If you let it be known that you're eating like a peasant for climate change, you could get a reputation among your extended family for being ascetic. You can bust this preconception by serving (or arriving with) an apple pie. You'll be a hero.

It's all in the method, and this pastry is always a winner. I've been doing it like this for forty years and some of the Youtube videos I've seen make me cringe. There's a reason for the expression, "easy as pie". It is, once you've mastered making the crust. If you haven't made pie crust before, don't try it with spelt flour first, because it's WAY harder to handle.

  •     Get out 8 apples and a glass pie plate.
  •     Measure 1/4 cup of cold water and set aside
  •     Separate an egg so you have the white in a little dish. (Just crack the egg and only let it open enough to leak out the white, sloshing the yolk back and forth into the two halves of the shell.) Keep the yolk and you'll get most of the white back later.

  •     In a large bowl, sift:
  •     2 cups unbleached flour (or 2 1/4 cups spelt)*
  •     2/3 tsp salt

Using the measurements on the box, cut off one cup of Crisco shortening*. Butter is not better, but you can use it. Slice it onto the flour, then use two dinner knives in a scissors motion or use a pastry cutter, cutting the shortening into the flour until there are no more bare chunks of shortening.


Toss the water over the flour and take one dinner knife and make like you're a Cuisinart, stirring vertically and vigorously until the whole thing wads up, easy to make into a ball. (You can actually do this in a food processor and the ball will form, telling you when to stop.) The dough is a bit easier to roll our if you wrap it in plastic and chill it for awhile.

Spread a square of waxed paper on the counter or on a big cutting board. You can slightly dampen the counter so the waxed paper will hold still. Sprinkle plenty of flour on the paper. Cut the pastry dough in half and pat it into a fat disk. Have the flour handy. Use a wooden rolling pin or a wine bottle and gently roll from the center to the outside until it reaches the edge of the waxed paper, sprinkling flour over the rolling pin and on the pastry as much as you need to. The idea is not to overwork the dough so you create nice flakes of flour and fat. Don't freak out if you tear it. Just use a wet finger to glue it back together. It'll look and taste just fine even if it's a real patchwork.

Now the hard part: Place the pie plate beside the pastry and lift the paper and pastry up, flopping the pastry off the paper over onto your other hand, then draping it over the pie plate. If you're nervous, stick the sheet of wax paper and dough in the freezer to chill it for  few minutes, then it will be easy as pie to put in the plate. Taking my photos with one hand, my bottom crust tore right in half. No problem, patched it up, good enough! (This is a spelt crust, so it's delicate.)

Trim the excess pastry off with a sharp knife. Now pour the egg white into the pie and slosh it around so it coats the whole surface. This keeps the bottom crust from getting soggy. If we're going to consume all this fat, it had better be scrumptiously flaky right to the last crumb! Pour the excess egg white back in with the yolk and use it soon. Set the pie aside.

Use a new sheet of wax paper, or flip the old one over and roll out the other half of the dough.

Preheat the oven to 425˚.

Now peel the apples and slice nice fat chunks into a bowl. (If you slice them right into the pie, they'll cut the pastry.) Then gently dump the apples into the pie. Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over them. Sprinkle a good amount of cinnamon and just a sprinkle of nutmeg. 

Now get some warm water and use your wet fingers to moisten the edge of the pastry so the top will stick to the bottom. Drape the second sheet of pastry over the pie and press the edges. Trim the excess and do whatever your mom used to do to make the rim look nice. Mine worked her way around, resting two fingers a finger width apart and pulling the pastry between them up into a flute. I hate it when people don't eat this part! Take a sharp knife and cut some slits in the pastry to let the steam out.

Bake 40-50 minutes, checking to see it's not getting too brown. Cool on a rack.

*Yes, this is hydrogenated fat, otherwise known as evil transfat. But it's made from vegetable oil. Lard is animal fat and we're using quite a lot of fat, so that would not be green cooking at all! Pie is a treat, like a chocolate bar. I make possibly five pies a year. It's OK, unless your doctor says no. In which case you should listen to her.
"Everything in moderation, including moderation."

*Wheat or gluten sensitive?
Half oat flour and half rice flour is OK, but not totally gluten-free if the oats are milled in a place that also does wheat. (For those who are allergic to gluten, or celiac, as opposed to just kind of messed up by it.)

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