Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Good Ole American Apple Pie

I have a confession to make. These past few recipes I made a couple weeks ago when I was home. I was cooking so much and wanted to share so many of the recipes but didn't want to throw them all at you at once. So I stockpiled. Don't hate me for it, but trust me you don't want what I have been cooking in my new London home just yet. I have been so preoccupied with getting settled that I've been living off of microwave meals and toast. And jet lag hasn't helped. My eating times are way off. I can't seem to shake it. I know I need to stop napping but with only 3 hours of sleep at night its almost impossible not to. Oh well, I will figure it out soon enough.

Until then, I will give you a really American recipe: Apple Pie. But to make it a little relevant I have researched (via wikipedia like all good college students do) the history of apple pie. It turns out that Americans have been making pie since the 18th century. But do you want to know how long the Brits have been making it? Since about 1381 in which the ingredients listed were "good apples, good spices, figs, raisins and pears"

Somewhere along the way, however, apple pie became an American tradition. Some people claim that in prohibition times, the Apple Marketing Board of New York State was hurting from the lack of cider production so they started slogans such as "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and "as American as apple pie."

Also, during WWII the stock answer for soldiers as to why they were going into the war was "for mom and apple pie" and Chevrolet used the phrase "baseball, hotdogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet" to appeal to patriotism.

Interesting how a traditional English food was made into a sign of American patriotism huh? But I guess England was our mother country so a lot of our culture has been adapted from them. And it seems that when it comes to apple pie we may have outdone their recipe. A couple of my friends had apple pie at an English cafe and took one bite and scooted it to the side. Here is a pie that follows the American pie tradition and I don't believe would ever be scooted to the side:

Classic American Apple Pie
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 tart Granny Smith apples, sliced and peeled
Non-dairy milk and sugar for dusting

First preheat the oven to 450 degrees F as it might take the oven awhile to reach this temperature.

Now roll out the dough. I think I mention all of this in the pie crust recipe post, but there are a few things to keep in mind when rolling out the dough. First, you can do it one of two main ways. (1) the old school way with a large surface and everything floured or (2) between two pieces of parchment paper. I have found that sometimes the dough still sticks to the parchment paper however. So it is not a full-proof method at least for me. I generally use the old-school way. Another thing to keep in mind is that sometimes it is hard to get the crust into the pie plate in all one piece. Don't worry you can patch it together in the pie plate. There is no gluten, so you cannot overwork the dough. I had to patch mine together and in the end it still looked and tasted good. Also, once you have rolled out the bottom pie crust put the other half back into the fridge while you assemble the rest of the pie to keep it cold.
Ok, so now that you have rolled out the bottom crust and it is in the pie plate, mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Add the peeled apple slices and mix well. I do not have a handy apple peeler or anything so I end up spending far too long peeling all of it with a knife and end up making a mess of the kitchen with my peelings, but hey a messy kitchen is a used kitchen.
Once you have mixed everything together, layer the covered apples evenly all around the crust, fitting them together as tightly as you can. Every once in awhile take any clumps of sugar and cinnamon at the bottom of the bowl (if you have some) and sprinkle over the apples. Keep layering until you have used up all of the apples, even if you have to make a mound on top. Actually, a mound makes the pie oh so much better

Now dot the pie with vegan butter, meaning layer small pieces of butter evenly distributed on top of the apple mixture. I just take two tablespoons of a stick of Earth Balance and shave off little pieces all over the top with a knife. Now roll out the top layer of the crust and lay it over the top of the pie. Trim any excess edges and pinch the edges of the two crusts together. Brush the top of the crust with any non-dairy milk of your choosing and sprinkle lightly with sugar. This will give a crisp sweetness and shine to the outside of your pie. Make a few slits in the top of your pie to help with ventilation during baking.
And now its time to bake! Bake for 40-50 minutes at 450 degrees. If you need to you can cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil if they start to get too brown somewhere along the baking process. When it is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool a bit and then you have a simple and beautiful apple pie that should have you waving an American flag and drinking coke out of a glass bottle while singing the national anthem. Enjoy!


  1. Who knew apple pie was so British? I sure didn't! But I guess it makes sense. Thanks for the info, Erica!

    I think my favorite shot of this pie is when you pile the spiced apples into the pie. Glorious! Apple pie works in every season, in my book. ;)

  2. I think apple pie works all year round too! and apples are one of the only fruits I can find relatively cheaply all year round as well.

    And I must say that's my favorite picture as well. I am trying to practice my food photography but without much luck. Close-up object shots are not my photo forte. Your pictures on your blog are so beautiful you may have to give me some pointers.