Background: While most would associate Apple Pie as a stereotypical American dish and it being a lustful adolescent male’s best friend (case in point: the ‘American Pie’ film franchise), The History of Apple Pie (and no I’m not talking about the UK Rock group) actually dates back to a 1381 English recipe, which interestingly lists the ingredients as “good apples, good spices, figs, raisins and pears” with similar dutch recipes being recorded as far back as 1514.
So if apple pies have been eaten since long before the European colonisation of the Americas, why then is it synomously attributed to the US of A?
- For one, Americans have the saying “as American as apple pie”, a reference to the adoption of apple pie as a national symbol of American prosperity and national pride since the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Similarly this dish was also commemorated in the phrase “for Mom and apple pie” – supposedly the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war.
- It only was a matter of time before advertisers exploited the patriotic connection of Apple Pie, with Chevrolet using it in the 1970s for one of their commercial jingles “baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet“.
Rationale: Associations of Apple Pie for me personally however, bring about feelings of warmth, happiness, family and a sense of adventure (with my earliest memories of it being in the form of a McDonalds $1.50 enclosed and deep fried apple pie, a delicious treat I enjoyed with my dad as we drove between Hamilton and Auckland, New Zealand) illustrated perfectly by my most recent experience of having eaten Costco’s (cheap and sinful) apple pie alongside extended family from around the world while we were all together in Los Angeles, USA. It’s positive and warm memories such as these that I wish to be able to pass down to my kids one day.
Inspiration: For this blog and going forward, I wanted to make an Apple Pie that was a combination of both;
- the crumbly moist apple sheets I ate as a kid from bakeries around NZ,
- The spicy and crunchy McDonald Pies and finally,
- The homey pies I had right throughout my childhood that I use to enjoy while sitting on the couch with a dollop of Ice-cream.
To achieve this I made slight recipe adaptations to the following website (for my apple chunks, base crust and Crumble), this website (for my apple sauce mortar) and this website (for my maple syrup, cinnamon dusted streaky bacon). I must admit however the last two websites were barely used as my recipe called for major adaptations (*cough* improvements).
Cost: Besides roughly three hours of my time from start to finish, this recipe in all cost approximately;
Ingredients: Sourced primarily from Costco (had to go American) I used 9x Pink Lady Apples (see here for reasons why) along with organic coconut sugar (reasons why), vanilla essence, plain flour, caster sugar, 2x fresh limes, unsalted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, streaky bacon (salted) and Argentinean Herbal Mate (used as stock during the making of apple sauce).
Preparation and Method: Shown chronologically in the following photos;
Step Uno – “How do you like them apples?!”
Step dos – ‘Crumble in the Jungle’
Step Tres – “Mmmmmm Baaçcon!”
Step Quattro – It’s Showtime!
Secret Sauce / Ingredient:
- Butter those bacon strips and freeze immediately after taking them off the heat.
- Chill base pastry for 10 minutes before cooking in oven for 10 minutes, chill again before adding filling.
- A last minute decision mind you but worth it, I used Argentinian Herbal Mate tea as my stock / alternative to using plain water, during the boiling down of the apples into sauce. The Mate I believe added an exotic element and paired perfectly with the sweet tasting Pink Ladies. I would highly recommend using your favourite tea (which pairs nicely with apples… go on use your limited imagination) for your next home made apple sauce recipe!
- Organic Coconut Sugar – A healthier alternative to caster and brown sugar…Tastes 10x better and has a similar texture to that of Demerara sugar.
- Chill overnight to develop the flavours and leave the crusts etc to set.
- Best served cold.
Final Result: Honestly this pie turned out better than I could have hoped for and really did achieve all that I wanted (see above). The bacon was a great choice and really added another dimension to the pie along with the flavoursome apple sauce filling and spiced apple chunks. Was great served with cream and look forward to having it with friends and ice cream!
Next Time on ‘Crust & Filling’: Brownie Tart with Fresh Raspberries, Mint and Orange Zest (see below). BE IN THE DRAW TO WIN this scrumptious little tart by commenting below ‘what your fondest memories are of apple pie and/or what it means to you’. Draw closes 15th October.