Apple pie seems to have been a favorite of George Washington. In an August 1779 letter from West Point inviting friends to dine with him, he noted that they might be treated to an apple pie “[The cook] has had the surprizing luck to discover that apples will make pyes,” the general wrote.
Apple trees grew in abundance at Mount Vernon, with Newtown Pippins being among the most popular there. When fresh apples were not available, the fruit was ordered by the barrel to be stored for winter use.
This apple pie recipe from Hannah Glasse, adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump requires a bit more time than the standard one of today, but the end result is more than satisfying. Glasse instructed that the apple peels and cores should be boiled with mace “till it is very good.” The liquid is then to be strained and reduced prior to being poured over and around the apples in the crust before baking. Although this recipe does not call for any accompaniment, another of her apple pie recipes suggests clotted cream. Both recipes recommend that the pie be sent to the table cold.
1 recipe Common Pie Crust
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
5 to 7 tart apples, such as Newtown Pippin or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; peels and cores reserved
About 3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
6 whole cloves
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced into small pieces
- Make a Common Pie Crust.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pie-crust dough into a circle about 1/4 inch thick, and place in a lightly greased pie pan, gently pressing it into the pan. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Combine the lemon juice with about 3 cups of water in a large bowl, and add the apple slices to prevent them from darkening. Cover and set aside.
Cover the reserved apple peels and cores with water, add the mace and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid. Discard the peels and cores, and return the liquid to the heat. Add 1 cup of the sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.
Thoroughly drain the apples from the acidulated water. Put one layer of the apples in the prepared pie shell. Dot with cloves, and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the sugar. Add another layer of apples, packing them densely and piling them high. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Carefully pour 2 cups of the reserved apple liquid over and around the apples.
Put on the top crust, tucking it in and around the edges of the bottom crust, folding the bottom edges up over the top piece of dough and then pinching together to seal. Cut several slits in the top crust, and dot with butter.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are thick and bubbly. Remove the pie to a wire rack, and cool thoroughly before slicing.
Makes one 9- or 10-inch double crust pie
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