Kitchen

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

It’s a fact of life that nothing is so good that pure maple syrup doesn’t make it better.
And where I live, March is the time of the year when tree sap begins to flow and maple syrup is made.
It also just happens to be the time of the year when hens start laying again and eggs are plentiful.

Oatmeal Pie

A Slice of Oatmeal Pie

Oatmeal pie is an extremely sweet pie.
So sweet in fact that some people can’t tolerate it.
But those who do enjoy oatmeal pie can never seem to get enough. Many compare this pie to pecan pie and there is a similarity. The oatmeal gives the pie the effect of ground nuts and the bottom of the pie is gooey.




What follows is a very old recipe from the 19th century.
The recipe was adjusted for modern cooks in 1966 by one of my personal cooking heroes, the late Beatrice Vaughan.
So if you’ve never tasted real oatmeal pie before, or are curious about 19th century Yankee cooking, here’s my recipe based on Mrs. Vaughan’s.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

  • ¼ cup of softened butter
  • ½ cup of white cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup (corn syrup may be substituted)
  • 3 eggs beaten in one at a time
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 unbaked 9-in. pie shell

Cream the soften butter with the sugar. Add the salt, cinnamon and cloves and mix completely. Next stir in the maple syrup, and then beat in the eggs thoroughly one at a time. Stir in the oatmeal and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake in an oven for about 1 hour at 350F°. Cool completely before serving.
Serve with black coffee and a dollop of whipped cream if you’re really feeling decadent.

*Recipe notes
If you use anything larger than a standard 9-in pie shell you’ll need to double the recipe so that the pie filling fills the shell. I found that with a large or deep dish pie plate the filling is only about 1” thick and looks skimpy.

Beatrice Vaughan’s recipe uses only pure maple syrup. Some modern recipes use corn syrup. I’m sure the substitution came about due to the cost of pure maple syrup. If you use corn syrup or maple flavored pancake syrup the taste is not the same.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

Keep Lemons Fresh In A Crock

For long-term storage, fresh lemons keep best in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator.
But if you don’t have a refrigerator or space in the fridge is limited, there is a time-tested low tech way to store fresh lemons.

Lemons In A Crock Of COld Water

Lemons Can Be Stored In A Crock Of Cold Water

Fresh lemons will store very well for about 6 to 8 weeks by being completely submerged in a ceramic crock of cold water.
Simply place fresh lemons in a clean ceramic crock and cover them entirely with very cold water.




Set a small plate or water filled plastic bag on top of the lemons to keep them submerged and prevent them from floating. Allow the water to cover the plate. If you use a water filled plastic bag, add more water to weight the bag down if necessary to keep the lemons down in the cold water.

Lemons Under A Plate In A Crock

Lemons Held Under Water By Plate

Store the crock in a cool location like an unheated basement or root cellar. Change the water every week or so and you’ll have a supply of fresh juicy lemons whenever you want them.

Farmhouse Kitchen Remodel

My mother-in-law always hated my kitchen.
She could never understand why I would live with a low-tech make shift kitchen for 25 years. To her way of thinking, a kitchen without fitted cabinets and lots of modern small appliances and vinyl is just plain kooky.

Kitchen July 2007

Kitchen In Summer of 2007

But in the middle of January 2015 my old farmhouse kitchen was completely remodeled with her full endorsement.
My mother-in-law hasn’t seen the new kitchen yet. For the last couple of weeks the snow and ice has made it too dangerous for her to visit. But as soon as some of the ice melts she’ll get to see it.
I know that some of you are also interested in the details and want to see it finished.
So here it is.




The kitchen remodel took only 2 weeks.
The old kitchen was totally torn out except for the existing cherry floor. The LP range, refrigerator, cook-stove and ceiling fan were saved.

Kitchen Torned Out

Kitchen Without Walls or Ceiling During The Remodel

The ceiling was lowered 3” to accommodate the new cabinets and crown molding. All new wiring was installed and 8 can lights were installed in a new plank beadboard ceiling.

Ceiling and Countertops

Beadboard Ceiling & Maple Countertops

Beadboard was also installed along the walls and topped with chair rail. The trim for the windows and doors is 7” wide and the baseboards are 10″ wide. A new cherry door was made by an Amish cabinet-maker, as were the maple counter tops.

Cherry Door

New Kitchen Door Is Made Of Pennsylvania Cherry

I designed the counter tops near the LP range with overhang to provide a lip for clamp-on food grinders and other kitchen equipment.

Upper Cabinets and A Shelf

Glass Upper Cabinets and a Shelf Above LP Range

An 18 gauge 9 inch deep double bowl stainless steel sink sits directly between the upper cabinets. The sink has a soap dispenser. The faucet is a pull down type with a lever handle that can either stream or spray.

Sink and Faucet

Stainless Steel Sink With A Pull Down Faucet

The back splashes are standard 4X4 white bathroom tile and reach to the bottom of the cabinets.
For the sake of expediency I ordered Kraft Maid cabinets from Home Depot instead of having them built by the Amish. If I had it to do again I would not buy Kraft Maid. The cabinets and drawers are solid maple and look nice.

Cabinets

Kraft Maid Cabinets

But what you can’t see is that they are put together with staples and in my opinion are junk.
The upper cabinets have glass fronts and the lower cabinets have a recessed panel.

The new walls are drywall and have been painted a very light grey. The trim is white.
I replaced the oak pedestal table that had been in the kitchen for 70 years with a smaller rectangular table.
The smaller table doesn’t look as nice to my eye but is a much better fit. The oak table is in storage. Hopefully  a new dining room will be built.
In general the remodeling went quickly and with no delays. During the remodel all of the appliances and the tall corner cupboard were pushed into the living room.

Kitchen In The Living Room

Camping Out In The Living Room

For 2 weeks we ate lots of hot dogs, frozen entrees and take out food.
I did buy a microwave oven during the remodel so that I could heat water for tea and heat the frozen food.
But I’m not sure if I’ll keep it.
For now the microwave is sitting on the counter because I want my mother-in-law to see it.
It will delight her to no end.

Microwave Oven

Microwave Oven Is On Counter For Show

Bread Machine White Bread Recipe

After a lifetime of his mother’s baking, and more than 25 years with me, homemade is pretty much the only bread my husband will eat. He’s a spoiled man for sure.
Usually I pick one or two days a month to batch bake. On those days I’ll bake 6 loaves of bread and make cookies and other flour goods. I freeze the bread and baked items so we seldom run out. But this spring I became involved in a couple of projects that left me little time and absolutely no desire to be in the kitchen.
So for a few of weeks I completely stopped baking. We eventually ran out of homemade bread.




So what to do? I bought a loaf of bread at the grocery store. No big deal right?
Wrong.
First off I was shocked at the price. Almost $4 a loaf! My goodness! I had no idea store bread was so expensive. And if the price of bread wasn’t bad enough, the taste, smell and texture was terrible. We couldn’t finish the loaf.
I ended up feeding the store bought bread to to the pigs. But while watching the pigs hog down the bread I had an “aha” moment.
It occurred to me that lots of people have been ditching their expensive bread machines and going Low Carb and Paleo.
Seems every time I go into the Salvation Army Thrift Store I see at least one perfectly good bread machine.

And sure enough later that day I had my pick of three decent bread machines at the local thrift store.
Problem solved. I stay out of the kitchen and the Mr. gets a fair substitute for what his mother and I do best.
It was the smartest money I spent this year. At the cost per loaf even if I had to pay full price for a bread machine it would have been money well spent.

Bread Machine

Thrift Store Bread Machine

Thought you might like to see the bread machine recipe I use for white bread.

Recipe for 2 Pound Loaf of Bread Machine White Bread

Add the following ingredients in order:

  • 1Cup of Warm Water
  • 1/3 Cup of Evaporated Milk (can also use regular fluid milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 1/4 Cups of All -Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of White Sugar (I use cane sugar because it’s none GM)
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt

Gently stir the dry ingredients together with a fork taking care not to mix the water or butter mix into them. Create a small well in the flour mixture and then add

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast

Choose the 2 lb. loaf setting with a medium crust. Start the machine according to the  manufacturer’s directions for your bread machine. What could be more simple?

