In Colonial America, cooking was often a matter of “making do” when it came to ingredients. They were both expensive to buy and hard to find. Most did not have access to them, though often the more prosperous got limited quantities. Many shop keepers also kept a supply, and competition was fierce when the ships finally make port, if the shipment survived the passage. Many ingredients came from Europe, and most of the spices from the Caribbean. The great immigration of Pennsylvania Germans and the Dutch were great influences in the early 1700’s, resulting in many great recipes spreading across the Americas, the most prevalent being apples, rum, nutmeg and cinnamon, used for flavoring and sweetness.
One of the interesting side characters in our book “No Gentleman Is He”, due for release March 7 is Jackson Lee, the practical joking friend of our main character, Colton Rolfe and avid member of the Sons of Liberty, of which this series of books is all about.
Jackson Lee, by the way, will be the main character in Book 2 of the Sons of Liberty series, so you will see more of this fascinating character.
Jackson is constantly trying to recruit, though Colton would say “steal”, our hero’s cook, Martha in “No Gentleman Is He”. This pie is one of the reasons.
Apple-Almond Crumb Pie (Early American Pie and Jackson Lee’s Favorite)
Makes one 9-inch pie-*recipe to follow
1 lb. *Pate Sucree
5 peeled, cored and sliced apples, preferably Granny Smith
½ c. sugar
½ c. raisins
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
*Almond Crumb Topping
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Grease 9”X1 ½” pie plate with butter.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the Pate Sucree pastry into a 10” diameter circle. Ease the pastry into the prepared pie plate, being careful not to stretch the pastry. Trim the pastry so it reaches ½ in. beyond the edges of the pan, fold under the excess pastry, and crimp.
Prepare the *Almond Crumb Topping and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the apple slices, sugar, raisins, lemon juice, and cinnamon and gently toss to coat. Place the filling into the pastry lined pan. Top with Almond Crumb Topping.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden and filling begins to bubble.
Let cool to room temperature, and chill for one hour before serving.
8 ounces (2 sticks) butter
6 ounces granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
16 ounces (about 3 1/4 cups) all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1.2 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Sift flour and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, stopping regularly to scrape down the sides, bottom and paddle, about 8 minutes (of course, Colonial cooks did this by hand, quite a workout but well worth the final result – I used the short cut of a mixer, however). Add the egg and yolk one at a time, and beat well between additions (I did this Colonial style and used a whisk). Scrape one more time, then give it a good final mix on high speed.
Stop the mixer. Add the flour, salt, cream and vanilla. Mix on low until the dough comes together. Finish mixing by hand with a large rubber spatula. Divide the dough into two flat, round disks. Double wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.
1 hour before baking, roll out the dough on a heavily floured surface, until it is just shy of 1/4-inch thick. Roll the dough back onto the rolling pin, then gently roll it out over the tart pan. Press the dough into the pan to shape it, then cut off the excess, leaving 1/4-inch of overhang. Chill for one hour.
** the following step is only if it calls for cream-chilled or no-bake fillings. For this recipe, do NOT bake first**
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the tart shell from the fridge, trim the overhang off of the edge of the tart, patch any thin parts or cracks with excess dough. Line the tart shell with foil and fill with weights or beans. Place the tart in the center of the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove the weights and foil, and continue to bake until the bottom is golden brown, about 15-20 additional minutes. Cool the shell completely before removing from the pan or filling.
*Almond Crumb Topping (pie, cake or cookie topping)
1 ¼ c. flour
1 c. sugar
9 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter
½ c. blanched almonds
With a pastry cutter or fork, blend the ingredients until it becomes crumbly like oatmeal. Sprinkle over the pie, cake or cookies.
I hope you enjoy this delectable desert. Let me know how it turns out if you try it.