Apple pie

Who doesn’t like pie?


I no longer live just down the road from Linvilla Orchards, but it’s still that time of year. Apple season. Apple pie season.

Consider this an apple-pie (or other-pie) tips and recipes open thread.

(But don’t feel constrained to stick to the topic of pie. I mainly just wanted to get another thread up for an alternative to the likely more contentious previous post on you-know-what.)

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  • SchrodingersDuck

    Which of the past cultures in England (Briton, Anglo/Saxon, Norman) originated the strange custom of giving names to all the measurements? Teaspoon/tablespoon/cup/pint/gallon, inch/foot/yard/mile, pence/shilling/quid/pound
    It’s really a mixture of all of them. In the days before reliable, calibrated measuring equipment and widespread numeracy, it was easier to simply invent a new unit than try to build one out of older units. If a farmer is asked “how large is your field”, he could go out and measure the field and do the sums, or he could just say “three teams of oxen can plough it without resting”, and over time, the amount of land a team of oxen could plough without resting was named the furlong. Likewise, if your house was 17 66-foot chains away from the village church, rather than doing the sum 17 x 66 (pretty daunting for people without any mathematical training), you could simply say “I live 17 chains away from the church”.
    Most countries had their own sets of units created in the same way (the French had some lovely ones, such as la boisseau (the bushel) equivalent to precisely 10/27 French cubic feet), but these were forgotten when the metric system became widely accepted. Since the Imperial system is the only one that survived, people now often think of crazy units as being a uniquely British invention.
    Incidentally, the quid is not a seperate currency, it’s just a nickname for the pound (like “buck” is a nickname for the dollar). But then, we do have plenty of other confusing currency, past and present – the guinea for instance is used by bookmakers to represent £1.05 (why, I have no idea). Most of these are a hangover from when the pound was 240 pence, so instead of the regular decimal divisions (5p, 10p, 50p etc.), coins were divided as 3p, 6p, 12p (a shilling) and so on. Trying to convert these into decimal units was a nightmare – the sixpence was redefined as the 2.5pence, and then soon forgotten – and so we now have the relative sane 1,2,5,10,20,50 denominations,

  • Tonio

    Since the Imperial system is the only one that survived, people now often think of crazy units as being a uniquely British invention.
    Thanks. I would blame that holdout on an anti-Continental attitude, which I’ve heard is particular strong among conservatives in that country.
    I already suspected that “quid” was a slang term. My first exposure to such terms was in Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python, and obviously these wouldn’t include explanations of British money. I laughed at the Good Omens joke about the money as well.

  • Okay, this is kind of lame since I use mostly pre-bought ingredients, and I mostly play it by ear with the quantities and process, but hey, it’s a pie, it’s my pie, it’s a savoury mealtime pie that you can eat for dinner. Like a beef pie, except with yellow curry chicken instead.
    400g chicken breast
    1 capsicum, red or yellow
    2 onions, brown
    2 potatoes
    2 pie crusts (homemade or otherwise, not sweet because this is a savoury pie)
    the stuff what does make the sauce (yellow curry paste and coconut milk, typically, but if you know how to make yellow curry then it’s all fine, do it your way)
    1 – Dice the chicken and potatoes, and chop the capsicum and onions. It would be a good idea to start preheating your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Farenheit at this point. Also start some water boiling.
    2 – Brown the chicken, and lightly fry the vegetables. Boil the potatoes, but not too much, as they’ll cook a little in the pie.
    3 – Throw all your cooked stuff in the yellow curry sauce. Simmer for about five minutes.
    4 – Put in pie crust. Put other pie crust on top. Pinch crusts closed, slice spaces in top, all that sort of thing. Bake until crust is cooked, since everything inside is pretty much cooked already, and while the baking won’t do it too much harm (since it’s in a load of sauce, and basically casseroling a little) you don’t want to overdo it.
    5 – Serve, eat, all that.
    If you’re getting too much sauce for too little pie, you might consider adding a roux to thicken the sauce, but I’ve also had success in just adding rice. Seriously. Rice. Right there in the pie. Boiled first, that is.

