Shaping a Genesis week from the chaos of my life
I put my elbows on the counter, drop my forehead to my hands. Smush leans into me, stretches herself up on two legs, uses my knee for support. As I reach for her treats, I notice my pie still on the rack where I’d left it to cool. I pull it closer, reach in the drawer and grab a fork. I gently test the middle of the pie. The crust is crispy but yielding. I flake a few pieces, then plunge the fork right into it. I pull out a few pieces of apple, some crust, some slippery gooey sauce and put it in my mouth, cupping the fork with my other hand. As I chew, I begin to sob again. It’s hard to swallow but I fear choking more. I force myself to make it go down. I stab the pie several more times with my fork, then set it down and walk to my room.
That pie is perfection.
Hannah, in Griptape
I have a confession to make. I couldn’t make pie crust until I was 50 or so. My friend Nancy Rue gave me her recipe, which her godmother had given to her. What an honour.
Best of all, it’s fantastic! I thought the first time I made it, the success was a fluke, because I was absolutely convinced I could not make pie crust. But I’ve managed to succeed several times since. There will never be another pastry recipe for me.
In my novel, Hannah makes this pie using Quinn’s recipe. Many thanks to Nancy for allowing me to publish it here.
4 cups flour
1 T sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 ¾ cup shortening
1/2 cup VERY cold water
1 tsp. vinegar
Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Beat egg, water, and vinegar and add to flour mixture.
Blend – remembering that it is already dead, so there is no need to kill it. Be gentle.
Form into a ball. Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling.
Yield: pastry for 1 9” double crust pie and 1 9” single crust pie
Keeps in the refrigerator 5 days. Can be frozen.
And now, for the FILLING
6-8 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (enough to make 6 cups)
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
Pastry for double crust
2 tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine sugar, flour, spices and salt and mix with sliced apples. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry and fill with apple mixture. Dot with butter.
Apply top crust. Cut slits for escape of steam, and seal. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes.