I’ve come to terms with the fact that motherhood comes with the absolute necessity of letting go. Giving up the control that some of us cling to so fiercely.
I’ve sort of come to terms with it.
Fine, it’s something I’m working on daily, and lately? With little success. I’m the sort of person who finds solace in clutter free, organized spaces. Nothing starts my morning off on a good foot the way a sparkling clean kitchen can. Calm steady noises amidst a quiet, calm atmosphere soothe me. The rumblings of the dryer, the steady whir of a fan, and the (somewhat scarce over the last few months) pounding of the rain on the roof.
If you have any number of children, you know that quiet is a myth. A distant, faded memory from your single years. Reality is punctuated with the crashing sound of kitchen utensils being flung unceremoniously from their drawers, the screeches of siblings play-acting a pirate’s duel, and the occasional momentous toddler’s tantrum, brought on simply because said toddler didn’t like the way the grocery store cashier was looking at him.
Try though you may, the laundry you spend hours meticulously folding will be pulled from it’s pile by tiny fingers right before your very eyes, all because you turned your back for 3 seconds to put a few pairs of mismatched socks away. You may try to strictly enforce a “no food anywhere but the kitchen” rule and find that you are still sweeping up 5 tons of crumbs from all corners of the house on a daily basis. Somehow the toys that live in the confines of the babies bedroom will find their way to the drinking glass cupboard, the pantry, the dryer, hidden among the leaves of your house plants.
Is the mess worth it? Of course. And my ears will heal with time. But my point is that as someone who has control freak tendencies, the fact that motherhood requires you to stop trying to keep that control and relax a little can be difficult. It helps me to find the things that I can control and focus on those instead.
Things like pie.
When my husband is home from work for the weekend, I like to head to the kitchen, take a deep breath, and BAKE. Rolling out that buttery dough, filling it with whatever strikes my fancy, and wrapping it all up in a decorative and simple (or obnoxiously fancy) crust is pure therapy. With a killer pie crust recipe and a formula for flawlessly juicy but never runny filling, pie is one thing that I know will turn out the way I want it to.
This pie is simple, yet complex in flavor.
Buttery, flaky pie crust houses thin slices of soft Granny Smith Apples that have been cooked down in a sweet syrup, stacked high inside the crust, and flooded with a sour cream based custard that fills in the gaps and lends its cardamom scented creamy-ness to quell the sour punch of apple.
This pie is a dream. The flavors work together in a spiced sweet and sour way that leaves you wanting bite after bite. My own little pirate (5 is the new recruiting age?) had THREE servings. Because when you eat three servings of dinner and you still want more, you’d better believe that you are entitled to as many servings of dessert as you want around here. Especially when your mother is duly impressed with your appetite and surprisingly mature palate.
Every time I bake a pie I say this, and true to form I will now state that this is my new favorite pie. Creamy, decadent, punchy, crispy, and utterly soothing to my whiny semi-adult issues.
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 2½ cups White Whole Wheat Flour or all-purpose Flour
- 3 tablespoons fine Cane Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ cup Shortening
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) Butter, cold and cut into small cubes
- ¼ cup + Ice Water
- 1 Egg, beaten
- FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
- 2 pounds Granny Smith Apples, peeled and sliced ¼" thin
- 1½ tablespoons Tapioca Starch
- 4 tablespoons Butter
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons Turbinado or Raw Cane Sugar
- FOR THE CUSTARD:
- ¼ cup Turbinado or Raw Cane Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- ¾ cup Sour Cream
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an 's' blade. Pulse the mixture a few times until blended together.
- Add the shortening to the food processor and pulse once. Add the cubes of butter, one at a time, pulsing a few times after the addition of each cube.
- With the processor running, drizzle in the ice water until the mixture starts to form into large clumps. Do not add too much water. Dough should not be sticky or wet, but should come together to form a nice dough.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap up one half and set aside.
- Roll the other half of dough into a ball and place in between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll to a circle that is 1½-2 inches larger in circumference than your pie dish.
- Place the sheet of dough over the top of your pie dish and remove parchment paper. Press the dough in to fit the bottom and sides of the dish. There should be a little bit of dough left hanging over the edges. Trim dough around the edge of the pie.
- Roll the other half of the dough into a circle as large as your pie dish in between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Place both of the crusts in the fridge and make the pie filling.
- FOR THE APPLE FILLING:
- Place the apple slices, tapioca starch, butter, and sugar in a large saucepan and toss with a spoon to distribute the starch and sugar among the apples. Heat pan on medium/high heat, stirring every 20-30 seconds, until apples soften and are coated in a thick syrup. Remove from heat, pour apples into a mixing bowl, and let cool for 10 minutes (make the custard while apples cool).
- FOR THE CUSTARD: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, spices, vanilla, and sour cream until smooth. Pour over the apple mixture and mix to combine.
- Spoon the mixture into the crust covered pie dish.
- Cover the pie with the other circle of pie dough, pressing the edges of the dough lightly down into the bottom crust dough around the rim of the dish,.
- Trip any crust that is hanging over the edge of the dish. Crimp or seal the edges of the crust as desired.
- Using a sharp knife, cut 4-6 small slices in a circle around the top center of the pie to vent.
- Cover the top of the pie loosely with tin foil to prevent excess browning.
- Bake pie on the bottom rack of the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the tin foil, brush the top of the crust with the beaten egg, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!
More Pie? Tis the season!