This week is one that I cannot wait to forget. It has been full of worry, trepidation and quiet elation. As my older brother started his first round of cancer treatment, I awaited the results of my own brush with the horrible disease. I, unlike my brother, and my sister before him, was lucky. My tests came back negative. While I am so very happy with my results, it saddens me to think that I escaped what my brother now has to go through alone. My joy may be bittersweet, but I am so very relieved.
What this stressful week has reminded me is that I am so thankful for all of my wonderful friends and family. They have all been such a tremendous support system. In spite of everything, I am truly blessed.
To show my gratitude I wish I could bake for everyone who sent me a positive email, gave me a reassuring smile, a confident hug, a glass of wine or a much needed distraction (like Chinese food and a DVD). Seeing as my list is blessedly long, to do so would have me in the kitchen for weeks. In lieu of all of that baking, I will instead express my thanks and gratitude by sharing my mother's tried and true recipe for her beloved apple pie. This recipe is a bit labour intensive, but I assure you that the end result is more than worth the effort. Ironically, the same can be said about life. I certainly have a new perspective in that regard.
Apple Pie & Appreciation
Pastry Recipe (makes enough for 3 pies)
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 lb lard
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- cold water
~ In a glass measuring cup mix egg, salt, sugar and vinegar.
~ Add enough cold water to egg mixture to make 1 cup.
~ Add this slowly to flour mix and mix/knead well.
~ Divide dough and roll into 6 balls.
~ Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
* Note: Dough may be frozen. I usually place two balls in a freezer bag and freeze for later use. Simply thaw overnight in refrigerator and then allow dough to come to room temperature before using.
When ready to roll out the dough, first wet your counter slightly and place a sheet of wax paper down. The water will help the wax paper to stay in place while you roll out your dough. Sprinkle the wax paper with some flour and roll out pastry using a heavy rolling pin. You may also flour your rolling pin if you find the dough sticking to it.
Lift the wax paper with the rolled out dough on it and place it dough side down in your pie plate. Peel paper off and leave overhanging sides to trim later.
Sprinkle some sugar across the bottom of the dough in your pie plate and put aside until ready to fill.
Roll out your top layer of dough in the same way as described above and put aside until ready to use.
Filling: (enough for one large pie)
- 6-7 large Mutsu apples ~ peeled, cored and sliced.
- 6 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tbsp cream
~ Add apples to above mixture and stir until combined.
~ Spread apple mixture into unbaked pastry shell.
~ Dot with butter and pour cream over top.
~ Cover with top pie crust.
*Hint: slightly wet rim of bottom pastry in pie plate with water to create a better seal before placing the other pastry on top.
~ Press down all around the edge of the pie plate with your thumb or a fork to create a fancy edge and seal the top and bottom pastry together. Cut a few slots in the top, middle of your pie to allow steam to escape.
~ Brush the top of your pie with a tbsp of milk and sprinkle it with sugar. This will give it a golden brown and flaky finish.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until apple mixture is bubbly.
*Note: To prevent your pie from making a mess in your oven place pie on a baking sheet to catch any spillage if the apple mixture bubbles over.