FOR readers dealing with a bumper crop of apples, Sandra Plesh from The Pas sent in a recipe for freezer pie filling that she makes every fall with the apples from her daughter's garden. We also got a letter from Winnipeg's Michele LaTourelle, who admits she wasn't really a pie baker until she found this amazing apple pie recipe. She made it with apples from her own tree and got terrific results.
This week, Lorraine Turner is looking for a recipe for cinnamon buns that uses potato water. (Sounds interesting.) If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Grandma's apple pie
1 recipe for a 22 cm (9 in) double pie crust
125 ml (1/2 cup) salted butter
45 ml (3 tbsp) all-purpose flour
60 ml (1/4 cup) water
125 ml (1/2 cup) white sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar
8 Granny Smith apples -- peeled, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Whisk in the flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar, brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer for a few minutes.
Place the bottom crust in a pie plate. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with lattice-work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust, pouring slowly so it does not run off. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 175C (350F) and continue baking for 35-45 minutes, until apples are soft.
Tester's notes: I can see why Michelle loves this recipe, which delivers an old-fashioned pie that looks great. I might as well confess that I'm terrible at lattice tops, and always end up painstakingly piecing the strips together, but pouring the sugar and butter mixture over the top of the pie gave the pastry a golden-brown, caramelly-crisp finish that went a long way to covering up my incompetence. Michele used apples from her tree and ended up putting in about 10 since they are a little smaller than Granny Smiths.
Freezer apple pie filling
about 3 L (14 cups) apples (peeled and sliced)
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) apple juice
175 ml (3/4 cup) cornstarch mixed with 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple juice
750 ml (3 cups) white sugar
cinnamon to taste
Bring the apples and 625 ml (2 1/2 cups) apple juice to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Continue to boil lightly for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cornstarch that has been mixed with 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple juice. Stir together well until mixture begins to thicken. Add sugar and cinnamon and stir. Allow to cool. Divide, placing about 750 ml (3 cups) of filling into a plastic freezer container and covering with a lid. Store in freezer. To use, remove container from freezer and allow to thaw before making your favourite apple pie. Yield filling for 4-5 pies.
Tester's notes: This is a really smart way to deal with a big crop of apples, since you use up a lot of apples but can make the actual pies later. Sandra stores the fillings in her freezer in stackable containers, but says you can use freezer bags. This is also a handy recipe since homegrown apples can be less predictable than store-bought apples: It can be hard to know how sweet or how juicy they will be when baked, and this allows you to adjust quantities to get the taste and consistency right first.