When I was a little girl, I was not allowed to use paring knives because they were dangerous, so sometimes I would sneak off to the high rafters in the barn to sit and cut pieces off an apple one at a time with my pocket knife (named Mack). I would put them in my mouth with Mack’s blade and savor the tangy sweetness, just like my uncles did. When I looked at the apple, I didn’t only think of the family and the community that worked together to process it. It was beautiful, and I could see its future.
One day, a boy would come to the Farm House and Grandma would say to him, “I just made some apple dumplin’s. Sit down and have some.” The following Spring, if the boy was still hanging around, he’d get his own apple pie. Of course, that would lead to his proposal of marriage, and, consequently, there would be an applesauce cake for a wedding shower, then a baby shower. In time, one of the baby’s first foods would be applesauce, then she would cut her teeth on homemade bread with apple butter. Soon, she would be able to help with the apples, get dumplings to eat with her friends, share a pie with her sweetheart, and make applesauce for her baby, bringing everything full circle. It was predictable and perfect, and it gave order and meaning to my life.
Recipe for Farmhouse Apple Pie/ Marriage Proposal Apple Pie
First, prepare Farmhouse Pie Crust by combining:
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoon of lard or shortening (but lard really DOES create a more classic crust)
3 teaspoons of ice-cold water (the cold of the water mixed with fat creates the flakiness)
Blend and fold the ingredients with a fork, but do not overmix or overwork the dough. Next, gently shape into fist-size balls to roll out for a top and a bottom pie crust layer.
8-10 pared, cored, & sliced apples
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 Teaspoon of cinnamon
1/3 cup of melted butter
Line the bottom of pie pan with one ball of dough rolled out into a circle of about 11 inches in diameter. Fill the pie shell lined with rolled dough with your apple mixture. Roll out your second ball of dough into an 11 inch diameter circle and cover the apple mixture. Pinch the two layers of pie dough with your fingers so that the juices do not leak out while baking and burn on the oven floor.
Cut 5 1-inch slits into the top of your pie crust to allow heat to reach the apples and fully cook them.
Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of cinnamon and sugar to make the pie pretty.
Bake at 400 degrees until the crust is a golden-walnut brown and the house is engulfed by the smell of hot apple pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream.
Copyright 2018, Christine M. Snow