  • hapax

    But then, we do have plenty of other confusing currency, past and present – the guinea for instance is used by bookmakers to represent £1.05 (why, I have no idea)
    I was so sad when the British currency went decimal, since it was the last remaining vestige of the Imperial Roman monetary system: the pound (L = librium), shilling (s = solidus) and pence (d = denarius).
    I believe the guinea was worth a bit more because it was originally a pound coin struck from less debased gold. I could RTT it, but I’m off work today, and nobody’s paying me to look stuff up.

  • Froborr

    That chicken pie recipe sounds really good, but I have two questions:
    1) What’s a capsicum? I thought it was the genus name for peppers (the fruit — I know black, white, green, and pink pepper and peppercorns are actually berries of the genus Piper). Is it a particular kind of pepper?
    2) Does anyone know of any good substitutes for coconut milk? I love curry, but anything with coconut in it does terrible, terrible things to my digestive tract.

  • cjmr

    Rice milk + a little coconut extract sort of works as a substitute for coconut milk. Not for purists, though.

  • Froborr

    @cjmr: Thanks, but I really can’t eat anything with “coconut” in the name. Even coconut oil triggers the allergy.
    Also, I’ve never heard of rice milk. What is it?
    Anyway, here’s my own favorite savory pie, Leftover Pie:
    Leftover roast or baked chicken, skinned and deboned
    Leftover mashed potatoes
    Leftover peas and carrots
    1 small onion or a couple of shallots, cut up very small (the food processor is your friend)
    Alfredo sauce (I make my own, but a good store-bought one will work fine)
    Mushrooms (I prefer baby portabellas, which in addition to being delicious are dirt-cheap around here for some reason)
    1 pie crust (not sweet)
    Phyllo dough (my grocery store sells it frozen (and calls it Filo) so I have to thaw it)
    1. Saute the mushrooms in butter on low heat until dark and delicious. Near the end, add the onion/shallots for a minute or so, just until they turn translucent around the edges.
    2. Mix chicken, mushrooms, onions, peas, carrots, and alfredo sauce in the pie crust.
    3. In a separate bowl, mix the mashed potatoes with a little bit of alfredo sauce.
    4. Spoon mashed potatoes over top of the stuff in the pie crust.
    5. Cover in phyllo dough.
    6. Bake until crust is cooked and phyllo dough is slightly browned.

  • ToxicFrog

    My favorite sweet pie is a tossup between apple and pumpkin. They’re both so tasty. And it’s the season for both – yay!
    As for savoury pies…well, here’s a recipe I picked up from a friend on IRC. It’s v. tasty and it refridgerates well.
    Crust: standard nonsweetened cold-water crust. A hot-water crust (of the sort used for, eg, Melton pies) would probably also work, but I haven’t tried this.
    (units are US-imperial)
    1 pound of ground beef
    1 onion
    2-3 garlic cloves (or more to taste – I use 2-3 whole ones and another 2-3 minced)
    1/4 cup dill relish or minced dill pickle
    1/3 cup milk
    1/3 cup dill brine
    2 tablespoons flour
    2 cups shredded cheese (I use 2-year sharp cheddar, but anything you would normally put on a cheeseburger and which melts well should work)
    Salt, pepper and other spices (cayenne?) to taste
    – brown the ground beef, onions, and garlic over medium heat
    – once well browned and mixed, mix in the flour, then the minced dill pickles, then the milk and brine, and finally the spices
    – once mixed, add 2/3rds of the cheese (4/3rds of a cup) a handful at a time over medium-low heat, mixing it into a gooey tasty mess
    – spoon into the crust, cook at 375F for ~20 minutes or until it starts bubbling a little
    – put the rest of the cheese on top, stick it until the broiler until it melts and starts to brown
    – let cool briefly and serve
    It’s also delicious the day after, after spending the night in the fridge. Don’t reaheat, just take a slice and nrom.
    In non-pie-related discussion: does anyone know what do to when TypeKey refuses to send you a confirmation email, even after being asked multiple times?

  • cjmr

    Froborr–I’m glad I’m not as allergic to coconut as you are!
    I see we have lots of recipes to try, now…

  • Froborr

    Brandi: Good luck to you. Kosher savory pies are hard. You can’t use lard crust. You can’t put any meat in it if you use a butter crust. Some sort of vegetarian pot pie, maybe?

  • cjmr

    I have an oil pie crust recipe, but it makes really tough crust. Not very flaky. I don’t think it has any dairy in, so that’d be Kosher, wouldn’t it?

