Welcome Fall! I love fall with it's cooler days, smells of leaves and fireplaces and a bazillion scents of different apples in the produce section. Yesterday, I decided to celebrate that apple smell in a big way. I also decided to take a new cookbook out for a walk around the block.
I've lately been thinking about my heritage, Swedish on both sides with lots of Norwegian, and a little Irish and Scottish mixed in. I guess I can't regret something I didn't have a hand in, so instead let's say that I miss that my family has no Scandi recipes handed down from the Great-greats. I wish I had some little "My great-great grandmother's sweet buns" or some such recipe in my repetoire but since there isn't I decided to explore on my own and find some new traditions based on other people's old ones. One of the books I chose was The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. Finnish by birth, her parents immigrated to the northern states where she lived in a primarily Scandi community. She's since traveled and lived in several Scandi countries, collecting favorite recipes along the way.
While I departed from her apple pie recipe when it came to filling, I absolutely loved, highly reccommend, and will use again the cream pie crust. Rich but very flaky, the pastry was the perfect counterpoint to the crisp clean taste of the apples.
While I've made lots of pie crust recipes, some with shortening or butter or oil, and some with water or iced water or vinegar/water, I'd never before made a crust with cream. And butter. Great for the tongue; not great for the heart. But that's okay because it's only a very once in a great while treat!
Beatrice's Cream Pie Crust appears in the cookbook The Great Scandinavian Baking Book on page 240:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup heavy cream
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cream and mix to amke a soft dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
Glenna's cooks' notes: Beatrice goes on to make a pie pan-less pie but at this point I divided the dough into two, rolled the halves out into circles between pieces of waxed paper and proceeded, laying in the first crust. Next, I piled in the filling compacting it with my hands. Then I topped it with the second crust that I'd cut vents out with a small leaf cookie cutter. I then brushed the top crust with a simple egg wash of only beaten egg and sprinkled the crust with granulated sugar for a shiny top crust once baked.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or or 1 hour 10 minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are bubbly and pierce easily with a fork.
Glenna's Apple Pie Filling
** Note that this is very simple. There's a reason for that. I personally like pies and cobblers where the fruit taste is pure and simple and is a singular experience, so I don't add spices to my apple pie. It's a me thing. I want to taste apples, only apples, and not get distracted by cinnamon and cardomom and allspice and other lovely spices.
5 cups apples, peeled and sliced (For this pie, I used a mix of Gala and Golden Delicious)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Mix all of the ingredients together and mound into pie dish, using you hands to compact the apples if need be. Finish with top crust and egg wash.
For anyone to whom the simple crimped crust is a mystery, it's really very easy:
While we're on the subject of pies, my friend Chris, who's been featured on the blog before, has come across his favorite pie crust from being a dutiful newlywed and making cherry pie, her favorite, for his bride on an evening when she worked and he didn't. She came home to a breakfast of homemade cherry pie and milk. Impressive, eh? Kendall thought so too! If I remember right, this is Chris's first attempt at pie making. Didn't he do well?????
Chris's Cherry Pie:
Chris's Bisquick Pie Crust & Pie Recipe
2 1/2 cups Bisquick
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp melted butter
up to 1 cup of milk
Mix first four ingredients together and then add milk a little at a time until dough can be held together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Divide dough in half and roll into crusts between sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off first plastic wrap, flip crust upside down into pan, and peel off second wrap.
When bottom crust is in pan, bake crust at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until very lightly browned. Place canned pie filling of choice in bottom crust. Top with second crust, make vents for steam to escape, and cut off any crust overlapping edge.
Bake pie at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until top crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.