Bread Machine White Bread

A Loaf of Bread From a Bread Machine

Farmhouse Kitchen

My house was built in 1890.
The kitchen of my house was at one time a dining room. The original kitchen that was built with my home was a small wing that came off the west side of the house. The wing burned down sometime in the mid 1920’s and was never replaced.
I’m the 4th Mrs. Grossman and the 5th generation to live in my house. Since I’ve lived here the kitchen has had a few different alterations.The biggest change and improvement to the kitchen was the addition of a cook stove and chimney. I paid $4600 for the stove and $1200 for the chimney.
I think it was a wise investment.

Kitchen

Springtime Kitchen

In my kitchen a homemade counter top with a sink and a base was built from 2X4s. The counter top is a piece of laminate I found on the damaged item cart at Lowe’s. I think I paid around $35 for it 15 years ago.The double bowl sink and faucet in my kitchen were also from Lowe’s. They’re nothing fancy.

Happily in 1999 I got my first ever dishwasher. I don’t own many electrical appliances but I bought the dishwasher to help with my home canning.
It was worth every penny.
The kitchen cabinets consist of old shelves that I got at an auction for $10. There is also a free standing cupboard in the kitchen that came from a local junk store. I think I paid $225 for it. I didn’t want to spend that much money on it. But I couldn’t get the seller to take any less and I really wanted it. I’m glad that I sprang for it because it’s a storage behemoth. Mason jars fit perfectly. But my favorite piece in the kitchen is an old corner cupboard in the kitchen that has been in the same corner for 3 generations

Kitchen July 2007

Kitchen In Summer of 2007. Auction Cabinets and a Free Standing Cupboard

About 10 years ago I laid a cherry floor in the kitchen.
A small local family owned wood mill had a fire, and some of their custom ordered flooring sustained smoke and soot damage. I was offered the entire lot of cherry flooring for $230. So I bought it on the spot.

Cleaning Floors

Cleaning The Kitchen Floors

Now I’m no carpenter, but do know how to use a pneumatic nail gun and a cutoff saw. So I laid the floor myself. It was quite easy really. I just fit the boards and then face nailed the pieces in place. When the floor was complete I sanded it on my hands and knees with a hand sander.




Sadly the kitchen floor is looking somewhat the worse for wear these days. It needs light sanding and two new coats of varnish. The area in front of the sink has actually been worn down to bare wood from standing in front of the sink.

Worn Floor

Worn Floor In Front Of Sink Base

The base for the counter and sink also needs some work. There’s a large hole in the base. It’s there because this past winter I ripped out a brand new dishwasher that replaced the one I bought in 1999. Someday I’ll post about my dishwasher melt down and why I have no intention of ever owning another.
I think the only thing a kitchen really needs is some type of stove; an ice chest or cooler and source of water and a cook.
Everything else is a luxury

Painting The Pantry

Painting The Pantry

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on my old kitchen. The sink base will be freshened up with a coat of paint and I’ll sew some simple under curtains to conceal the dishwasher hole and the space under the sink.
The two cupboards in the kitchen will be cleaned out. The contents will be boxed up and moved out of the kitchen. That’s because the cupboards have to be moved so the floor can be varnished. The stove and refrigerator also have to be moved.

Before Remodel

Kitchen Before The Remodel

It should take about 5 days to a week for the floor to dry enough so that it’s safe to move heavy appliances and furniture back into the room.
So if you don’t hear from me again for a few weeks – you’ll know what I’m up to.

***UPDATE
I gave up trying to put lipstick on a pig.
Somewhere between painting the sink base and sanding the floor I decided I wanted kitchen that was easier to care for in my old age. Plus there is a possibility that I may sell my house and farm.
Not everybody wants to pay $$$ for a make-do funky homestead kitchen. So in January of 2015 the kitchen was completely remodeled.

Storing Canning Jars

Canning jar storage is almost always an issue for home canners.  I’m not sure an ideal storage solution has ever been found for empty jars.
I store canning jars in an unfinished cellar in clear plastic tote tubs. The jars are stored without the bands.

Mason Jars Stored In Tubs

Mason Jars Stored In Clear Plastic Tubs With Lids

I keep the bands out of the cellar and away from any dampness. In the past when I did keep the bands in the cellar they rusted and pitted.