  • hapax

    Well, if we’re providing savory pie recipes, here’s my favorite — it’s a sort of bastardized version of bstila:
    Start with a couple of cups of almonds, blanched. Brown ’em in a little hot oil and chop in the food processor. Mix in about a teaspoon of cinnamon.
    Melt a stick of butter (yeah, I mean BUTTER, and a whole quarter pound) in a heavy iron skillet. Saute a chopped onion until clear. Add 4 pigeons, dressed, boned or cut in pieces (or, if for some odd reason, you don’t have pigeons in the freezer, about 2 lbs chicken works fine), salt, pepper, cinammon, saffron (how much? I dunno, maybe between a half and a whole teaspoon each), a bunch each of parsley and coriander, chopped. Simmer until well cooked, adding water if necessary. Remove pigeon/chicken pieces.
    Beat four or five eggs and add slowly to the remaining sauce, stirring constantly, over low heat, until thick.
    Now, for a proper bstila, you’d wrap this in a huge tray of buttered phyllo, but you’re tired, and really, your arteries can’t stand that much more butter. So either make or purchase a large savoury pie crust (I use a standard shortening based one, and an eleven inch pan) and put the meat chunks in the bottom. (If you have phyllo around, put a buttered slice on top. If you don’t, no biggie) Now pour the egg sauce on top of that, and add another leaf of phyllo, if you’re using it. Top *that* with the chopped almonds. Cover with more buttered phyllo, or a top pastry crust.
    Bake in a medium oven for half an hour to forty five minutes, until nicely golden brown. Cool for fifteen to twenty minutes, and sprinkle powdered sugar and more cinnamon over the top.
    A lot of trouble, but divine. And really impressive at dinner parties.

  • hapax

    Brandi, is clarified butter considered parve? After all, the milk solids are removed, aren’t they?
    If so, the recipe I provided is better if you use clarified butter. I don’t, because it’s a pain.

  • hapax

    Over a hundred comments, and we’re still on topic? Shame on us.
    Here’s a diverting thought: both Captain Kangaroo and the Mickey Mouse Club debuted on US television this day in 1955.

  • Don’t get me wrong, because to me pie is representative of All Good Things In Life, but I’m really jonesing for LB Fridays at this point.

  • Jessica

    Hi Tonio–
    yep. Limes come in all sorts and varieties. From my understanding, a proper key lime is actually a little more tart than the Persian ones that are common here in southern California. I am unaware about the kinds of limes that might be available elsewhere in the US. I only know what I do about limes because I’m a drunk (not an alcoholic!) and I really like Mai Tais. The real kind, not that crap with orange and pineapple juice that you get on an airplane. Those can be good, but it’s not a real Mai Tai.

  • Jessica

    And thanks for the savory pie recipes. I might be trying one of them out this weekend!

  • Lauren

    Oh! I know this one! Capsicum is British for Bell Pepper. I had a UK-published cookbook with photos. ;)
    And I think rice milk is like soy milk, except made with rice. Probably found in the vegan milk substitute section of your grocery store.

  • rice milk is like soy milk, except made with rice
    Yup. Handy for those who are allergic to both dairy and soy, and don’t desire to actually starve to death.

  • Lauren

    Those who are allergic to dairy and soy, can probably still eat lots of things besides rice milk. [/nitpick] Peanuts, anyone?

  • Cowboy Diva

    They make milk out of peanuts?

  • Lauren is right! Sorry, it just keeps not occurring to me. It’s a bell pepper. You can use other varieties of pepper if you want, but these have just the right combination of sweet and not-spicy. For that reason, I’d recommend against green; they’re a bit tart for the pie.
    If you have those long (and therefore not spicy) saxophone-shaped peppers, you could use those, but then you’re missing the chance to fry them on each side until a little blackened, fry up a mixture of beef mince/ground beef, onion, carrot, and celery, spiced with curry, cumin, and the like, stuff the peppers with the mixture and bake them for thirty minutes.

