Tuesday, December 18, 2012

American Gothic House Apple Pie

In my last post I talked about my friend Beth Howard who was driving this RV (which she calls The Beast) across the country towards to New Jersey to bake pies for the residents and first responders in Newtown, CT.  Beth got to her friends' house in New Jersey where pie baking was already taking place.  It's amazing how social media fueled this journey. 
                       Peter Melick, of Melick orchards, donated 150 pounds of apples---what a guy!
Pie uniting people to help deal with the unthinkable
Beth's volunteers are amazing
This group put the initials of each lost angel on the pies
Pies loaded into The Beast

Beth's signature is Apple Pie, and that's what the volunteers were baking for Newtown.  I thought I'd share her recipe for Apple Pie and hope you all will pray for Beth and her crews as they bake and try to help heal the residents in Newtown.  

American Gothic House Apple Pie

For the Crust

2 ½ c. flour (but have at least 3 ½ cups on hand, as you'll need extra flour to roll dough and thicken filling)
½ c. vegetable shortening
½ c. butter
Dash of salt
Ice water (fill one cup, but use only enough to moisten dough)

1. In a large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour with your hands until you see marble-size lumps form.
2. Pour in ice water a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour to mix in liquid. When the dough feels moist, do a “squeeze test” and if it holds together you’re done. Your dough should feel tacky, but not wet. (Do not overwork the dough! It takes very little time and you’ll be tempted to keep touching it, but don’t!)
3. Divide the dough in 2 balls. Form each ball into a disk shape. Roll flat and thin to fit your pie dish.
4. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface.
5. Trim excess dough around the edges with scissors so that it is about 1 inch wider than the dish edge.

For the Filling

7 large Granny Smith apples, depending on size of apples and size of pie dish  
2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more, depending on how much you like)
¾ c. sugar       
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (to put on top of apples before covering with top crust)
4 Tbsp. flour    
1 beaten egg (to brush top crust before putting in oven)
Dash of salt
1.      Lay the prepared bottom crust into the pie dish. Slice half of the peeled apples directly into the pie, arranging and pressing them into the dish to remove extra space between slices.
2.      Cover with half of your other ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt), then slice the remaining apples, and cover with second half of ingredients. Add dollop of butter.
3.      Cover with top crust and crimp edges, then brush with the beaten egg (this gives the pie a nice golden brown shine). Use a knife to poke vent holes in the top crust (get creative here with a unique pattern if you want).
4.      Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
5.      Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or so, until juice bubbles. Poke with a knife to make sure apples have softened. Do not over bake or apples will turn mushy.

Beth says that since life is messy, your pie doesn't have to be perfect --Someone wrote on Beth's Facebook page, "maybe compassion is as American as apple pie"---I am praying that is true. 

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