Since I was evil enough to post a picture of Annette’s Apple Pie, it seems only fair that I provide the recipe. This is taken from an old Samhain fantasy blog that’s still out there, somewhere… Consider it my little holiday present. May Christmas find you warm, happy and healthy with all your loved ones around you.
Forbidden fruit and food of the gods, the apple has a hell of a rep to live up to.
I can see why the Greeks and the Norse made golden apples part of the minimum daily requirement for immortality. People have been talking about the health benefits of apples ever since there have been people talking. Plus, in a climate cold enough to grow them, properly stored apples will last longer than almost any other fruit. Dried apples last even longer.
The whole forbidden fruit gig, however, seemed way off-base. The Bible never specified the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Why decided it was an apple? Apples are hard. Why not something fleshy and sensual like a peach or a nectarine? Or that eternal naughty, the cherry?
Some scholars think the Romans are to blame. The Latin word for apple (malus) is very close to the Latin word for evil (malum). The sources for the two words are completely different. But medieval and Renaissance painters of the Garden of Eden didn’t know malus came from the Hittite word for branch and malum from someplace else entirely. The mythological connections probably didn’t help either. If a Greek nymph used it to keep her girlish figure, it had to be bad for your soul. Look what Eris did with her golden apple. One little beauty contest later and Troy was history. From there it was only a little step to wicked stepmothers and Disney dwarves.
Much as I’d like to think an apple a day would keep me young forever, I can’t see it happening. But I do think the fruit is magical, especially at this time of the year when farmers markets and roadside stands offer them by the bushel. Especially in a pie.
With that in mind, I offer Mom’s Apple Pie. No really. This recipe comes from my husband’s mother, and it’s the surest way I know to make bushels of apples vanish. The rectangular pan specified in the recipe became a family tradition because the standard-sized, round version of the pie never lasted long enough for leftovers.
Annette’s Slovak Apple Pie
(Recipe amounts based on a rectangular pan, roughly 12 by 8 by 2 inches.)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
½ lb butter
1/3 – ½ cup cold milk (or more, as needed)
Additional flour for rolling dough
6 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced (or enough to fill the pan with a little mound in the center)
½ cup unseasoned cracker or bread crumbs
1 – 1 ¼ cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the apples)
2 tbsp butter
1 – 2 tbsp flour (only if the apples are very juicy)
Start the crust by sifting the measured flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar together. Add the butter. Mix together with a pastry cutter or two knives (one held in each hand) until the mixture is reduced to even bits of dough about the size of peas. Sprinkle the milk over the dough until you can pat the dough into a large ball. (This part can be done with your hands if you work fast.) Wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least a half hour before rolling the crust on a generously floured surface. Use about 5/8 of the dough for the bottom crust, and don’t be afraid of pushing and patching it in the corners. Return the rolled top crust to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Begin filling the pie by sprinkling the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the crust. Starting with a layer of apples, fill the crust with alternate layers of apples, sugar and cinnamon. Add a light dusting of flour if the apples are very juicy. Dot the final layer of sugar and cinnamon with butter. Cover with the top crust and seal the edges. Vent the crust by slashing or pricking it in a decorative pattern. Bake at 350 degrees until the apples are tender and the crust is brown, usually between 45 minutes and an hour. Let cool as long as you can stand it before cutting. Enjoy!