Sebringville Schnitz Apple Pie

Autumn 2017
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food and drink

BY: Elizabeth Baird

There are plenty of recipes for Dutch apple pie also known as schnitz pie, but none better than this one, with thick apple wedges drizzled with cream and nestled under a sugar and butter crumble. Back in the 1930s, following the respected practice of recipe-sharing, Mary Sinclair of Sebringville, Ont., passed on her excellent schnitz pie recipe to her friend, my mother, Olive Davis.

Flaky Pastry (recipe follows)
1½ lbs (750 g) apples, Northern Spy, Cortland or Golden Delicious, (4 to 6)
⅔ cup (150 mL) packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) soft butter
¼ cup (60 mL) whipping cream
½ tsp (2 mL) grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon

1. Arrange oven rack at bottom third of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

2. On a floured surface, roll pastry to a 13-inch (33-cm) round, a scant ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. Ease pastry into the pie plate without stretching. Trim pastry ½ inch (1 cm) from edge of rim and tuck overhang under pastry on rim. Press gently and flute. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

3. Peel, core and cut apples into ¾-inch (2-cm) wedges. Arrange wedges snugly in pie shell, slicing the last few so all fit into the shell. Apples will shrink as pie bakes.

4. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine sugar and flour; then work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples; drizzle cream evenly overtop and dust with nutmeg.

5. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake until filling is bubbling and apples tender, about 45 minutes. Check at the half hour and if the pastry is already golden, shield pastry on rim with strips of foil.

6. Let pie cool on rack. It’s ideal to serve it while still a little warm, about 4 hours after it exits the oven.

Makes 6 to 8 servings


FLAKY PASTRY

A food processor pastry that makes just the right amount for this 9-inch (23-cm) pie. The butter is for flavour, the lard for the flaky feature. Use all butter or all lard as you wish.

1½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¼ cup (60 mL) each cold butter and lard, cubed
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp (30 mL) ice water, approximate
2 tsp (10 mL) cider or white vinegar

1. Whirl flour and salt in food processor. Sprinkle butter and lard over dry ingredients; pulse about 12 times or until crumbly with some larger pieces.

2. Combine egg yolk with water and vinegar. Drizzle over flour mixture, pulsing a few times until mixture is evenly moist and will hold together when pressed. Add a few drops more water if needed to incorporate flour mixture. Turn out onto work surface and press into disc. To make ahead, wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let soften at room temperature before rolling.

Makes enough pastry for a single-crust pie.


FLAKY PASTRY BY HAND

1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. With pastry blender or fingertips, work butter and lard into dry ingredients, working until mixture is crumbly with some larger pieces. Combine egg yolk with water and vinegar and drizzle over flour mixture, tossing all the while with fork, until mixture holds together when pressed. Add a few drops more water if needed to incorporate dry ingredients. Turn out onto work surface and press into disc. To make ahead, wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Let soften at room temperature before rolling.