Recently, the Washington Post published a simple recipe for a tasty traditional cider pie in the “Food & Dining” section—a recipe excerpted from Michael Phillips’ The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist. How about that?
We have so many great books that we tend to forget or take for granted some of these pearls of information, until someone else plucks them from the shelves and thrusts them into the spotlight. Having this recipe pop up in the Washington Post is kind of like when you invite some friends over for dinner, and then you all decide spontaneously to put a movie on to sort of pass the time, and your friends end up picking something you haven’t even thought about watching in years—since you found that old VHS copy in the 50 cent bin at the thrift store across the street back in ’05—and as you watch you think to yourself, “Oh yeah, Gremlins is a good movie.”
It’s kind of like that.
From today’s Post:
This might be the sleeper among your holiday desserts. Lost Nation is a rural enclave in northernmost New Hampshire, near the Canadian border. Resident farmers Michael and Nancy Phillips hold an annual party at which cider from their apple orchards, and this pie, are served.
You’ll need enough pie dough, either homemade or store-bought, for a double-crust pie. Serve topped with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.
MAKE AHEAD: The recipe calls for making cider jelly, which is done by boiling fresh apple cider to the jellying stage. The jelly may be made up to 5 days in advance, then covered and refrigerated. Alternatively, prepared cider jelly may be used.
If you’d like to make more than you need for this recipe, a gallon of fresh apple cider will yield about 2 cups of cider jelly. Store in sterilized canning jars.
Makes one 9-inch pie (8 servings)
For the cider jelly
- 1/2 gallon fresh apple cider (see headnote; may substitute 1 cup store-bought cider jelly)
For the pie
- homemade or store-bought pastry for a two-crust 9-inch pie
- 2 medium apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, cut in half, then cut into very thin slices
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the cider jelly: Pour the cider into a medium heavy, nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, which should come up to 220 degrees (the jellying stage). Boil until the cider has reduced to almost 1 cup, adjusting the heat and stirring as needed to avoid scorching. This can take from 75 to 90 minutes.
When the cider has reduced and thickened, remove it from the heat. Transfer to a heatproof container and cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the pie: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Use the homemade or store-bought crust to line a 9-inch pie plate, folding under and pinching the edges to form a tidy rim. Arrange the apple slices on the surface of the bottom pie crust dough in flat layers. Have the top round of pie dough ready.
Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cider jelly and just-boiled water; mix well.
Whisk together the egg and melted butter in a liquid measuring cup, then add the mixture to the sugar-cider jelly mixture, stirring to combine. Pour the mixture carefully over the apples in the pie plate. Place the top crust on the pie; crimp the edges around the rim and use a knife to make several small cuts in the top (to allow steam to escape). Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any drips); bake for 40 minutes or until the top crust is golden.
Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.