The only low point of the day was when I had stepped over to buy some hydroponic tomatoes from the guy next to me, and the old man in front of me paid for his, then stopped at my table and started shouting, "WHO'S SELLING THIS PIE?" I hustled right back there to serve him, but when I told him how much it was, he started cussing up a storm, telling me in no uncertain terms that it was very overpriced! Mind you, he's yelling this, and even as he walks away, he's still cussing me out, and not even under his breath! Quite embarrassing. It's almost enough to make me stop making pies altogether. They are really not worth it for the amount of time and labor and cost put into them. But people love them so, and no one seems to want to make them at home anymore, so it's satisfying to provide that service for people. But it takes me three days to make them each week, and I can only make eight or ten, having just a single oven. I make all the crusts on Wednesday, roll them all out on Thursday, and make and bake the pies all day on Friday.
And the cost of a proper pie is really ridiculous. I know that some people balk at the price of one of my pies at the market (I went up a dollar to $13 this year), but people don't stop to consider the cost of real fruit! A pie often takes up to six cups of fruit, and how much do we pay for a pint of, say, berries in the grocery store? Three dollars at least? Maybe four? That's $9-12 just for the fruit alone! Even when I use frozen fruit (until things come into season), the costs can be between $6-9 per pie just for the fruit! Apples are a little less expensive around these parts especially, but then you've got to consider the labor of all that peeling, coring and slicing. Cyd helped me last week, but it still took us quite some time to get through five pounds of apples for two pies, even with the help of one of those old-fashioned, crank-handled peeling devices. And have these people ever made a lattice-top crust? It ain't easy and it sure ain't quick, either!
Aren't they lovely? I was so pleased at how they turned out! This is my best pie recipe, hands-down. It's one I've been making for years from a recipe that I got from a dear friend and former roommate, Karen. I met Karen when I was in my first year of teaching college in Kankakee, Illinois. I was only 23, and as a fifth-year senior (she changed majors along the way, I think, and had to finish a few extra courses for her teaching accreditation), Karen was not much younger than myself. When she graduated, she and and another gal named Kim, and my mother (long story!) shared a house. Eventually, my mom moved back to Macon, Georgia (her hometown), and then we got another Kim in place of the first one, and then took in my beloved friend, John, and then a fellow named George, too--and we also had my cocker spaniel, Percy. Never a dull moment in that house, especially with our extended family of friends and boyfriends/girlfriends always coming and going! We really had a lot of fun there. We loved to cook together and entertain, and this recipe was a contribution from Karen, though I'm not sure where she got it originally. It's unusual because it's got both a crumb topping and a lattice crust. And people go CRAZY for it! I used to make it all the time when I lived in Salt Lake City, taking it to church functions and such (no, not THAT church!). It got to the point where I think the pie was being invited to parties more than I was! ;-) Anyway, it's a winner, though admittedly a lot of work...and darn well worth thirteen bucks, I think. Thanks, Karen! (Miss you!)
Karen's Dutch Apple Pie
Peel and slice enough apples to fill an unbaked pie shell (I'd estimate between 2-3 pounds). Mix together the following and toss with the apples:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour (I usually opt for two myself)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
(I also usually add a teaspoon of lemon juice)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
You can make this crumble in a food processor or just use a pastry cutter. Place on top of the apple filling and cover with a lattice-weave pastry top. (I like to egg wash the crust and sprinkle on some demerara sugar, too, but that's just me.) Bake at 350 degrees until crust is browned and the juices bubble thickly. (Karen's recipe says 35-40 minutes, but mine always take about an hour and fifteen minutes!)