Savour This Brief History Of ‘Not So American’ Apple Pie
- Sushmita Sengupta
Updated : July 04, 2022 03:07 IST
Ever heard the popular phrase 'As American as apple pie?' In this story, we discover how apple pie may not be having American roots at all.
Apple pie has been a common fixture in the recipe books of America. In fact, it would not be completely inaccurate to say that, a huge part of the world still believes that Apple pie, is in fact, an American dessert. For why else would it be such an intrinsic part of their festivities such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day and Halloween. Even if you have never had a traditional apple pie in your life, you would still happen to know that the star ingredient of this dessert is the apple. A fruit, that is not even native to America, which is what makes many food historians dispel the notion that apple pie is an American dessert.
North America only knew of the crabapple, a kind of apple used to make cider, until European traders and travellers brought with them the red, sweet and crunchy variety of apple with them around the 16th century in their ships. To boost the cultivation of these apples, honeybees were also brought in huge numbers to encourage pollination.
To surmise, before the discovery of the so-called ‘New world’, Europeans and Asians had savoured, relished and had started cultivating many juicy varieties of apples. This delicious fruit was even incorporated in many dishes. Many historians argue that an early antecedent of Apple pie was very popular in English households, where they would chop up apples and bake them without pie crust as refined sugar was expensive. It was the Dutch bakers, who upgraded this crust-less pie and started baking it as the lattice-style pastry in around 15th century. This loaded pastry also got its way to America and evolved into the ‘American Apple Pie’ we know of today. The first mention of apple pie was in Allen Metcalf’s book, America in So Many Words: Words that have Shaped America that published in 1697.
Here’s an easy Apple Pie recipe, By Chef Jose Thomas, Executive Chef – Vivanta Goa, Panaji
For the short crust dough:
Refined Flour - 300 gm
Butter -150 gm
Icing Sugar – 150 gm
Cold Water - 30 ml
Milk - 30 ml
Grain Sugar - 10 ml
For the mixture:
Apple - 4 (peeled and sliced)
Grain Sugar - 200 gm
Raisons - 30 gm
Cinnamon Powder - 03 gm
Nutmeg Powder - 1 gm
Fresh Cream - 100 ml
Butter – 100 gm
1. Soften the butter with a spatula and add icing sugar followed by refined flour and cold water to form a dough. Cover with cling film and keep it aside in refrigerator.
2. Take a non-stick pan, heat it on slow fire, add grain sugar and stir till it melts and turns light brown in colour. Add butter, once mixed add cream and bring to boil. Add apple slices and cook in the sauce for 6-8 minutes. Add raisins, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder. Once the mixture is cooked, keep aside to cool.
3. Divide the dough in two parts of 30% and 70% respectively
4. Take the larger part and using the heel of your palms, press the dough downwards to make it flat and pull it outward to stretch the dough. Now with the help of a rolling pin roll out the dough to a large round of quarter inch thickness. Take 30 ml milk and add 10 gm sugar, mix well and apply on top of the dough with a brush.
5. Gently transfer to an 8-inch diameter pie mould. Gently press the pie dough so that it fills out the inner edges and corners.
6. Add the mixture to the mould and spread it evenly.
7. Take the second part of the dough roll it, cut into strips and arrange it on top of the mould in criss-cross pattern.
8. Bake the pie in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
Your apple pie is done. Serve hot and indulge.