Saturday, October 2, 2010
Inspiration From Mitford: Apple-Pie Baking
“Miss Sadie Baxter was the last surviving member of one of Mitford’s oldest families. At the age of eighty-six, she occupied the largest house in the village, with the most sweeping view. And she owned the most land, much of it given over to an aged but productive apple orchard. In fact, the village cooks said the best pies weren’t made of Granny Smiths, but of the firm, slightly tart Sadie Baxters, as they’d come to be called.”
Aftering reading this passage, I felt inspired to create SOMETHING with apples in it. Though I don’t have any Sadie Baxters to put in my crusts, we do have a bumper crop of Golden Delicious down in the basement. And this being Autumn, it’s the perfect time to bake apple pies.
I recently tried a new pie crust recipe – one that you don’t have to roll out. I found it in a Martha Stewart magazine and adapted it a smidge. Last Saturday I made two Apple Crumb Pies using this shortbread crust recipe, and M. declared them the best he’s ever tasted.
Press-In Shortbread Crust – makes two 9” crusts
Stir together 6 tabl. of softened butter and 6 tabl. of sugar (I used 2 tabl. of Sun Crystals instead). Add in two large egg yolks. Lastly, add 2 C. flour and 1 ½ tsp. salt. Mix, divide and press into the bottoms and up the sides of two 9” pie plates. Freeze for 20 minutes. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then let cool a bit and fill. (This recipe calls for the crust to be baked a little before adding the filling and baking again. I usually do this anyway with any crust I make as this helps to prevent a soggy bottom pie crust.) This crust has a flavor similar to a shortbread cookie – unique and delicious!
For Apple Crumb Pie:
Slice plenty of apples to fill Shortbread Crusts and sprinkle generously with cinnamon. Sprinkle top with Pie Crumbs (see recipe below) and bake at 375 for about 50 minutes or until you see a bit of juice bubbling and bottom apples are tender. (You may need to cover pie with foil so the crust doesn’t get too brown.)
Pie Crumbs – enough for 2 pies
Mix 2 C. flour and 1 C. sugar (OR ½ C. Splenda OR 6 tabl. Sun Crystals). Add 6 tabl. of softened butter and ¼ tsp. baking soda; mix well until crumbly.