Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Homemade Apple Pie

Homemade Apple Pie
Dorcas Annette Walker

I don’t remember the exact age when I made my first apple pie. I started cooking when I was still small enough that I had to stand on a chair by the stove so I’m sure it wasn’t many years later that I started making pies. I do remember the anxious feeling as my father took his first bite of my apple pie and then the surge of triumph when he nodded and smiled in satisfaction. Maybe if I had known that passing my apple pie test would result in making at least four pies a week from then on I wouldn’t have been quite so thrilled. My father was Pennsylvania Dutch and to him the perfect ending to a meal was a piece of pie. His favorite was Homemade Apple Pie. Frankly I became sick of making two apple pies each week, although it got to the place that I could have made them with my eyes shut. I didn’t try as every baking day my father would wheel himself in his wheelchair over to the table where I rolled out my pie crusts to oversee the baking operations with an eagle eye. My mother, when home from working at the hospital, was quite amazed at the speed in which I could whip up a batch of pies. I’ve teased my husband that he married me for cherry pie. When we started going together Dana managed to show up quite frequently at mealtimes- institutionalized cooking stood no chance compared to a home cooked meal. I soon found out that he loved cherry pie. Getting married to me meant freedom from ever making pies again and I joyfully started baking all kinds of cakes. After a month my bewildered husband asked when I was going to bake some pies. I landed back on the earth with a thud. We laugh about it now as I’ve made zillions of pies (with plenty of cakes in-between) since then. Every autumn the sight and smell of apples brings back memories of my childhood baking days and I find myself making a Homemade Apple Pie. There is nothing so cozy on a bleak fall day as tasting a freshly-baked apple pie hot from the oven.

Shortening is a solid fat made from vegetable oils such as soybean and cottonseed used to make baked goods light and flaky. The term “shortening” can be broadly used to apply to any kind of fat used for baking such as: butter, lard, or margarine. Shortening though has a higher smoke tolerance than butter or margarine, needs no refrigeration, and lengthens the shelf life of baked goods. Crisco was first produced in 1911. More recent innovations include: Canola, Corn, and Natural Blend oils along with No-Stick Cooking Sprays. The clear bottles of cooking oil and round cans of shortening are quite a departure from the boxes of lard that I used years ago when making pie crusts.

The aroma of a baking Homemade Apple Pie fills the house with promises of culinary delight. You can also add raisins, chopped nuts, and caramel ice cream topping to the apple pie filling for a different twist. To speed up the process, yet give the flavor of homemade, you can use frozen pie crusts. I also use an apple peeler to peel my apples. Preparation time for my Homemade Apple Pie takes around thirty minutes and one pie serves eight.

Homemade Apple Pie

2½ c self-rising flour
1 c shortening
1 egg
½ c cold water
Mix together flour and shortening- cutting the shortening into the flour with two knives until evenly mixed. Add the egg and stir in the cold water until a ball forms. Roll out half of the dough thin on a floured surface and line in a pie dish. Roll out the rest of the dough on a floured surface for the top crust.

Apple Pie Filling:
Peel and slice up six large or eight medium-sized apples of your choice in a large bowl and add:
1 c sugar
¼ c four
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp allspice
Mix together thoroughly and pour into pie crust.

Line the top crust over the apple filling and seal. Poke holes in the top crust with a knife. Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake the apple pie at 350º for one hour. You can serve the Homemade Apple Pie either hot or cold and you may garnish with a scoop of your favorite ice cream!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@yahoo.com. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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