In our book Northern Hospitality, we include a selection of apple pies from early New England, including some that originated in England. We've got recipes for "An Apple Pudding," by E. Smith from 1739 (a delightful custard pie), "An Apple Pye," by Hannah Glasse from 1747 (made in a dish, with no bottom crust and an elegant puff pastry topping), and even a poisonous one, Elizabeth Raffald's "A Codling Pye"(1769), in which the recommended method for cooking the codlings in a brass pan with vine leaves produced toxic verdigris! But let's leave those English cooks and their recipes be for now, and make a real American apple pie. Our all-time favorite early American version is a straightforward rendition by a great nineteenth-century American woman, Lydia Maria Child. Read our book--or just look around online--if you want to know more of Child's fascinating life. And after you do, may we suggest that in honor of her service to humanity, her personal integrity, her creativity--or simply because she was a great cook--you make her luscious apple pie?
A NINETEENTH-CENTURY APPLE PIE
This lightly sweetened, subtly spiced deep-dish apple pie is based on Lydia Maria Child's "Apple Pie," in The American Frugal Housewife (1833). The recipe, with commentary, can be found in Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald's Northern Hospitality: Cooking by the Book in New England (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011), p. 313.
MAKES ONE NINE-INCH PIE
Preheat oven to 400°F.
10 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2-3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 9-inch pie crusts, store bought (or make from the "Short Pastry" handout)
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons water
1⁄2 cup rosewater
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Note: This pie requires a deep-dish pie plate.
Line a pie plate with one of the unbaked crusts, line this with parchment paper or aluminium foil, and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, lift out the lining, prick the bottom of the crust, and allow to cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 425°F. Mix the sugar and spices into the apple slices and cook, stirring often, until the apple slices are soft. Add the rosewater, lemon peel, lemon juice and salt.
Fill the bottom crust with the cooked apple mixture and dot with the butter. Put on the top crust, carefully crimping both crusts together.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes Reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 50 minutes. During the final five minutes of baking, mix together the egg yolk and water.
Remove the pie from the oven and brush the top crust with the egg-water wash. Return the pie to the oven and bake 10 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden.
Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.