Monday, October 11, 2010

Cassandra's Favorite Apple Pie

Apple pie has become part of the American consciousness as representative of all that is wholesome and good about our country; a reminder of comfort and innocence. In World War II, when American soldiers were asked by journalist why they were going to war the standard response was “for Mom and apple pie”. It has been said that the Apple Marketing Board of New York State used such slogans as "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and "as American as apple pie!" and thus was successful in rehabilitating the apple as a popular comestible in the early twentieth century when prohibition outlawed the production of hard cider.

There are American apple pie recipes, both manuscript and printed, from as early as the eighteenth century. Yet, what we consider to be apple pie has been around in Europe since the Middle Ages. Medieval and Renaissance recipes for apple pies or tarts have shown up, in one form or another, in English, French, Italian, and German recipe collections that span centuries and which show a wide variety of ways to prepare apple pie.

English apple pie recipes go back to the time of Chaucer.  The recipe above from 1381 lists the ingredients as good apples, good spices, figs, raisins and pears.  The cofyn of the recipe is a casing of pastry.  Saffron is used for coloring the pie filling.  Cloves are a popular addition, tempering the sweetness in much the same way as cinnamon.  The absence of sugar in the recipe may indicate that, because refined sugar was a recent introduction from the Orient, the medieval English did not have as sweet a tooth as their descendants!
Cassandra's Favorite Apple Pie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For Pie Crust: Cassandra likes Oronoque Orchards (by Mrs. Smith’s) frozen pie crusts

For Filling: (Makes one pie)
3 lbs apples, such as Gala, Cortland, Granny Smith or McIntosh, peeled cored and cut into half-inch wedges.
1 cup sugar
½ cup honey, preferably a local, more flavorful raw honey
½ cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of one lemon
Thaw the frozen pie shells.
In a large saucepan, sift together the sugar and cornstarch, then toss with apples, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Bring fruit mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened slightly, making sure fruit does not stick to the bottom of saucepan. Remove from heat and cool.
Fill thawed pie shell with the fruit filling and then lay the second dough circle over the filling, press very gently around the edges and flute together. With a paring knife or cookie cutter, puncture the top pie dough to form (a) steam vent(s). If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pie filling is starting to bubble out the vents and the top pie crust is golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 1-2 hours before serving.


  1. it looks very beautiful and yammie.......happy day Ria.....

  2. Dear Cassandra, I have so much enjoyed reading this beautifully, and most thoughtfully, presented posting which is not only interesting and informative but, in addition, highly practical. And such a good topic for this time of year when one's thoughts go to harvest.

    Now, the skills required to make your delicious looking pie - that is quite another matter where I am concerned!

  3. Love your site! Everything I Love and more! Cheryl


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