Sunday, July 4, 2010

Glory, Glory, Halleluia: Glorified Apple Pie

It's a hot, sunny fourth of July here in Washington, DC. Chefly Husband and I took our dog down to the Palisades parade, bought lemonade from a lemonade stand, ate sausages off the grill, and shouted "votes for candy" at more than one passing politician. Yes, it's a right proper Independence Day! In light of that, we'll take a slice of Americana from Favorite Recipes from Matinicus Island Maine-- apple pie.
Glorified Apple Pie

Prepare McIntosh apples as for regular apple pie, and place on bottom crust. Mix 3/4 sugar and 1 package of strawberry jello. Add this to apples, put on top crust and bake as usual. Wonderful served with ice cream.

--Adella Ames
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet, folks.

Adella Ames (yes, another Ames...the same surnames repeat throughout the cookbook. It's a small island, after all.) assumes you have a usual way of making an apple pie. I assume nothing of the sort.

You need pie crust enough for a bottom crust and a top crust. Use your favorite pie crust recipe; of course, if you have a favorite pie crust recipe, you probably don't need to be told how to make a pie. So, you know, feel free to use the pre-made crust in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store. I won't tell, and as long as you use the fridged stuff and not the frozen stuff, odds are no one will really notice you didn't make it yourself. Line your pie plate/tin with one of the crusts, and then put it in the fridge to stay nice and cold.

Next, take a big ol' mixing bowl, and put it near your apple peeling and chopping station. Don't have one? Of course you do. Any cutting board will do, and I'd recommend using a vegetable peeler to peel your apples, but if you want to pare your apples with a paring knife, more power to you. Extra style points if you get the peel off in one long spiral (though, again, if you're that practiced, you're probably not in need of a walk through of pie making). You'll need about 8 apples. Peel 'em, cut 'em into quarters, and cut away the seeds and core. The seeds and core go in your compost bin or trash bin, not the pie.

Use your handy dandy paring knife and cut the apple quarters into bite-sized chunks, and put the chunks in the bowl. Sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over that a couple tablespoons of flour -- the flour will help the pie set up, though I'm guessing that with the Jell-o, you're not going to really need it. I often forget it; it will still taste good. Squeeze in about half a lemon worth of lemon juice. Mix it all up, take the pie plate out of the fridge, and pour the apple mixture out into the crust, mounding it up in the middle if you have extra. Take a tablespoon or so of butter, and cut it into little chunks, and put those chunks sort of randomly over the apples. That's called dotting with butter. Now you know. At this point, you've prepared a pie "as usual," and can pick up with the instructions from Adella.

The top crust will need to be vented -- you need to make vents in it to let out the steam of the apples cooking. You can get all sorts of fancy, cutting out shapes, making a lattice out of strips of pastry, or whatnot, but for your first pie, I'd say just cut a few slits in the crust with your paring knife. Lay the top crust over the apples, and seal the edges of the two crusts together, either with your fingers or the tines of a fork (pressing down with the flat bit). A 350°F oven is your friend, and cook until your crust is pretty and brown and there's appley goodness coming out a bit.

Now you, too, have a usual apple pie method. You'll get fancier as you go, with the aforementioned crust treatments, egg washes, crumble topping, mixed fruits, etc., but this gets you going.

Happy Independence Day.


  1. But does the strawberry jell-o add anything other than a strange gelatinous texture and day-glo color to the activities? I mean really.

  2. I'm assuming it adds flavor, moisture, binding, color, and magical mystery whatnot. What the hell, give it a try the next time you have 16 apples--do a side-by-side comparison.