  • Peanuts
    Nope, allergic to them too. And beef. I’d never heard of that one.
    We feed him lots of chicken and pork.
    mmm, bacon

  • Well, we haven’t made an apple pie yet this year, but my wife did make apple crumble (from locally-grown apples, of course). Yum!
    Last weekend my 3-year-old son’s Funshop class took a field trip to the Apple Barn Orchard in Chatham, Illinois. One of the things we get there were matsu apples, which were a new variety for us. They are fabulous! Much too good for a pie, however. :-)

  • Here is the best apple pie recipe I know.
    You will need:
    I recipe pie dough (if you want the one I use, just ask)
    6 cups sliced Jonagold or Golden Delicious apples
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3 Tbs cornstarch
    4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    3 large egg yolks, beaten
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/4 cup milk
    2 Tbs lemon juice
    For topping:
    11 tbs unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1 2/3 cup flour
    1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the apples, put them in a bowl, and squeeze a bit of lemon over them to keep them from browning. Roll out the crust, shape it into a pie shell, and pile the apples into it.
    In a large bowl or food processor, blend the sugar, cornstarch, butter and egg yolks. Process until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cream, milk and lemon juice and process again until smooth. Set aside.
    To make the crumb topping, put the butter and brown sugar in the workbowl of a processor and process until well blended. Add the flour and cinnamon and process until it forms medium-sized crumbs.
    Pour the custard filling over the apples in the pie shell, then sprinkle the topping evenly over it. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. (It’s a good idea to put a baking sheet under the pie. This may make it take longer to bake, but it will catch any custard that might overflow.)
    Good still warm — even better after being refrigerated overnight.

  • I have two shopping bags of apples to use, and my freezer is already full of apple sauce and apple cake. (The apple pie and the apple crumble is already eaten.) Thank you for the tips.

  • I make pretty good pies (blushes slightly) and I have found that butter at a cool room temperature* works better than ice-cold or frozen butter. It should be just slightly malleable. It blends into the flour much faster than hard butter. Of course, I do this by hand or with a three-tined cooking fork. If you use a food processor, the results may be different. All pies are wonderful, but apple pie made from New England apples in the fall is food of the gods.
    *The temperature of an unheated kitchen in October works fine.

  • Jeff

    cjmr’s mother-in-law
    Wouldn’t that be your mother? Or is there a weird relationship going on?
    Is that a bell pepper? Because capsicum is the stuff in hot peppers that makes them hot — you don’t cook with it, normally.
    Answered by Lauren. Thanks, Lauren!

  • Wouldn’t that be your mother? Or is there a weird relationship going on?
    Yes, that’s my mother, nothing weird there.
    “Weird” is on the other side. How lucky I am to have both a primary mother-in-law and a backup…

  • Am I the only one who sees that cjmr’s hubby has posted a new comment, then immediately clicks to find out if the seedling has actually sprouted yet?
    Thunderstorms. That’s the ticket.

  • hapax

    Thunderstorms. That’s the ticket.
    I swear by a big helping plate of fried potstickers (gyoza). Slides them puppies right out, every time.

  • hagsrus

    The spoons with which I grew up were:
    Tea spoon — essentially the same as the US version.
    Dessert spoon — midway between the teaspoon and the US tablespoon.
    Table spoon — a big spoon used for serving, not for eating.
    The guinea was 21 shillings (one pound plus one twentieth of a pound) and was commonly used for professional fees (“we get the shillings now”, I believe his clerk informed Rumpole after the war) and also for more expensive items of clothing.
    Hours and hours and hours were spent doing “money sums” at school.
    The pint/gallon spectrum was larger measure than the US versions — I don’t know if they are in use any longer.
    School exercise books usually had tables on the back — multiplication plus the various schemes of measurement. In the days before I had any geometry instruction I derived a kind of mystical thrill from the mysterious words which went subversively diverging from the familiar time litany:
    60 seconds = one minute
    60 minutes = one degree
    360 degrees = the circle of the Earth

  • cdt

    Peaches. Nectarines.
    Peach slices in the dehydrator.
    Peach cobbler with oatmeal bits and butter.
    Peach butter in crockpots.
    Nectarine butter, cooking now.
    Yes, it’s irrational putting things up, but it’s what I can do to preserve this time, when the future might bring less peaches in my life.

  • We tried the potstickers last week.

  • Cowboy Diva

    1 tsp = 5cc and 1 tbsp = 15cc for your liquid medication dosing protocols
    and for reasons I can’t understand medical providers tend to say milliliter instead of cubic centimeter, even though in the house style of at least 3 medical publishers (sanders, mosby and lippincott, since merged all to hell) it was standard procedure to replace all instances of “ml” with “cc.”
    Stupid farking details. stupid farking medical publishing industry