For years, I missed out on the delicacy that is apple pie. In my picky eating phase from ages 1-11, I refused to eat any pie other than my grandmother's chocolate pie, which was really no more than pudding in crust. (That's a recipe I will share before Thanksgiving though, because it is sooo good with fresh whipped cream.) My resolve was tested though after picking a fresh quart of blackberries that grew in a field behind our home one fine summer mornig. I decided I needed to taste the...ahem...fruit of my labors after my mom took the berries and made a small pie. Cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, warm berries...I was hooked. Why had I forsaken pie for so many years?! Why?!
Apple pie didn't sink in until a few years later...my former mother-in-law made one that was (is) extraordinary. After trying it, I set out to make a pie as good as hers, and years later when I made one for her, she declared mine was superior (she even seemed a little defeated at this pronouncement). Perhaps she was just being gracious, but I have had plenty of compliments since then, from tough critics. Still, she served hers with homemade fried chicken...mmm...that meal still stands out in my mind as one of the best I've ever eaten.
I take apple pie very seriously. As stated here before, I wouldn't use a prepackaged crust under any circumstances, and ready made pie filling? You can't be serious. Of all the pastries I make, this one is the most time consuming and physically taxing. But you top a warm piece of pie with fresh ice cream, and I'll bet a lot of your troubles slip away in that moment. There are always squabbles in the house when I make apple pie, there's never enough to go around and resentment is thick toward anyone who is perceived to have indulged in more than their fair share.
This woman's repertoire is my favorite section in my vast cookbook collection. The photography is gorgeous and drool inducing-just look at that tart-it makes you want to nibble on the dustcover. The text, far from being dry, is precise and helpful. Beranbaum includes essays with some of the recipes enhancing the entertainment value of the tome.
Click here for Rose's recipe for The Best All-American Apple Pie.
The only changes I make to Rose's Apple Pie are increasing the quantity of apples and spices (I double her spice quantities), and I use brown sugar exclusively, rather than a combination of brown and granulated. Oh...all apologies to Rose, but Martha is still my go-to girl when it comes to pie crust.