Friday, June 4, 2010

As American as Apple Pie


Correction: Usually at work I don't have time to blog...because I'M WORKING! And since I sit at a computer all day, the last thing I want to do is blog when I get home at night. Plus, I'm usually busy planting, weeding, mulching, baking, etc.

Last night I spent ALL NIGHT BAKING! It was kind of fantastic! I started out by making an apple pie for my new neighbors, then made dinner for me and my bro, followed by 2 loaves of banana bread. It was a long night. (But fun!)

My new neighbors moved in about a month ago, and I am just now getting around to meeting them. (Better than the 9 months it took for me to meet the other neighbors who ended up being introduced to me by a coworker.) They include a momma, a daddy, a three year old girl and a baby girl.

They moved into a house with a very neglected yard that was previously inhabited by a bunch a college kids. Since moving in, they have completely cut down all of the wild mess and are working to make the yard super beautiful. I can't tell you how happy this makes me! Before they moved in, I threatened to spray Round-Up on the yard in the middle of the night. It was that bad. Now its all gone, and its lovely!

I really like my new neighbors, so I made them an easy apple pie. I hope it tasted good, but here's the recipe:

Traditional Apple Pie

3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2-3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3-4 tbsp. butter, cut into small squares
1 frozen, 9-inch deep dish pie crust
1 flat (rolled) pre-made pie crust (You could just buy the flat kind and put one in a pie plate for the bottom and one on top)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once preheated, "prebake" bottom crust for about 5-10 minutes. Mix dry ingredients in bowl and set aside. Peel, core and slice apples and set in a bowl. If desired, sprinkle with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. Mix dry ingredients with apples and pour into pie crust. Place butter squares on top.

For top crust: Roll out flat pie dough and slice (with pizza slicer or knife) into long strips. Lay strips on top of crust in a basket weave pattern. Pinch top crust to connect to bottom crust. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top, if desired, for a little added sweetness.

Bake at 375 degree for 30-45 minutes.


Now, last night I did not use the basket weave pattern. I arranged the strips on top of each other to form a starburst pattern. I know, I should have taken a picture. I have also used a solid piece of dough on the top before, and cut little teardrop holes in it for a design. You can get really creative with your top crust.

I also use a pie crust shield to protect my edges from browning too quickly or burning. These cost just a few dollars, and are available at most home goods stores.

The recipe above was a first for me. I had never made this one before, and I hope it turned out okay. I looked really good! I guess my neighbors will tell me? Or not? Ha ha! However, I do have a "never fail" apple pie recipe that I typically make. It came from the Bell's Best Cookbook (I think in # 1, because I don't have that one, and I have it hand written in the front of # 2.)

In case you aren't from Mississippi, every true Southern cook I know has a set of Bell's Best Cookbooks. They are by the local AT&T Pioneers. I have #2 & #3. My mom has the first 3, and my grandmother has at least the first 2. My mom's books are so used that the pages are stained, falling out and the book is being held together by a rubberband. She's gotten her money's worth out of those! The Bell's Best cookbooks taught me how to cook when I was a kid!!! All of the first recipes I made came from one of them. Its like the Mississippi version of the Joy of Cooking! Trust me! Its a good investment!!!

You can view my Bell's Best Dutch Apple Pie recipe here.

If you want to buy a Bell's Best, go here. I think I need to get # 1 and # 4 to round out my collection...

What's your favorite cookbook?

(Side note...since we are on a cookbook kick, I met with a new vendor yesterday and his company prints a bunch of cookbooks. He asked if I liked to cook, and I said..."Uh...yes!!!" He's going to send me some samples! YEAH!!!! I can't wait!)

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