I like clear tubs for storing Mason jars because I can easily see what size jars are in the tub. I also  can  see approximately how many jars are in a tub. The tote tubs are fairly sturdy and can be carried, stacked and are easily washed.

The only downside to storing canning jars in the cellar is that I have to go down a set of rickety stairs into the cellar to retrieve the jars.
It wasn’t a problem when I was a young woman, but now that I’m getting older, I can only carry up half a laundry basket of jars at a time. In another 10 years or so I probably won’t be able to safely carry any jars up the cellar stairs.
Oh the perils of growing old on a homestead!

Make Jam Without Pectin

Well wasn’t I hopping mad yesterday morning.
I had plans to make peach jam from frozen peaches that had been in the freezer since last September.
I like to use pectin when making jams and jellies because it saves time and stove fuel. I also think pectin jams have a slightly better flavor. But my plans hit a snag.

Free Peaches

Free Peaches





I bought “Ball” brand pectin instead of “Sure-Jell” brand, and didn’t notice until yesterday morning, that I had bought instant pectin instead of regular pectin. Instant pectin is used for freezer jams and is not interchangeable with regular powdered pectin.
I began to do a slow burn.
***(Optional Side Rant)***( All the Ball pectin products look alike to me when they’re on the grocery store shelf. And if you  ask me, Jarden/Ball Brands should work on their labeling so the difference between the two types of pectin is more readily apparent to the consumer. When I called to complain the customer service rep gave me some line about how we the consumers demanded “green” labeling for the Jarden/Ball Brand. Give me a  break!  Next time I’m buying Sure-Jell.)
Well I cooled off, but there was no way I was going to use up gasoline or time going to town for a couple of boxes of pectin. So I decided to make peach jam without pectin.

Peach Jam

Jars Of Peach Jam

Making peach jam without pectin is easy.
It just takes a little bit more boiling. The jam will be darker and have a more old-fashioned cooked taste when compared to jam made with pectin.
The trick to making perfect jams without pectin is a candy thermometer and knowing what “sheeting” looks like on a metal spoon.
When making jam without pectin you first need to determine at what temperature water boils in your location on a given day. The boiling point of water changes by altitude and with atmospheric conditions.To test the temperature of boiling water and jam you’ll need a jelly or candy thermometer.

Testing The Temperature Of Boiling Water

Testing The Temperature Of Boiling Water

Once you know what temperature water boils at, all you have to do is add 9°F to that number for perfect jam every time.

Recipe for Peach Jam

  • 4 ½ cups of peeled, pitted and crushed ripe peaches (I’m assuming you already know how to peel & pit peaches)
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice (that’s 1 medium size lemon)
  • 7 cups of white sugar (do yourself a favor and buy pure cane sugar. Beet sugar is now a GMO)

Measure out crushed peaches and place in the bottom of a large kettle. Flat bottom kettles are perfect for this, but any good heavy 8 quart pan will do.
Add lemon juice and sugar to the peaches and stir well.
Place the kettle or pan on high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. A full rolling boil is a boil that cannot be stirred down.
Once the jam mixture has begun to boil, occasionally test the mixture for correct temperature and “sheeting”.

To take the temperature of cooking jam, place the candy or jelly thermometer in the center of boiling mixture. But take care that you don’t rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan. You want the temperature of the jam not the pan. Remember you need a temperature that is 9°F above the boiling point of water.
Sheeting on a spoon is another method to double-check and test jam or jelly.

Jam Mixture Sheeting On A Spoon

Jam Mixture Sheeting On A Metal Spoon

Sheeting is tested by dipping a cool, clean metal spoon into the mixture and quickly lifting it up and to the side.
You are looking to see 2 drops of jam that will run together to form 1 thick drop on the edge of the spoon. The jam mixture forms a jelly sheet on the spoon.
The characteristic layer of jam on a metal spoon is sheeting. It’s the method that our great-grandmothers used when they tested for the correct jelly or jam temperature.

Keep in mind that jams and jellies will thicken as long as they are heated. And it’s easy to over cook jam if you’re not careful.

