What could be more Americana than an apple pie sold from a stand at the very Eldon, Iowa, house where Grant Wood painted his famous 1930 couple-with-a-pitchfork work, American Gothic?
Author/baker Beth Howard now lives in that house and sells pies by the hundreds at her Pitchfork Pie Stand. She includes this recipe in her book, Making Piece: A memoir of love, loss and pie.
Note: Howard doesn’t buy into the rules about chilling flour or dough. But like other bakers she commands, “Do not overwork the dough!”
Pitchfork Pie Stand Apple Pie
- 2 1/2 cups flour (but have at least 3 1/2 cups flour available; use the extra for rolling the crust and thickening the filling
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- Dash of salt
- Ice water (fill 1 cup but use only enough to moisten the dough)
In a large bowl, work the butter and shortening into the flour with your hands until you see marble-sized lumps form. Pour in ice water a little at a time, sort of “fluffing” the flour to mix in the liquid.
When the dough feels moist, do a “squeeze test” and if it holds together, you’re done. Your dough should feel tacky, but not wet. Divide the dough into two balls. Form each ball into a disk shape. Sprinkle flour under and on top of your dough to keep it from sticking to your rolling surface. Roll each disk flat to fit your pie pan. Trim excess dough around the edges with scissors so that it is about 1-inch wider than the pan edge.
- 7 large Granny Smith apples, peeled
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 Tbs. flour
- Dash of salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon (or more, depending on how much you like)
- 1 Tb. butter (to put on top of apples before covering with top crust
- 1 beaten egg (to brush top crust before baking)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Lay the prepared bottom crust into the pie pan.
Stir together the dry ingredients.
Slice half of the peeled apples directly into the pie, arranging and pressing them into the dish to remove extra space between slices.
Cover with half of the dry mixture.
Slice the remaining apples into the pan and top with the remaining dry mixture. Add a dollop of butter.
Roll out the top crust and cover the filling.
Crimp the edges, then brush with the beaten egg.
Use a knife to poke vent holes in the top crust.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
Turn oven down to 375 degrees and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or so, until juice bubbles. Poke with a knife to be sure apples have softened. Do not over bake or apples will turn mushy.