Monday, November 8, 2010

An apple [pie] a day

Our CSA has inundated us with apples. I know it's the season for it, but when it comes to apples and citrus, we're set. The previous owner of our house took a lot of pride in the garden, and the thriving fruit trees are a testament to his hard work.

Unfortunately, regardless of how many times I tell the trees to please ripen 8-10 apples a week, they insist on ripening all at once. This year, a friend of ours volunteered to come and pick our apples in order to turn them into deeeeelicious hard apple cider.

Then came the CSA, with eight million apples every week. I've mostly just been eating them as I go, but there are only so many apples a girl can eat. Since I am trying to earn my Adult badge, I've been going to the grocery store on a more frequent basis in order to properly stock my pantry.

Like my knitting and spinning stash, it takes time to stock a pantry properly. I'm finding that we were missing some essential items (like cinnamon, oddly enough). In my quest to stock the pantry, I pass the baking section every time I go to the store, and I see the tub of lard.

Historically, I've never cooked/baked/sculpted with lard, and it's not something that my mom used in her cooking, either. But I WANTED to buy a tub of lard. Obsession doesn't even begin to explain this. Every time I walked past the lard, it called to me.

So, given the abundance of apples and my burning need to buy a tub of lard, the only logical solution was to make apple pie. Apple pie isn't a big deal, I've made it before, and I've made my own crusts before, too. Just not with lard. I called Laura and Mom over, and we. Made. Pie.

We used the pie recipe from Mom's McCall's Cooking School cookbook, and the crust recipe from Joy of Cooking. I used lard and butter for the crust, followed the directions to the T, and Mom coached me on rolling out the crust properly.

At this point, it's only fair to point out that Andrew was suspicious of my use of the lard, despite my enthusiasm. He declared that he didn't think he liked lard in pies, despite any lack of previous pie-with-lard experience. (I think it was the beautiful marbling in my rolled-out crust, with the lard and the butter making a lovely swirl of deliciousness.)

"Ah, well," I said, channeling my mother, "More for me. It sounds like you don't need any pie."

Andrew backpedaled a bit, and boy, was he glad he did. The conversion rate of photos to words applies here:

So good, we couldn't wait for a photo first.


We actually ended up baking three pies, but I only kept one at home. (Laura took one, and we delivered the last one to my BFF, Miss Kalendar, at her enviable new residence.) It's amazing how satisfying a piece of pie can be.

There were learning experiences attached to the pies, of course.

The first was discovering that three pies worth of crust are exhausting to make. I've been going to yoga 3-4 times a week since August, and the last crust felt positively Herculean to make. Core strength doesn't matter when you're cutting in cold butter and lard. (It's okay, Core Strength. I use you for everything else!)

The second was finding out that LukeWarm is a drama queen. A little bit of crust falls to the bottom of the oven, and he smokes like a chimney. Sheesh!

The last is that there is nothing more satisfying than eating hot pie (a la mode, of course) while you relax with your loved ones in front of a zombie apocalypse flick.


  1. Yum! My mom used to make pie crusts with lard. Flaky and wonderful and I just never did try it myself.

    Meantime, one crockpot, a bit of apple cider and sugar, and a lot of apples=apple butter. It go in the freezer if you don't want to bother bottling it.

  2. The first was discovering that three pies worth of crust are exhausting to make...Core strength doesn't matter when you're cutting in cold butter and lard.

    It's a trick I've never used, but if you have a food processor, I've heard it's WONDERFUL for making pie crusts--especially since it doesn't tend to add heat to the very cold fats, like fingertips do. I think Pamela uses one for her pie crusts every year at Thanksgiving.

    - Leigh Ann

  3. 1. Applesauce. It's easy, it's delicious, and it uses up apples. (And people are totally impressed, like when they find out you can make socks.)
    2. Which Zombie Apocalypse movie?

  4. Gotta agree about the food processor for things like pie crust - totally awesome.

    If you have more apples than you can eat or give away, there is an organization in the South Bay that will come to pick your tree for the food pantries in your area.

  5. Your pie looks so tasty! I must cook with lard some day. Apple pie sounds like the perfect reason!

  6. Laura'nge Pie HelperNovember 9, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    Not to heap criticism, but three words you neglected to feature: Tender. And. Flaky. You earned two merit badges!

  7. I'm not too keen on the idea of lard, but the idea of too many apples? Sounds delicious! I've got to find a CSA near me...

    Now I want to dig out my recipe for apple pie bars!


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