If you are lucky enough (or foolish enough) to own a refrigerator (depends upon world view),
there is another and more modern method for testing jam when jam is ready . The test is performed by cooling a small amount of hot jam on a plate and placing the plate in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator.
While conducting the test, you’ll need to remove the kettle from the heat so that the jam doesn’t accidentally over cook.
The way that you do it is to place a small amount of hot jam on a clean plate and put the plate in the freezer for a few minutes. If the jam forms a gel it is probably done. But if the jam is still too runny it needs more time on the stove.

Foam On Peach Jam

Foam On Peach Jam

After the jam is cooked, and you are confident that it’s the right consistency remove it from the heat. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to allow any foam to collect on the top. Now carefully remove and skim as much foam as you can with a slotted metal spoon. It helps to rinse and clean the spoon between skimmings.

The foam does no harm to the jam. It’s simply removed because of appearance. The foam migrates to the top of a sealed jar of jam or jelly and has a “rubbery” look and feel to it. You won’t win any blue ribbons at the local county fair with foamy jam or jelly.

Lawrence County Fair Jams & Jellies

Lawrence County Fair Jams & Jellies

After the foam has been removed, pour the jam into hot ½ pint jars leaving about ¼ inch head space – maybe a little less. Wipe the rims clean and seal the jars with a modern two piece lid system.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a gentle water bath. Processing time is counted from the time the water begins to boil.

Peach Jam Processing In A Water Bath

Peach Jam Processing In A Water Bath

When processing time is complete, remove the jars and place on a wooden board or a thick towel. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 8 – 12 hours. When completely cool, check the seals and remove the bands. Store the jam in a cool dark location.

Jam Tips

  • Make only enough jam for one year. Jams and jellies lose quality if stored for too long.
  • Floating fruit is reduced considerably by stirring the jam mixture after the foam is removed and the jam has cooled down a bit.
  • Canned or frozen fruit may be used when making jams and jellies. In fact a superior strawberry jam is made from frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones. And I think the best pineapple jam comes from crushed canned pineapple.
  • Modern canning lid systems work better for jam than a layer of paraffin. Save the old timey paraffin seals for jelly and not for jam.

Freezers

I’m no fan of the grocery store. So I keep two freezers and a well stocked pantry.
One freezer is mostly for meat and the other is for fruits, vegetables, bread and other assorted foods. Throughout the year both freezers are in a constant state of flux. As one is emptied the other is filled again. I try to have both freezers low on food at the beginning of June to coincide with the summer garden. But sometimes that isn’t always possible. Especially if a cow,a  pig or a couple of lambs have recently been butchered and put into the freezers.By November 1st I like to have both freezers and pantries well stocked for the coming winter and following spring. That’s the time when food is scarce.

Meat Freezer

Upright Freezer With Meat

It may sound strange to you, but if I had to choose between owning a freezer or a refrigerator, I’d give up my refrigerator before I’d get rid of one of my freezers.



To my way of thinking a freezer is a much more practical electric appliance than a refrigerator. I can live very well without a refrigerator, but not without a freezer.
Here’s why.
Most foods are best when consumed fresh.
In fact a pretty effective argument can be made for always eating as fresh as possible and to avoid overly processed foods with a long shelf life.
Many foods can be kept at room temperature for a few days to a week before any sign of spoilage begins.
Fresh eggs can sit out on a counter top and have a very long shelf life. Hard cheeses and breads do well as long as they are wrapped tight.
Potatoes, onions, squash, apples, oranges, celery, cabbage and many other common foods really never need refrigeration.
Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and soft cheese should be kept cool. Beer, fruit juice and soda pop are best served cold.
Happily those foods can be stored in a large cooler.
Meats and other foods from a freezer can be easily defrosted and consumed as needed.

Upright Freezer

Upright Freezer In October

The way that the Old Order Amish here in my corner of Pennsylvania keep their dairy foods cold is with ice. They use a cooler or an old refrigerator that doesn’t run.
The Amish who use a broken refrigerator will buy bagged ice in town. That ice is then put into a large plastic dish pan or tub on the top shelf of the refrigerator and the food is placed on the lower shelves.
Depending upon the time of the year and how often the refrigerator door is opened, the ice is usually replaced every few days to once a week. During very hot weather the ice has to be replaced much more often.
Of course during the winter food can be kept in a cold pantry, in a cold attic, on a cold porch or in a cold box that is fitted to a window.

