Apple pie

Apple pie’s harder than it seems

I’ve always had trouble with apple pie; I’m not willing to use cornstarch as a regular ingredient because I don’t understand how to make cornstarch. My apple pies tend to come out saggy like this one in the picture, and runny. You can solve both those problems with this version that uses grated apples (thanks Gretta!).

Is apple pie good for you?

Well, it’s not as good for you as just eating an apple, or applesauce with cinnamon sprinkled on it, but it’s a lot better for you than chocolate cake or creme caramel 🙂 You can make it healthier by using olive oil in the crust instead of butter.

How to make apple pie:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. First make the crust: in a medium-sized mixing bowl, melt 2/3 cup of butter in the microwave, then add 2 cups of flour and stir. Turn out into a pie pan and take out about a third of the crust and save it for later. Smush the rest of the crust around with your fingers until it covers the bottom and sides of the pan.

Or, for a better but more time-consuming crust, slice the cold butter into pats, add to the flour, and break it up into little bits with your fingers. Add a tablespoon or two of white vinegar.

Now, the filling. Cut up four large apples and remove the cores and seeds. Grate the apple chunks in a food processor (this may take several sessions). Dump the grated apple into the same mixing bowl the crust was in (no need to wash it), and add 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and one teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Put the filling into the pie shell.

Crush 1/2 cup of hazelnuts in the food processor, since you have it out, and dump them into that same mixing bowl. Add the rest of the pie crust and mix, then sprinkle the mixture by handfuls on to the top of the pie. Add four pats of butter to the top if you want a more browned top, or leave them off. You can sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top if you like, or just sugar. Bake for just under an hour, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust starts to brown.

Vegetarian or vegan

Apple pie is vegetarian, and it’s *almost* vegan. You can make it vegan by using 2/3 cup of coconut fat in the crust instead of the butter. The crust will be a little sandier; it will crumble more and hold together less well, but it tastes fine. Also, leave off the pats of butter on top of the pie.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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