as american as apple pie

Tarts (the baked kind) exist everywhere in Italy—they're called crostata's—but pies are apparently against the law (culinary law) since, like cheesecakes, they cannot be found in the country, despite its longstanding love affair with "l'America."

And of all pies, apple pie is the American icon (not the clickable kind) most often listed after "mom" and "the flag" and sometimes still used in the phrase "as American as apple pie." Of course outside the USA it might be a good idea to remember that even North America has a lot of Americans who are quite different from what you find in the 50 states and lesser known US territories. [Canadians, Quebecians (might become necessary), Mexicans, etc.] However, this may be besides the point.

So why look at apple pie here? Well, the dr bob team makes an apple pie every once in a while, so having the recipe ready is not a bad idea. The real reason is that an Italian couple who had spent some time in the USA asked for a recipe for it.

We generally follow the traditional style recipe from our first cookbook, the American cooking classic Betty Crocker Cookbook, published and regularly updated this century by the baking products company responsible for the nearly daily slices of box cakes in dr bob's childhood [prepared cake mix in a box—just add water and eggs to make the batter, bake in round pans, ice as a layer cake].

However, we use some tricks from other sources.

Making a fruit pie is serious stuff compared to making a cheesecake, for example. The irony is that many people have this totally mistaken impression that cheesecakes are so complicated, yet will turn out fruit pies for every traditional American holiday. The cheesecake crust you just press in the pan, you mix up the batter and dump it in and bake it. Pie crust requires working the fat [FAT!] into the flour, adding the moisture a bit at a time until it achieves some magic consistency, forming a ball of dough, waiting while it matures in the fridge, then working the dough into a flattened circle without breaking it up, then transferring into the plate without destroying it. Then there is the fruit filling prep, which with apples is a bit tedious. The assembly. And finally the baking. But American moms always did this as though it were a genetically encoded skill (though one which seems to be disappearing from the species).

[in progress?]

applepie.htm: 6-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]