Saturday, September 8, 2007


Well, today being a Saturday, and we having too many apples, I made some apple pies today. They might be the ugliest pies I've ever made, but they're pies. Apple pies.

Actually, they were a bit of a team effort. I made the pastry too dry (and I used whole-wheat flour), so I broke it several times trying to roll it out. Eventually Ames stepped in and got me some pie shells from the mess I made.

I finally fixed my pastry, but not until it was pretty much too late. Ames takes credit for the nicer of the two pies.

How did I make the pastry? you ask. Well, I used the Tenderflake Perfect Pastry recipe. It's the only one I can get to turn out for me at all. And yes, I used lard. I live in the South. I actually would have used shortening, but I ran across some lard in a cupboard, so I thought "why not?".

It turns out we're missing a pie plate again. Apparently there's a gremlin in our house that steals pie plates: it seems we're having to buy pie plates very frequently. At any rate, we used the one pie plate we have, and I got Ames to roll out the other shell and put it into a glass casserole dish. In the end, I re-worked the pastry scraps into a new "batch" and was able to get it to roll. So I took that pastry, rolled it out, and put it in a cast-iron skillet. Ugy, but it works. I then used the shell Ames made me for a lid. That was a flop, and resulted in the mess in the photos.

Now, there's been some whining about my not including recipes in my blog. Let me set the record straight: there are at least three reasons I don't include recipes:

  1. I personally hate reading recipes. I find technique more interesting than recipes; and when I read something with a recipe in it, I simply skip over the recipe(s) and keep reading.

  2. I'm unsure the legality of posting a recipe I didn't invent. I post my own (when I keep track of them), but hesitate to post someone else's

  3. I almost never use recipes. If there is something specific I want to make, I do so. But the vast majority of my cooking is done on-the-fly. I may refer to a recipe, but I rarely follow one.

So for those who are criticizing my lack of recipes, please understand I usually don't have one to post.

But I'll gladly share how I made the pies.

First, I read the recipe in A Century of Canadian Cooking. Their recipe calls for the following:

  • 5 apples

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar

  • 1 Tbsp. butter

You're supposed to peel and core the apples, then combine everything but the butter. After than, you dump it in a pie shell and dot with butter, then you bake for 15 minutes at 425F, then reduce heat to 350F and bake 35--40 more minutes.


I thought brown sugar sounded better than granulated sugar, so I put brown sugar in a bowl. I ran 5 granny smith apples through my apple slicer; then I realized it wasn't enough and I was out of granny smith, so I ran a couple small red apples through too.

I thought 1 tsp. cinnamon sounded stingy, so I dumped enough in to cover the sugar.

I couldn't find any lemon juice, and Ames assured me we had none; so I thought "Well, rum's pretty close to lemon juice." I measured 1 Tbsp of rum over the sugar and cinnamon. Then I realized I was intending to make two pies, so I put another Tbsp of rum in there.

I was going to put another 3/4 C of sugar into the mix, when I realized I had snapped my 1/4 C measure with the first 3/4, so I grabbed a 1 C measuring spoon, got it 3/4 or so full of brown sugar, and dumped it in. Then I added more cinnamon and whisked it all together.

It looked a little dry, so I poured in some more rum.

Now I had a nice rum-sugar-cinnamon mixture, so I put in all the apples (I think I had six or seven at this point). I got it all mixed up, and realized I had made a sort of redneck Rumtopf. I put as much of that as looked reasonable in the first pie shell (which was almost all of it), and had one of the kids put some butter here and there on the apples. It was supposed to be 1 Tbsp. of butter dabbed on the apples, but my daughter was a little over-zealous, and it ended up being quite a bit more than that.

I rolled out a lid, and covered it. The lid broke terribly, so I just sort of jammed it all together and had one of the kids jab some holes in it.

By now, the second pie needed doing. I didn't have enough apples left, so I peeled and cored 3 or 5 more, and threw them into the remaining rum juice. I put some more cinnamon in there, and a dab more rum, then I threw in a handful or so of raisins and mixed it all up.

I put that mixture into the pie shell Ames had put in the casserole dish. At that point, I fixed the pastry, rolled out what was supposed to be a lid, realized it would be a good shell, and put it into the skillet. Then I up-ended the casserole dish over the new shell, and used the pastry from the casserole dish as a lid for the pie. Oh, and I remembered to put some butter over the apples before putting on the lid.

So I can't post my recipe, because I have no idea what is actually in those pies.



Shan said...

Crap, what a gong show.

Michelle said...

I think it's all rather endearing. And amusing to read. I hope they tasted good? One thing Trevor has always stressed to me about cooking/baking is that he doesn't care how ugly my projects turn out as long as they're tasty!

Trev said...

Pies look good... Ludo hungry!