When I was a kid my parents owned a restaurant called ‘Joe’s Lunch’. My dad had learned to cook during the war and he ran the kitchen of our restaurant. I was pretty young then but I do have some fond memories from that time in my life.
One thing my dad taught me, when I was quite young was to make pie pastry. At the restaurant, he made about thirty plus pies per day. He never used a recipe but I remember to this day what he said, “That all of the ingredients had to be really cold to make the best pastry.” My father used lard for pie dough. I think that it still makes the best crust, flaky and tasty. Aside from the fat content and calories eating it once in awhile is a treat.
I remember my dad and me standing in our kitchen. We both wore white aprons. Dad pulled a large pottery bowl down from the cupboard. In it, he mixed the pie dough ingredients quickly. We had a large wooden pastry and pasta board. My father put that onto the kitchen table to roll the dough out. I got to have the bits and pieces that were left over to roll and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Since apple is my favourite pie, here is my dad’s recipe:
Joe’s Apple Pie
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chilled natural lard
1/3 cup ice water
In a large bowl using two table knives, cut the cold lard into the flour and salt. The mixture should end up being the size of peas. Divide the dough in half and shape both halves into thick disks. Refrigerate the pastry in a bowl covered with a damp towel while you make your filling.
6 pie apples
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon flour
Peel, core and slice the apples. Dad used Spy’s but other varieties like Granny Smith also taste great. Sprinkle the apples with about one teaspoon of lemon juice. This not only adds to the flavour but also keeps the apples from turning brown. Sprinkle the apples with 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of flour. Stir the apples so that they are covered with all of the ingredients.
Flour the pastry board generously as well as the rolling pin. Roll one of the pastry disks 2 inches larger than an inverted pie plate with a floured rolling pin. Roll from the centre out. Don't use the rolling pin to go back and forth, move counter-clockwise, repeat. You want the crust as evenly rolled as you can.
Fold pastry into quarter folds and ease into pie plate, pressing firmly against bottom and sides of pie plate. Take the apples and mound them into the pie plate, dot with butter. Roll the top dough and follow the same instructions as for the bottom. Place over the top of the pie making sure to seal the edges. Use a fork to pierce various holes into the top of the pie.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour. Each oven will vary so make sure that it is a golden brown colour and that the filling is bubbling and thickened. Let cool on rack. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.
This recipe for an apple pie is not that unique. What makes it special for me is that my dad and I made them together. My dad passed away last week on
October 11th, 2012 in his 86th year. It’s the little pleasantries in life that we remember. I love you dad and miss you!
In Loving Memory of Joseph Vegso
Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.