An Ode to Pie
I am going to give you the recipe for what I call, the pie of my childhood. My mom was a stay-at-home farmer's wife with five children and she Baked. Her. Heart. Out. In addition to loaves of freshly baked and buttered french bread, I came home most days to pies. In high school, my cousin and I would go for a three mile run along our road and without a word, return home and head straight for the drawer. We each pulled out a fork, grabbed a pie, and dug directly into the tin until it was gone. Looking back, thank goodness our metabolisms were fast enough to handle that routine!
My mom refers to this as "Swedish Apple Pie." I'm not sure if that is the actual name for the pie and neither I nor she have any idea where it came from. I suspect it was some old Pennsylvania farming cookbook, but I'll never really know. I've never been a fan of pie crust so luckily for me, this pie doesn't require one. The batter crisps up just enough to form a flaky envelope filled with sugary, buttery, baked apples suspended in heaven. You're welcome.
True story. I made this pie six times last week. SIX TIMES. And it wasn't until the sixth time that it lasted long enough for me to snap a few photos. In fact, those photos only got snapped because I announced that no one could eat the pie until said photos were snapped. Further confession--I did not even take these photos, they were snapped by people who wanted to eat the pie so badly that while I was busy doing other things, the next thing I knew my camera was out, click, click, click, and that pie was well on its way to gone!
There are two reasons for six pies and no photos:
1. This pie is that easy. Did I leave a lot of time in between in baking and the events calling for pie? I didn't need to.
2. This pie is that good. Did I mention I won an award with this pie? I made it for a church pie baking contest and of all the sweet little old ladies with decades of pie baking experience, the award went to an 18 year old who hadn't yet learned that cooking rice is different than cooking pasta. So sorry I'm not sorry about my humble pie!
Pies one through three: I made these all at once as I stayed glued to election night coverage. One pie I gave to my dear friends for his birthday (his wife, who just so happens to be an incredible professional photographer, sweetly sent me a few of these photos), two went to the office with me after election day, and three went to my husband's office. Because really, what's more American than apple pie?
Pie four: Pie four pie, pie four...the details are hazy. Oh yes, pie four! I made this for a group of friends I hosted for dinner at our place. Folks, this is where the adventure came in. We packed seven people into our cozy little condo, all arriving within minutes of one another, all armed with food. We were in and out of my galley kitchen laughing and talking and catching up, and someone asked if they could heat their chicken in the oven with my pie. Someone else turned on a burner and began cooking vegetables. Twenty minutes later, my friend went to remove her chicken and gasped, "Is your pie supposed to look like that?!"
Thoughts raced through my head. Did I burn my own pie in my own kitchen? The shrill of the smoke alarm sent me crashing back into reality and as people raced in all directions to open windows and doors, with one eye on my now blackened pie, I dove to pull it out of the oven. This is when I noticed the oven had been turned to FIVE HUNDRED DEGREES!
Again, a series of emotions. Relief that I knew the cause of the burnt pie, heartbreak over the fact that it was burnt, and resolve. As I gingerly handcut around the burnt parts, I announced that my guests were going to eat the pie anyway to make me feel better! And you know what? They did. And you know what? IT WAS STILL AMAZING. Yes, I skipped over the part where I covered the pie in tin foil and transferred it in and out of the oven for the next hour in hopes to coax out the uneven baking. BUT STILL.
Pie Five: Shoutout here to my three year old niece, Lilly. See? This pie is so easy that even a three year old can make it. And a grown-up with some amount of control freak can be totally ok with that. I peeled and sliced apples Lilly handed to me and passed them back to her to place in the pie dish. She unwrapped the butter, poured in the flour, sugar, and egg, and sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar. Lilly, who announced she was not a fan of apple pie at the beginning of our little cooking class, most certainly changed her mind. I told her the secret ingredient was love. Melt.
Pie Six: Made Sunday afternoon immediately following pie five, pie six was going to celebrate either the Seahawks or the Patriots win with dinner guests because let's be honest, when Steve asked me where the ball was, I told him it was under the couch. Hey, in my defense, I was thinking about our pup's ball!
Pie six isn't completely finished, but it will be. My husband told me earlier that he's been saving his macros all day for it.
Swedish Apple Pie
4 Golden Delicious applies
1 T cinnamon
1 T sugar
3/4 c. butter
1 c flour
1 c sugar
Peel and core apples. I use a vegetable peeler and an apple corer. It takes all of five minutes or less. Sprinkle apples with sugar and cinnamon. Heat butter over stovetop, stirring occasionally so as not to burn. Alternatively if you're in a hurry, you can microwave it. Whisk in flour. Whisk in sugar. Let cool for a minute or two and add egg. Pour batter over apples. Bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes. I've been doing 60 minutes. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sugar upon removing and cooling.
From my kitchen to yours, just in time for Thanksgiving. Happy baking!