For Dia de los Muertos and Everyday: Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie Recipe with Cornmeal Crust

In 1976, a few years before I opened a gourmet cookware shop and cooking school in South Bend, Indiana, I contributed a recipe to the first edition of the Temple Beth El cookbook. Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie is based on one that my mother prepared on occasion. For Dia de los Muertos, I found myself consulting that cookbook yet again as I prepared to welcome her spirit back to me.

Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie, from Muertos to Thanksgiving

Many of you asked for the recipe when I talked about it on Facebook. So, here it is:

Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie

  • 6 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (you can also use pecans or almonds)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • dash of grated nutmeg
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon, size medium to large
  • 4 T. water

In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, raisins, nuts, sugar and spices. Mix. Add cornstarch, sprinkling it over the mixture. Mix so that the apples are completely coated by corn starch. Add lemon juice and water. Stir and set aside.  (You can prepare this a day in advance: seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Mama Dorothy, 1916-2015

Corn Meal Crust based on a James Beard Recipe 

I love this corn meal crust because of it’s crunch. I buy Goya brand extra coarse corn meal from the Mexican market. The egg yolk enriches the crust and binds it together.

In your Cuisinart, with the chopping blade in place, add:

  • 1-1/2 c. fine white flour
  • 1 c. coarse cornmeal
  • 1/8 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. sugar

Pulse to stir these dry ingredients together.

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 stick salted butter, cut into 8 pieces

Add egg yolk and distribute the butter pieces evenly atop the flour mixture.  Use the “on” button to mix ingredients until butter is the size of small peas.

  • about 7-10 Tb. ice water

With the machine running, add the ice water slowly through the pour spout of the lid until the flour begins to form a dough ball. Add more ice water if needed. Remove lid and test to see if the flour is combined enough to form a dough. If not, continue processing and adding a bit more water. The dough should not be sticky!

Remove dough from machine. Put it in a mixing bowl, cover and let rest for 30-45 minutes before working it. At this point, you can refrigerate dough, covered with plastic wrap or freeze it until ready to use.  I will often roll out the crust, put it into the pie plate unfilled and then refrigerate or freeze until I need it.

Put the dough between two sheets of wax paper. It should be soft enough after resting to work easily with a rolling-pin.  Roll from center out to the edges, constantly turning the wax paper in 45 degree turns so that you create an even circle.

When dough gets to 8-10′ in diameter, remove top piece of wax paper. Lift edge of bottom sheet of paper and flip onto your pie plate.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put your rack in the middle of the oven.

Remove crust from the fridge. Fill it. Don’t make the apples too deep. If you have enough filling and crust, you can make two 8″ pies.

  • Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees and bake 30-40 minutes until the liquid congeals and becomes bubbly. Remove. Serve warm or room temperature.
  • Serves 6-8.
  • Top with vanilla ice cream if you like.

I’m returning to Mexico on November 16, and preparing Thanksgiving with Kalisa Wells for a crowd at my Teotitlan del Valle casita on November 23. I bet this will be among the dessert offerings!

Pie on a plate. It’s also good smeared with cottage cheese on top.

 

 

6 Responses to For Dia de los Muertos and Everyday: Mama Dorothy’s Apple Pie Recipe with Cornmeal Crust

  1. Beautiful remembering and honoring of your beloved Mom. Thanks for the inspiration and love.

  2. Please let me know if there is a space available in the second Chiapas tour and how to send the deposit.
    Thank you,
    Patricia
    PS I will try the pie recipe. It sounds delicious.

  3. …or Cheddar

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