Makes 1, 8 to 9-inch pie
Bea Whitnah was my closest friend from the time I was eight years old until she died when I was in my thirties. She was my guru, my confident, my soul-mate. She was a political activist with an impressive list of battles, some won, some lost. She marched down market street with other suffragettes to gain women the vote, she actively campaigned to end the death penalty, she was instrumental in the battle to get the word, “illugitamate,” stricken from birth records, she campaigned long and hard to gain decent wages and working conditions for agricultural workers in California, she was an impassioned pacifist, she had an indefatigable thirst for knowledge and she was one of the best cooks I have ever known. This is her recipe for apple pie. If you are new to pies take a peek at, Let there be Pie .
Perfect Pastry – (remember, you can freeze unused pastry)
About 6 to 8 firm, crisp apples, depending on the size (you want about 6 cups of chopped apples)
Sugar to taste *
2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
The juice and zest of one lemon
¼ cup all-purpose flour
About 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Egg wash – (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water)
Raw, Turbinado or Demerrara sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 500° or 550°. Make the pastry and chill in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes.
Peel the apples and cut into smaller than bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and spices. Add the lemon juice and zest and toss gently until all apples are well coated. Allow to sit for about ten minutes. Taste a bit of apple and adjust the amount of sugar and spice to suite your taste. Add the flour and toss gently.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, roll to about one-quarter inch thick and line an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Fill with the apples. Paint the edge with the egg and water mixture. Roll the remaining pastry, cut into a circle that is about 1 inch larger in circumferences that the pie pan.
Gently lift the pastry onto the top of the apples. Trim a bit if there is too much excess hanging over the side. Crimp all around the edge to seal well. With the tip of a small sharp knife make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Paint the surface with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with raw sugar. Place in the preheated oven and bake at 500° or 550° for five minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the house smells divine. Remove from the oven and place on a wire wrack to cool.
* You may substitute splenda for the sugar, however you will also need to add about a quarter cup of apple juice. Sugar draws the juice out of the apples. Splenda doesn’t do that, so unless you add a bit of liquid the pie will be a bit to dry.