Chest Freezer

Removing Tomatoes & Butter From A Chest Freezer

When you have a freezer you can make the ice necessary to keep things cold. With ice you can keep your perishable food in a cooler or in an ice box.
I’m a food storage fanatic.
And I always store at least one year’s worth of food and supplies.
Long-term food storage is best accomplished by stockpiling foods by at least two different methods. Canning and freezing are the two methods I most often employed.

A large freezer (or two in my case) allows for the long-term storage of food and preserves the taste and texture of many foods much better than canning. Some foods like broccoli, cabbage or egg-plant should only be frozen and never canned.

Broccoli

Garden Fresh Broccoli Ready For Freezing

A large freezer can be easily maintained during an electrical power outage with a generator and some common sense.
If for some reason a power outage should last weeks instead of days, most foods in my freezer can be canned in an orderly manner.
The foods that can only be frozen (like egg-plant or broccoli) will have to be eaten promptly or fed to pigs or chickens.
But that’s not a real problem in the big scheme of things.
Give me the choice between a freezer or a refrigerator – and I’ll pick the freezer every time.
If you ask me, a refrigerator is an expensive and overrated modern convenience that most people think of as a necessity. There are much cheaper ways to store milk, ketchup, onions, lunch meat and beer.

Freezer

Cleaning Out A Freezer

Recipe For Apple Pie

Here’s my ever-changing and evolving recipe for Apple Pie. There are two methods here: a raw filling and a heated filling.
The raw pack is presented first and is the faster method. The heated pack is essentially the same as the raw pack. Details for the heated filling follow in the notes below.

Apple Pie

A Slice of Apple Pie

The heated apple filling is probably the superior pie and always looks better. If you get a chance to try both and let me know what you think.
Enjoy!

  • 7 to 10 firm medium size apples – peeled, cored and sliced. It’s nice to mix a couple different varieties of apples when making an apple pie. Cortland and Northern Spy apples are my favorite for pies. But Granny Smith, Jonagold, Newton Pippin, Winesap or Honey Crisp are all good for baking.
  • 1 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice and Pulp From 1 Medium to Small Size Fresh Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Double Pastry for a 9″ or 10″ pie plate or tin

*************************

Step 1

Make The Pastry

Make a pastry for a double crust pie.
Please check here if you need a crust recipe or don’t know how to make one.
Wrap the pie pastry in wax paper or plastic wrap and set it in the cooler or refrigerator while you work on the apple filling. Pastry needs to be kept cold.

Step 2

Prepare the Apples

The lemon juice will help prevent the apples from turning an ugly brown. Lemon also adds a good tart flavor to the pie.
Cut, squeeze and remove the seeds from the lemon. If you run hot water over the lemon or place the lemon into a cup of hot water for a minute or so, and then rub it between your palms before you cut it, the lemon will give more juice.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Juicing A Fresh Lemon

Add the lemon juice with pulp to a very large bowl. You will put the apple slices into the bowl while you are working on them, so make sure the bowl is big enough.
Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and slicing them into ½ inch slices. A mechanical apple peeler and corer works well for this.

But an old-fashioned paring knife and apple corer will get the job done too.

A Peeled Apple

Peeled Apple Ready To Be Cored & Sliced

As each apple is peeled, cored and sliced, place it into the large bowl with the lemon juice. Stir the apples after each addition to insure that all apple slices get their fair share of lemon juice.
Step 3
Mix the Apple Coating
In a separate large bowl combine the sugar, flour, corn starch, salt, and cinnamon and apple cider vinegar.
Mix it well with a fork until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.

Mixing Coating Over Apples

Mixing Coating Over Apples

The mixture will be brown and crumbly.
Turn the apples into the bowl a few at a time and mix with a wooden spoon to coat them.

Step 4
Roll Out the Pastry For The Bottom Crust
I always use wax paper when rolling out my pie crusts. But you may prefer a well-floured board, counter top or pastry cloth.




Roll out the bottom crust taking care that you don’t stretch it or over work it. Keep the rolling-pin and pastry dough well dusted with flour to prevent the pastry dough from sticking. Line the pie plate and allow about 1 ½ – 2 inches of pastry dough to overhang.
Step 5
Add Apples
Fill the pie pan with the coated apples.

