to a fine old American tradition, the mark of a good cook is her ability to turn out a delicious pie–the kind of pie that walks off with honors at every county fair, sells five minutes after any church bake sale opens, or disappears to the last flaky crumb each time it appears on the family dinner table. And that’s the kind of pie this book is all about.
Betty Crocker Pecan Pie is delightful proof that necessity is the mother of invention! Because the nuts are so plentiful in the South, ingenious cooks dreamed up the recipe-a joy for the sweet-tooth brigade.