Visiting a farmers market is great fun, but the challenge occurs when you arrive home: how to quickly prepare those great fruits and vegetables before they go bad.
One day last week my hubby and I drove back from Oklahoma with a truck full of goodies from the Chickasaw farmers markets we visited in Ardmore and Madill. You can read more about our farmers-market shopping in my new book, Way Back in the Country Garden--especially in the chapter "One Smart Indian."
The Chickasaw Nation, of which my husband is a citizen and an elder, provides funds to its elders so they can buy locally grown, fresh produce and learn more healthy food preparation instead of cooking canned vegetables that likely have more sodium and other additives. We love to utilize this benefit and during our trip last week visited several roadside stands and brought home some delicious-looking produce.
But how to get it all prepared quickly--especially the huge sack of apples we toted in with us?
I remembered a recipe for "Farm Apple Pan Pie" (featured below) that has been in the front sleeve of my "summer" recipe binder--yet never prepared. Do you have recipes such as this--always on your wish-list to fix, yet you bypass them again and again with a promise of "some day"? This recipe requires five pounds of tart apples--a perfect usage for this bounty of gorgeous apples that we needed to utilize fast.
While I left to visit the cemetery (Sunday 5/16 was the anniversary of my dad's passing--17 years) to put some fresh-cut roses on his grave, my sweet hubby agreed to peel the apples. Bless my dear hubby, before you feel sorry for him, please know that he used one of those no-brainer Apple-Peeler-Corer-Slicer devices that you can get through Pampered Chef. It skins the apples, peels and cores them, and slices them into tiny, delectable bites all at one time. So he zipped through those five pounds of apples in a heartbeat (and saved the skins--the healthiest part of the apple--to use in his homemade smoothies. I'll write more about that later in another blog.)
After that part, the remainder of assembling the Farm Apple Pan Pie was simple--a dusting with sugars (brown and regular) mixed with spices, an egg-yolk pastry, and placing all this in a jelly roll pan. The recipe calls for a double crust, but I used a lattice top instead (so I could watch the apples baking.) Truthfully, I had an excess of crust and apples, so by making a bit extra amount of the sugar "dusting" I had enough for a second pie in a small pie plate!
You can't imagine what a delicious dish this made! We thought we trumped the folks in Willcox, AZ, who run the Apple Cider Mill (one of our favorite stopovers on the road from Dallas to Phoenix) and serve memorable apple pies. Stopping in there for one of their homemade pies makes the last four hours of that long trip to Phoenix more bearable. But now I had one on them--my own apple creation!
Fifty minutes later out popped my Farm Apple Pan Pie--brown, bubbling, and wonderful (prepared with health-conscious substitutes such as Splenda, No-Salt, and Egg Beaters, by the way). I had used up a significant portion of my farmers-market produce; I had assuaged my conscience by preparing a long-put-off recipe; best of all, I had a spare pie to store in the freezer for another day when a homemade dessert would be handy!
Farm Apple Pan Pie
Egg Yolk Pastry:
5 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar (I use sugar substitute)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten (I use egg substitute)
3/4 cup cold water
5 pounds tart apples, peeled and thinly sliced
4 teaspoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar (or substitute)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt (I use substitute)
In a bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder; cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine yolks and cold water. Sprinkle over dry ingredients; toss with fork. If needed, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture can be formed into a ball. Divide dough in half, On a lightly floured surface roll half of dough to fit a 15-inch-by-10-inch-by-1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice; arrange half of them over dough. combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; sprinkle half over apples. Top with remaining apples; sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Roll remaining pastry to fill pan; place on top of filling and seal edges. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut vents in top pastry. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Makes 18-24 servings.