Well, it's that time again...November. Most of us find this to be the darkest, dreariest month of the year. I like to think of it as the calm before the storm. It's blustery and dark yes, but there's a certain serenity to November that comes with the darkness. It's a month to curl up by the fire with a good book, your dog at your feet and...an apple pie in the oven!
One of my favourite weekend activities in November is strolling through the mounds of leafy greens, bright red tomatoes,ruby red cranberries and deliciously crisp apples at the market. The aromas, colours and the chorus of the farmers selling their produce awaken the foodie in me and I find myself so overwhelmed with the dozens of recipes I want to try that I have to calm myself down and choose two or three for the week. This week I decided on Apple cranberry crisp for breakfast, a lemon, garlic, tomato and sesame sprout salad and...my Mile high Apple pie! I thought it would be perfect for the blustery, slushy days ahead.
A little nutrition info on apples...they come in right behind bananas as far as overall popularity. They're easy to pack, tasty, juicy and contain only about 55 calories each! Although they aren't very rich in vitamin C (5mg vs 10mg in a banana)¹ they are very rich in other phytonutrients, including antioxidants. If we consider these additional compounds, an apple has the equivalent antioxidant power of 1500 mg of vitamin C. For those of you who may be interested in the cancer fighting benefits of these nutrients, a very interesting graph on how antioxidants in different fruit suppress cancer cell growth in liver cells can be found here.
So to help us all get through the dark, blustery month of November, I'm sharing my favourite apple pie recipe; Sandra's Mile High, Apple Pie! Not only is it rich in antioxidants and taste, but it is also low in sugar and contains protein and soluble fibre which helps lower bad cholesterol and control blood sugar.
I hope you love it as much as I do!
Sandra's Mile high Apple Pie
2/3 cup (150 ml) plus 2 Tbs (30 ml) cold, unsalted butter
2 cups (500 ml) all purpose, unbleached flour
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
4 -5 Tbs (60-75 ml) cold water
1/2 - 3/4 cup (125 - 200 ml) sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp + (5 ml+) cinnamon
1/2 tsp + (5ml+) nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 cup (250 ml) plain, Greek style yogurt
1 large egg beaten (room temperature)
10 large apples (Cortland) peeled, cored and thinly sliced.
2 Tbs (30 ml) butter
Preheat oven to 450〬
Cut shortening into flour and salt until particles are size of small peas (can quickly be done in a cuisinart). Sprinkle with water, 1 Tbs at a time tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl. If necessary, add 1-2 additional tsp of water.
Gather pastry into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other, shape into flattened rounds on lightly floured cloth covered board. Using a flour covered rolling pin, roll small pastry ball 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate. This will be the bottom pastry of the pie. Roll the larger ball as large as possible, without allowing the pastry to break into holes. Fold pastry bottom into quarters, ease into the pie plate and unfold allowing the edge to drape over the pie plate. Keep the pastry top aside.
Whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Stir in sour cream, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add apples, tossing to coat. Pour into pastry laced pie plate, piling the apples high in the middle.
Fold Pastry topping into quarters and place on top of the apples, unfold and firmly press the top and bottom pastries together to form a rolling crust around the bottom of the pie. Brush lightly with milk if you like a glistening crust. Place an empty, rimmed baking sheet on the lowest oven rack to catch any drips, and bake the pie at 450〬 for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350〬 and bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Serve with a slice of Cheddar cheese, or a dollop of Greekstyle vanilla yogurt. Delicious!