Pies

Dutch Apple Pie

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We are in full swing apple season at the orchard here. If you meander through, or pass our farm these days, there’s a good likelihood that you will see the triangular ladders unique to orchards propped up throughout the rows of trees. If you stop and listen, you will probably hear the chatter of the pickers as they move through, filling bin after bin of apples. After all four bins are full, the tractor pulls them off to the storage and returns with empty bins and the cycle repeats itself. Here are some pictures. I love this time of year.

These guys are picking the quintessential North American apple; the McIntosh. It seems appropriate to let you in on a little secret here. “I don’t care for Macs”, she whispers timidly. She continues, “I normally don’t eat Macs because I prefer an ultra crunchy apple”.  BUT!!! This time of year I will occasionally eat a Mac because they are actually crunchy enough and tart enough to please my finicky palate. AND I will use them in a pie because they hold their shape a little better than they will later. In keeping with sentiments of nostalgia, it has to be a Dutch Apple pie, which delights my husband. And in making the Dutch Apple pie, visions of grandmother float through my head. I can still picture her scattering the brown sugar crumbs over top, then poking holes in through the apples with the handle of a wooden spoon and slowly pouring the cream into the cavities, whistling under her breath all the while. Now I do that whistling thing, much to the annoyance of my children. It helps with high-concentration jobs like pouring cream into pies just so. Or ironing. It really helps to get that job done. I’m convinced that some day my children will remember my whistle with fondness too.

Because I was trying to pour cream out of my cute little pitcher slowly with one hand while taking a photo with the other, I got a bit too much cream into the pie so it got a little soupy. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll pre-measure the amount into my cute little pitcher. My grandma never had to take pictures of herself pouring cream so her pies were always perfect. At least they were in my memory. My pie looked good before I cut into it, though, and it still tasted good, so here it is! Yours will be perfect, I’m sure.

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The perfect Dutch Apple Pie.

Dutch Apple Pie (2)

Dutch Apple Pie (5)
The not-so-perfect but still good Dutch Apple pie.

Strategically placing the ice cream helped with the overall appearance.

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The McIntosh apple is an icon of North American orchards. It is slightly tart, slightly sweet, and very juicy. This high percentage of juice makes it a perfect sauce apple and there are McIntosh diehard fans who refuse to eat anything but a fresh Mac. It is good in pies if you like a soft apple in your pastry. Its season runs from mid-September until about May. 

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. For more apple updates, visit their site here.

Dutch Apple Pie

Dutch Apple Pie (4)

Ingredients

  • about 7 medium apples, peeled and cut into chunks or slices to equal 4 cups
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons high fat milk or cream
  • 1 10″ unbaked pie crust (see here for a good gluten-free version)

Directions

Peel and cut apples into your desired shapes. Traditionally Dutch Apple pies are chunky. Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Put the apples into the unbaked pie crust and sprinkle the crumbs evenly over top. Poke holes in top and pour the cream carefully into the holes. Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 35-45 minutes or until the apples are soft and a rich syrup has formed. Turn heat down partway through baking time if the pie is browning too fast. Best served warm or at room temperature, but it should be chilled to store overnight.

 

 

 

Fresh Peach Pie with Gluten-Free Pastry

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Fresh Peach Pie (9)

If I were asked to point to one fruit that epitomizes those warm, hazy last days of summer, I would, without any hesitation at all, choose the peach. The fuzzy, warm skin with its encroaching pink shadows that lengthen as the peach ripens, the dewy golden flesh dripping with sweetness all portray summer teetering on the cusp of fall. And if I were asked about my favourite dessert incorporating peaches, I would shout “Fresh Peach Pie!”.

Fresh Peach Pie (4)

I have a memory of making fresh peach pies for one of my sisters’ wedding. It was a hot September week, similar to the weather we’ve had this summer. The entire wedding was held at my parents home, and we had cleaned, cooked, mowed, weeded, planted, painted, and I don’t know what else most of the summer in preparation. The pies were cut and served on plates down in the basement for the meal, as it was the coolest part of the house. To save time and refrigerator space, we had decided to use those cans of whip cream spray, which we had seen in stores, but never used. Well, to make a long story short, it was a disaster. The cream turned to foamy liquid 30 seconds after it landed on the pie slices and the poor servers were trying to get them to the guests without having the cream running off the plates and down over their frilly aprons. But the peach pie tasted good, and my sister and her husband are still loving and enjoying each other 26 years later. Moral of the story: a failed peach pie doth not a marriage break.

EDIT: Apparently I had the wrong sister in mind. This can happen when one has six sisters. I have edited it to say September instead of August and it’s only been 26 years, not 34. My apologies!

I have tried this wheat-free pastry three times now and it was a success each time. Those of you who do any gluten-free baking know how delightful that feels! I have only used butter so far and it gives the pie crust a lovely shortbread texture and flavour. I find it works best to roll the chilled dough only partially, then fit it into the base of the pan and press the rest into shape. For wheat-based pastries, I use the recipe on the back of the Tenderflake lard box. It makes a large batch and is nice and flaky.  I divide the dough into 5 or 6 pieces, flatten them into discs, stick ’em in a freezer bag and pop them into the freezer for such a time as this.

 

Ontario Peaches

Find these delicious peaches at Martin’s Family Fruit Farm!  Also, check here on their site for more recipes. The recipes, views and stories on this blog are my own. 

This may surprise some of my readers but there are a fair number of peaches grown in the Niagara region of southern Ontario. They are available from early August to mid-September. The season begins with clingstone (fruit does not release easily from the pit, or stone), and progresses to freestone (fruit easily removes from the stone). The hazy fuzz on peaches is called “bloom” and is a protection for the peach. The bloom is removed through washing the fruit. Generally speaking, the later peach varieties are better for canning and freezing, since they are sweeter and the flesh holds up better in preserving.

Fresh Peach Pie with Gluten-free Pastry

Ingredients

GLUTEN-FREE PASTRY:Fresh Peach Pie (9)

  • 2/3 cup white rice flour
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 tablespoon tapioca flour (or starch; they are the same)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten

PEACH PIE FILLING:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or clear jel
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons peach-flavoured gelatin powder (I like Shirriff’s)
  • 4 cups peeled and sliced peaches (4 – 6 peaches)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped, lightly sweetened if desired

Directions

PIE PASTRY: Before starting, make sure all your ingredients and utensils, including your rolling pin, are free of any wheat. This is very important! I cover the pastry with waxed paper or parchment before rolling to avoid any gluten touching the dough. Combine all the dry ingredients. Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the dry mixture, tossing to coat. Use your pastry cutter or hands to break the butter into smaller clumps, flattening them into discs. Add the beaten egg and lightly knead just until combined and the dough is starting to smooth out. Shape into a disc, wrap in cellophane and place in the freezer for 10- 15 minutes until it firms up. Sprinkle your counter liberally with more gluten-free flour mixture and roll out as well as you can. I usually roll it big enough to fit the bottom of the pan, then press it up the sides and flatten with my hands into the pan. This recipe fits a 9 inch pan perfectly. Prick the crust all over and chill again while heating the oven. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before filling. 

PEACH PIE FILLING: Mix white sugar and cornstarch or clear jel in a medium saucepan, then add water. Heat on medium heat, whisking frequently until mixture begins to thicken and clear. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the peach gelatin. Let it sit while you peel and slice peaches. Pour warm gelatin mixture over the peaches and fold together lightly until every slice is covered. Mound into cooled pie pastry shell. If there is more filling than what will fit into the pie, someone may have to eat it. Oh, dear. Chill for at least 4 hours. Whip cream and top the pie to serve.