I’ve always loved fancy lattice pies but rarely make them because of the time required. But I did dedicate a whole Saturday to making a beautiful apple pie just to prove to myself I could.
While pies are commonly round and sweet in America, that wasn’t always the case. In medieval England, pie was savory, and filled with chickens, pigeons, rabbits, and just about any other animal. The word pie likely derives from magpie, the bird known for collecting odds and ends in its nest. Now that brings new meaning to that nursery rhyme “four and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie” – a holdover from the time when crow was a common pie filling. And the “crust” was extremely hard, more of a tupperware container rather than something to be eaten (source)
Sweet pies in medieval England were distinguished and called “tarts”. However at the time, even sweet pies didn’t have sugar; sugar was so rare and expensive that it was mainly used as decoration and a symbol of wealth. Only when the British had established sugar colonies in the Caribbean in the 1700s, sugar became more widespread.
When colonists brought English recipes to America, something got lost in translation. What the English called a tart, they started calling a pie. (source)
Pies are one of my favorite desserts, and it’s tough to pick a favorite type but fruit pie is pretty high up there. Especially apple pie, which we frequently made growing up for Thanksgiving. Peeling and chopping apples was always labor intensive, so my mom delegated the tedious task to the 3 kids – us.
We started with premade crust, but over time I got pickier and preferred making pie crust from scratch. Once I got my food processor from B, pie crust making became infinitely easier.
Lattice Apple Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
1 egg, for wash
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.5 pounds apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced (about 4 apples for me)
PASTRY CRUST: Put flour, sugar, salt, and cut butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple times to mix. Add water. Divide into two disks, wrap in saran wrap, and place in a fridge for 1-2 hours to chill until ready to use.
Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Mix sugars, flour, lemon juice and zest, in spices in large bowl. Add apples and toss to blend. Set aside.
Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish and crimp. Add filling. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into twelve or thirteen 3/4-inch-wide strips. Arrange 6-7 strips across pie each direction and press ends into crust edges. Brush lattice with egg wash.
Bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Continue baking until juices bubble thickly and crust is deep golden, covering edges with foil if browning too quickly, about 55 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!