Last weekend I visited a nearby apple orchard and couldn’t leave without first trying a slice of their bakery’s pie. I ended up buying a mini pie because it was Sunday, my cheat day… and with the help of my sister, we ate the entire thing in one sitting!
While I was savoring the pie, a couple of things dawned on me.
1. Baking is a skill.
Baking requires more than just mixing a few ingredients together. It’s an entire chemistry process where ingredients are combined, heated up, cooled down, and magically come together to create something wonderful (hopefully).
I have baked my fair share of things that either turned out disastrous or amazing. When I screwed things up, it was usually due to over-mixing or substituting the wrong ingredient. Even when you follow recipes to the T, you don’t always get what you expect.
2. Pie is going to become a luxury treat if SHTF.
Now I’m sort of exaggerating but when you think of the typical American diet you’ll notice that sugar is one of the biggest contributing ingredients.
Sugar is found in almost all processed food. In 2015, a study showed that in America highly processed foods make up more than half of a person’s daily calorie intake. Our country is so addicted to sugar that some sources call it the world’s most popular drug.
I’m not going to promote sugar as a top-quality preparedness ingredient to store because it is indeed awful for your health- too much of it, anyway. But imagine yourself in a post-crisis situation. If your typical diet includes cereal, soda, and any other processed junk, what food is going to be available to you during a shortage?
Perhaps you will have to make adjustments to your diet whether you want to or not, but I guarantee that beans and rice are going to get old real fast. An occasional “sweet treat,” such as home baked apple pie, is going to be the best way to slice your way through a stressful circumstance (pun intended). 😉
Back to my story. After I left the orchard, I shared a picture of it on Instagram and Illyana suggested that I share the recipe.
While I don’t know the specific recipe used at the orchard’s restaurant, I will gladly share with you my #1 best-tasting, fool-proof apple pie recipe.
While I was planning to write this post I was motivated to teach this recipe to my 5-year-old niece. Even though she’s still too little to cut the apples and do some of the other things, she is an amazing helper and learner. I figure it’s a great age to get kids involved in the kitchen.
I encourage you to teach little ones cooking and baking skills at an early age. You’d be surprised how excited and willing they are to be a part of the family duties and chores.
Why you should bake pie in a time of crisis
- Apple pie contains ingredients that are relatively easy to find and might still be available during a food shortage. If not, most ingredients can be substituted (even the apples can be substituted with freeze-dried apples if you can’t get fresh). Some other types of pies are similarly easy to find ingredients for.
- Pie provides the right amount of sweetness without giving you a toothache (it shouldn’t, anyway). If you bake it homemade, you have control over the ingredients that go in it. Go easy on the sugar. 😉
- Pie can bring a happy ending to a stressful day. Comfort food should not be underestimated when times get rough. Hard days can become so much better with food that brings good memories of the past. Plus, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without a slice of pie.
- On a good day, dessert is a treat for most people. Imagine how much more of a treat it will be when your life is under some sort of pressure.
- Baking will fill your home with a delicious scent while providing an alternative heating source (the oven) which will be especially beneficial on cold days.
- Baking is therapeutic. Baking (and cooking) can help distract you from thinking about your current circumstances and put your mind’s focus elsewhere. While your problems won’t necessarily go away on their own, sometimes it helps to clear your head for a while.
Did I convince you yet?
Ok, let’s get to the recipe!
This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, so you can bake them both and freeze one if you wish.
If you don’t want to make two or are short on ingredients, cut the recipe in half.
For the crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for rolling the dough
- 1 cup cold butter, cut in chunks
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (any kind)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 to 11 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling:
- 4 large Granny Smith apples (Green)
- 5 medium Gala apples (Red)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1/2 cup white sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 1 egg
Part 1: The crust
- In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- With a dough blender like this one, blend in the chunks of butter until it’s evenly mixed with the flour mixture.
- Slowly, start adding the ice cold water to the mix. Start with 8 tablespoons and keep adding more if there’s still a lot of flour that hasn’t been incorporated into the dough.
- When the dough is done, form it into a ball and cover it in saran wrap. Put it in the fridge for an hour or so. Meanwhile, you can start preparing the filling.
Part 2: The filling
- Peel all the apples and cut them into thin slices.
- Put them in a large bowl and mix in the lemon and lime juice- enough to evenly coat all the apples.
- In a cooking pot, mix together the sugars, water, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Cook this on the stove over medium heat until it reaches a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and add in all the apples. Stir until the apples are well coated. Cover the pot with a lid and cook it for an additional 5 minutes- you may have to stir a couple of times in between so the syrup doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- When the 5 minutes are up, turn off the stove and remove the lid to allow it a few minutes to cool down.
Part 3: Bringing it all together
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Take the dough from the fridge and cut it in two. Sprinkle some flour on a dry surface and put one of the dough halves on top. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough as well. Roll it out into a thin layer to create the base of the pie. Lay it on the pie pan and poke the dough with a fork in several places.
- Fill the pie with the apples.
- Roll out the second dough and cover the pie. Seal the edges well together. Make a few cuts on top.
- Whisk the egg in a bowl. Brush the top of the pie with a layer of egg wash. Sprinkle sugar on top and put it in the oven. I recommend you put a large baking sheet or pan in the over right below the pie in case some of the filling syrup drips out. It’s easier to wash the baking sheet than the oven.
- Bake the pie for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is browned to your liking.
- Enjoy warm or cold!
This recipe was inspired by several sources on the internet plus my personal twist on a few things. I found that using a combination of both red and green apples made a huge difference. This pie doesn’t come out too sweet nor too sour. In my opinion, it’s perfect. You can use any apples you want, as long as they’re crisp. I wouldn’t recommend using "Red Delicious” apples because they’re mealy. If SHTF, however, you can use whichever kind is available. 🙂
This recipe doesn’t require too much sugar but that can be altered if you feel it needs more or less. You can taste the filling after you have added the apples (step 5) and adjust the ingredients to your preferred taste. Be careful not to burn your tongue though! If you want to use less refined sugar, you can try switching up the green apples for red ones because those are naturally sweeter. I haven’t tried that myself but it’s an option.
Print this recipe and save it with your stockpile of food to be used for future emergencies!
I hope you guys enjoy making (and eating) this apple pie as much as I did!!
Let me know if you try it out and if there are any other recipes you’d like me to share![P.S. Thank you Illyana for the suggestion to share this recipe!]
What kind of comfort foods are you planning to prepare in the event of a long-term crisis or emergency? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Happy baking everyone!!
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