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.
I could have sworn that I included this recipe a few years ago during NaBloPoMo, but a scan of the archives proves me wrong. (Do you ever go back and read older material and experience a disconnect...an inability to remember writing "that post"? God, I had that feeling a lot going over those musings.)
This pumpin pie isn't too different from the one on the label of Libby's Pure Pumpkin. It is richer, though, and everyone who eats it claims it's the best they've ever had. I want you to buy the can of pumpkin without the spices. You'll add your own, one by one, instead of using pumpkin pie spice which lacks the punch of fresh. One of these days, I'll make the pumpkin from scratch, too, but that plan is on hold until my spare time is more abundant.
One 9 inch pie shell, unbaked
I'm a big advocate of making your own pie crust. It's not that labor intensive, and the end result is worth it. I'm sure that I'm in the minority of people my age who still make homemade crust, but I use Martha Stewart's food processor method. The only real work is rolling it out, which is a task I actually enjoy.
Perfect Pumpkin Pie
1 C firmly packed brown sugar 1 TBSP flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/4 ground allspice
Place all the above ingredients in your mixer bowl and give it a spin for a couple seconds, thoroughly combining them. Add to them:
1 one pound can pumpkin, no spices added 1 1/2 C evaporated milk 1 egg, slightly beaten
Pour pie mix into the crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 350. Bake for 40 to 50 more minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. You need to keep a close eye on the crust so that it doesn't get too brown. I use a pie crust shield to make sure that my pies turn out perfect. The other tool that guarantees success is the Le Creuset Pie Dish. It's the perfect depth for this recipe.
Confession time. I know I should make fresh sweetened whipped cream with this, but I'm a sucker for Cool Whip. My pumpkin pie recipe is so rich that real whipped cream is almost overwhelming. I think that it's probably more nostalgic than anything else though. I grew up with it, and loved coating every inch of my pie with it.