How was your weekend? Mine was low key. After work, I enjoyed doing this, watching that and trying those. Oh, and I also enjoyed the last sliver of a certain scrumptious apple pie! I have to say, I’m pretty excited to share today’s recipe with you. Mostly in part because Chatelaine officially crowns this pie recipe as the perfect apple pie. Woah wait a minute, talk about a bold statement, Chatelaine!?
I always feel a little uncomfortable when I read claims that so and so’s recipe is the “perfect” or “best” recipe ever. I mean come on.. really? It seems a bit boastful. I’m sure there are plenty of fantastic recipes out there, how can you be so sure yours is the best So and So!? Well, after rolling up my sleeves and giving this apple pie recipe a try, I have to throw down my towel and agree with Chatelaine after all. This recipe really is a slam dunk. The sweet, timeless flavour of the pie’s baked apples happily enveloped in a flaky, yet subtly chewy pastry give you a certain pièce de resistance: pie perfection (especially when paired with some creamy ice cream or a chunk of sharp cheddar). Yum!
Before we get to the tasty details, I wanted to share a little story with you. Recently I moved out of a gorgeous heritage apartment in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood and into my parent’s basement. Yes, I did the classic mid-20’s maneuver! It’s not something I’m proud of (I always get a sheepish feeling when I tell people.. We’re supposed to be all independent at this stage of our lives, right?), but I am happily settled into my parent’s lovely (and spacious!) home for the time being, feeling settled and comfortable. The best part? Finally I feel like I can save some money in this expensive town!
One morning a couple days ago, I stumbled across a friend’s Facebook post that really hit home for me. Her words made me smile, laugh and in general feel awesome. She helped remind me that as 20-Somethings, this is a perfect time in our lives to get to know ourselves better, to learn to love ourselves thoroughly, and quite simply, to learn how to enjoy our own company. Here is her post below. Can you relate as well? Wise words!
How to Live Alone in your 20’s
By Lynn Hancock
Step 1: Every time you enter your home alone, immediately remove your pants. There is not a human being alive who will not envy the amount of time you spend lounging indolently in your underwear. You will be comfortable, relaxed, and the sheer delight of pants-free living will remind you constantly of how awesome living alone can be.
Step 2: Eat whatever you want, whenever you want. Like the look of bacon at 3am? Enjoy a mid-afternoon snack of carrot sticks and caramel sauce? Enjoy the odd mid-morning glass of hard apple cider? Go for it, champ. There’s no one around to judge your culinary indulgences.
Step 3: Decorate your apartment exactly how you want it. There’s no roomate or significant other to appease with your aesthetic choices so you can make your place coherent and cool. Many people dream of having an urban loft or fancy European (read: the best that Ikea has to offer) apartment in their 20s and this group will envy your ability to express your personal style without restraint.
Step 4: Listen to music through speakers, not headphones. Don’t play it loud enough to irritate your neighbours but take joy in the fact that you can sing along to Billy Currington in the shower or fall asleep to a Josh Ritter/Elliott Smith playlist or put on your makeup while blasting Oh Land.
Step 5: Invite people to hang out/watch chick flicks/get tipsy/read/nap/chat etc. It helps if you live downtown and your friends don’t because they may begin to think of your place as a jumping off point for other social activities. If you are the relative “out of towner,” become the unofficial social coordinator for your group so that people will come over anyways.
Step 6: Wake up early. Enjoy the mornings and luxuriate in your ability to lounge around in your PJs. Night time is generally the loneliest time for most people so you might as well sleep through it. Staying up until 1am watching videos or talking on the internet is not the way to go if you live alone.
Step 7: Accept and love that you are in your 20s, that you have the means and will to live alone, that you have the freedom to do what you want in your own space, that being alone has nothing to do with loneliness, that you have a fortress of solitude, that you can giggle privately over cat videos on youtube, that your friends love you and look forward to seeing you, that your family photos cover the walls of the place you call home. Live alone and love it… I do!
Ambrosia Apple Pie
Yield: One ten inch apple pie. Prep time: 30 mins Cool time: 60 mins Bake time: 1 hour, 10
2 1/2 cups pastry flour 1/2 tsp salt 2 tbsp white sugar 1/2 cup cold butter, cubed 1/2 cup cold shortening, cubed 1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water
8 apples: Your choice of the kind! (A mixture of a few varieties works best.) juice of 1 lemon 1/2 cup white sugar 1/4 cup flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 2 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, diced 1 egg white
1. For pastry, stir flour with salt and 2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, cut in butter and shortening until coarse crumbs form. Make a well in the mixture.
2. With a fork, stir in 1/4 cup (50 mL) ice-cold water to create a soft dough that can easily be formed into a ball. If needed, add remaining water a tbsp (15 mL) at a time. Dough should not be sticky. Divide in half. Form each half into a disc. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour or overnight.
3. Using a floured rolling pin, roll 1 disc, on a floured surface, into a circle about 12 in. (30 cm) wide. Roll from centre to, but not over, the edge. Keep edges even. Loosely roll up around rolling pin. Then unroll over 10-in. (25-cm) pie plate. (You can use a 9-in. [23-cm]) pie plate but you may not need all the filling.) Pat dough over bottom and up sides of plate, leaving 1/2-in. (1-cm) overhang. Don’t prick. Refrigerate. Place rack in lowest position in oven and preheat to 425F (220C).
4. For filling, peel and core apples. Thinly slice. Place about 81/2 cups (2.125 L) in a large bowl. Sprinkle a tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice overtop. Sprinkle with sugar, flour and spices. Toss to coat. Mound in pastry shell. Scatter diced butter overtop.
5. Roll remaining dough into a 13-in. (32.5-cm) circle. Roll around rolling pin, then unroll over filling. Trim edges, leaving 1-in. (2.5-cm) overhang. Fold top edge under bottom edge. Press your index finger and thumb on inside edge of dough, while using your other index finger to press dough inward between your finger and thumb. Continue around edge. Cut small slits or a round hole in top crust for steam to escape.
6. Lightly brush with beaten egg white. Don’t let it pool. (It’ll over-brown.) Sprinkle with a little sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake on bottom rack 10 min. Turn oven down to 350F (180C). Continue baking until crust is golden and apples are tender, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack 11/2 hours before cutting.
– A mix of apple varieties gives the best flavour results. – Always taste the fruit before adding sugar. If very sweet, reduce sugar by a tablespoon. – Bake pie as soon as it’s made. Letting it sit can yield a soggy, pale bottom crust. – Once dough is made, form into discs instead of balls before refrigerating. It’s easier to roll out.
Recipe Credit: Chatelaine “The Perfect Apple Pie.”
I hope you have a wonderful week filled with happiness and contentment with yourself at this exact moment and place in your life. Thank you again to my friend Lynn Hancock for the permission to share her poignant and heartfelt words of wisdom. We hear ya, girl!
PS: Interesting fact: The best time of the day to drink coffee.
PPS: Fun fact: Ambrosia is a variety of apple grown originally in the Similkameen region of BC’s Okanagan Valley, but also quite literally means: food of the gods. Fitting, isn’t it!?
PPPS: Curious about the ice-cream in my photography? It’s the seriously good Earnest Ice-cream of East Vancouver. (I chose Cardamom flavour to blend with the apple pie’s aromatic spices. What would you pick?)