pie love

madame benoit's apple pie recipe, by request! this is from an old cookbook that my mother collected section by section out of canadian homes magazine in the 1950s, and then assembled with a weird spring binding (that i guess came with the magazine as well?). according to the open library it has a total of 1,056 pages! this one is missing a few (e.g. the index after i think "p") but is still pretty hefty.

the pastry recipe is mine - she has pages of them in her book, but this is my standard no-recipe-needed pie crust (the basic rule is twice as much flour as fat by weight, and don't forget the acid). i don't look for other pie recipes unless i'm feeling very fancy. if you are making pastry from scratch, start well ahead - preferably the day before.

hungarian apple pie

1 1/2 to 2 cups pastry flour
2 tbs sugar
a shake or 2 of salt
5 oz shortening of some kind (butter, lard, margarine, vegetable oil shortening, or some combination of any of the above - i use half-and-half butter and lard), cold and cut into bits
1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
4 to 6 tbs ice water

2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/8ths
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine

for the pastry:
combine dry ingredients with a fork. add shortening however you prefer (a fork, a pastry cutter, two knives, your fingers) blending until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
sprinkle over the vinegar (this is essential for flaky pastry - the acid keeps the gluten from "activating") and a tablespoon of ice water, mix in with a fork. add additional ice-water as necessary until it starts to hold together in big clumps.
spread the clumps around a pie plate and press in to cover in an even crust just under 1/4" thick. take whatever pastry is left over and roll into a rope; use this to make a decorative edge. put the pie plate into the fridge to chill for a few hours or overnight.

for the filling:
combine the sugar and cinnamon. use to coat the apple slices. arrange neatly in the pie crust.

for the topping:
combine flour and sugar, then rub in the shortening as for pastry. sprinkle over the apples to cover.

bake the pie for about an hour at 350F. allow to cool for a while before eating, or you'll burn yourself. we tucked into our pie hours later, and it was still warm!

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