Apples Fill Pie Pan

Filling Pie Pan With Prepared Apples

The first picture in this section depicts raw pack apples. The second picture with the butter pats depicts the hot pack.
If you look carefully you will notice a difference. The same amount of apples are present in both pies, but the heated pack apples take up less space.

Evenly dot small bits of butter across the top for either type of filling.

Doting Mixture With Butter

Dotting Apple Filling With Butter

Step 6
Roll Out the Top Crust
You’ll need to make the top crust wider than the bottom crust.
That’s because the apples will be heaped up in the pie pan. It takes a larger top to cover them.
Put the top crust on the pie, trim the crust evenly (I use scissors) and turn the edges under to seal the pie. You can crimp or flute the edges with your fingers. A spoon, fork tines or the handle of a butter knife also works well.
I usually cut a few air holes in my pie tops or use a pie bird to help vent the stem.

Pie Bird In Action

Pie Bird Helps To Vent The Pie

If you want to prevent the edges of the crust from over browning or burning, place thin strips of foil around the crust and remove the foil during the last 10 -15 minutes of baking. A commercial pie shield also works well. I don’t usually do this with a lard crust. But for a crust made with butter or Crisco it can be a good idea.

Also, you may want to place a cookie sheet on the rack under the pie while it is baking. Sometimes the pie will bubble over and leave a pretty good mess on the oven floor. It’s easier to clean a cookie sheet than an oven.
Step 7
Bake the Pie
Bake the pie for 40 – 50 minutes in a hot oven until nicely brown.
400F° is just about right.
Sometimes a really big apple pie will require more time in the oven.
Once the pie is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Pie Cooling

An Apple Pie Cooling On A Wire Rack

*Apple Pie Tips & Hints*
*With apple pies, very often there will be a hollow space between the apples and the crust. It can be a disappointment for novice pie makers. But don’t worry you did nothing wrong.
There’s a fix for it.
The hollow space forms because the apples gradually shrink while they are baking, but the crust bakes firm where it started. The amount of hollow head space inside an apple pie can be partly controlled by par cooking the apples before adding them to the unbaked bottom crust.
Follow the recipe exactly as above, except in Step 3 mix the apple coating in a large kettle or pot and add the apples to it instead of a large bowl.
Next heat the apples on a very low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Stir the apples often so they don’t stick.
Take care that you don’t overcook them or you could end up with applesauce if you’re not careful.
After the apples have cooked and soften a bit, put the still hot apples in the pie pan. Cover with the top crust and proceed with the recipe. The baking time will be shortened and there’s sometimes a tendency for the pie to bubble a little more. I usually will make my pies by this method if I’m hungry for compliments, or appearance and presentation is important. It takes more time – but it’s worth it.
*Some cooks will brush the top of the pie with egg white or milk to make the crust soft or shiny.
*Place pies on a rack to cool and the bottom will not be soggy.
* A fluted pie pan makes a scalloped edge pie which is very nice for entertaining. Scalloped pie dishes are pricey but worth it if you make lots or pies or need to impress.

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a favorite around here. My husband likes it for breakfast and I like it anytime. It’s a fantastic way to use up leftover rice.
There are many different variations of rice pudding found around the world. The recipe below is classic American farmhouse cuisine.

Ingredients

Ingredients For Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

  • Heaping ⅓ Cup of Cooked Rice
  • 6 Eggs
  • ¾ – 1 Cup of White Cane Sugar
  • 1 Quart Whole Milk
  • ½ Cup of Raisins
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Pre-Heat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar and milk. Beat well with a rotary mixer, whisk or by hand vigorously. Take care that the sugar is well blended.

Blend Well

Blend Eggs, Milk & Sugar Well

Place the cooked rice in a 1 ½ – 2 quart casserole dish or into small custard dishes. Sprinkle raisins over the rice.

Pour the milk mixture over the rice. Stir rice and milk mixture very gently with a fork to help unstick any clumps of rice. Evenly sprinkle nutmeg over the top. Place casserole or dishes in a shallow pan of water to bake. Bake for about 1 hour or until a table knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Rice Pudding

A Bowl Of Rice Pudding