Perfect for the season, and even more so for Election Day, apple pie is a good way to celebrate America, democracy and the fall.
Apple pie was brought to America by early European settlers. According to Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, the typical American pie “descends from fifteenth-century English apple pies, which, while not quite the same, are similar enough that the relationship is unmistakable.” It was made from uncooked apples, fat, sugar, and sweet spices mixed together and baked inside a closed pie shell.
And the Jewish connection?
In her Jewish Cookery Book from 1871, the first Jewish cookbook in America, Esther Levy, gives a recipe for a baked apple pudding. Levy calls for preparing a dough from flour and fat (suet, if you must know), which is then rolled out and arranged in a baking dish. She then filled the dough with stewed apples and into the oven for three hours (different times.) Towards the end of the baking, sugar is sprinkled over the top and the pudding is baked a little longer until it is browned. As you can see, this simply describes an apple pie.
Inspired by Esther Levy’s suggestion, I added currants to my apple pie. This apple pie is almost the classic one, except the apples are cooked before they’re baked in the dough, in the Eastern European method of apple pastries. To make it even more interesting, the apples are actually caramelized, then baked in a pie crust and topped with streusel.
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