Just Like Winter Apple Pie

The first part of the paper I read is the comics. Honestly, this is the main reason I subscribe which I reason is ok since my roommate shares the cost in order to receive the crossword and sudoku. First thing in the morning, I sit down with my coffee, open the paper and take out the Life section.

Except on Wednesday’s. These mornings I am distracted by grocery store advertisements. Will I be allowed salt and vinegar kettle chips or maybe Haagen Dazs this week, which staples should I replenish – butter or wine, what craving will be sated by this weeks produce specials? At this moment, the Sunday meal is already being planned.

Two weeks ago, the first cool weather returned to Austin after a summer spent without rain at 104 degrees. Once again I could turn the oven on without discomfort. Somehow the grocery stores knew this, there on the front page were bright green Granny Smith Apples. I could already smell the spicy sweet and tart filling the house.

Yes, this was two weeks before the pie ever made it into the oven. But, while everything, at first, seemed to be against the season’s first major baking, this pie jumped every hurdle as if being carried by three old fates turned Olympians. For two weeks in a row (and now onto a third), the Granny Smith’s have featured prominently in the Wednesday paper.

Already nearing the end of the month’s grocery budget also meant this would be an experiment based on existing pantry supplies -a mix up of this and that.

At the end of a bad week which started with a disappointing shopping trip, included a hair dye, and ended with layoffs at work, this pie had many expectations to live up to. It had many emotions of anger, stress, sadness, and more anger to soothe. It succeeded, it exceeded. And for that, I bestow on it the honor of leading in a new path and a new blog.

This pie embodies why I cook: for joy, happiness, for hurt feelings, for stress, to explore new worlds from the counters of my kitchen.

Just Like Winter Apple Pie

¼ cup finely chopped toasted pine nuts
½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup coconut oil butter plus 1/3 c vegan butter
or, 2/3 cup shortening
5-7 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon salt

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced
¼ cup light brown sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
zest from ½ lemon
Ground Cloves
Cinnamon, just a pinch

½ – ¾ cup blueberries and cranberries combined
¼ cup rum plus a little water if desired

This recipe is based on one from my Mom, which is based on one from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook.

Combine nuts, flours and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or forks until crumb like. Mix in water one tablespoon at a time until dough is moist enough to stay together. Be careful with the final tablespoons, as they aren’t always needed. Divide into two balls, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

The refrigeration time can vary. The coconut butter seems to get hard very fast; in the past I’ve let a dough sit for a little while before being able to roll it out. If using more butter and/or shortening these get soft very fast and it’s better if they are refrigerated longer.

In small pot heat rum over low heat. When hot add in blueberries and cranberries. Add water to cover if needed. Turn off heat, cover and let soak until needed.

In a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, peel, allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Let sit while juices form – about 15-30 minutes.

Drain dried fruit, reserving a spoonful or two of liquid, if desired. Add dried fruit to apple mixture.

Preheat oven to 400°F.
On floured surface roll out one disc of dough into a 9” round. Press into pie dish. Roll out second round. This can cover the pie as is, be cut into lattice or cut into pieces with a shaped cookie cutter – as I did. Pour filling into pie dish. Cover with second round. Press together seams.

Bake about 40 minutes or until crust is browned and filling is bubbly. Cover the crust edges with foil if it starts to brown too much.

Let sit for a few minutes or until you have to eat it. Generally, I prefer all pie cold. However, this one I love warm and accompanied by a mug of coffee or hot tea.

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