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A new tradition

Eastern Market apple pie contest adds Ďhomemadeí feel to festival

(Published November 5, 2001)

For attorney Farleigh Earhart, it was her first effort at baking an apple pie. For Sarah Bush, it was her introduction to her new Capitol Hill neighborhood.

For many others who showed up for Eastern Marketís fall festival during Octoberís final weekend, it was simply a lot of fun. And thatís how the organizers intended it to be.

The Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corp.ís first annual Homemade Apple Pie Contest drew 10 entries, all made from apples purchased from fruit vendors at the cityís historic food marketplace.

Three winners were selected by judges Tommy Wells, who represents Wards 5 and 6 on the D.C. Board of Education; Celeste McCall, a longtime Hill resident and freelance restaurant reviewer; and Linda "Ma" Brown of the Eastern Market farmerís line, well-known by the marketís frequent shoppers for chanting about her "freshly baked goods, baked all night, for your eating delight."

First-place winner Rick Otis, a member of the sponsoring organizationís board whose day job is at the Environmental Protection Agency, gave up the winnerís award ó a stoneware pie plate made by Eastern Market "clay queen" Renee Altman ó to second-place winner Earhart. Bush, who recently moved to the District from Tennessee and worked as a pastry chef while in college, received a gift certificate for Montmartre Restaurant on Market Row. Otis accepted what was meant to be third prize, a pewter pumpkin tureen from Eastern Market vendor Seri Vindi.

All three winners agreed to share their award-winning recipes with The Common Denominatorís readers. They are published below.

FIRST PLACE RECIPE

(Winner: Rick Otis)

This is a recipe for a basic, unadorned apple pie. First make the pie crust dough. Then make the filling. Roll out the dough and put it into a pie plate. Add the filling and top crust. Bake. Eat. You can add ingredients such as raisins or cranberries to spice up the filling. (The Eastern Market first prize winner had raisins.) You can also decorate the top crust by weaving Ĺ-inch strips of pastry into a lattice rather than using a solid piece of pastry. Use a heavy-duty glass or ceramic 8-inch pie plate.

PIE CRUST

1 3/4 cups all purpose, unbleached flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cups lard, chilled

1/3 cup ice water

1.Sift the salt and flour together twice.

2.Put flour and lard into a large mixing bowl. Cut together the lard and flour using two knives until the

(See PIE, page 16)

(PIE, from page 13)

lard is coated with flour and cut into pea-sized pieces. (Smaller pieces will yield a less flaky pastry.)

3.Sprinkle one tablespoon of ice water over the flour/lard mixture and stir using a two-tined cooking fork. Continue this process until the dough begins to stick togther into a large ball. You may not need to use all the water or may have to use a bit more, depending upon the flour.

4.Test the dough by lightly patting it together into a loose ball. If it holds together, stop adding water. Aim for a loose, somewhat crumbly ball. If itís too crumbly, break the ball apart and add another tablespoon of water. Repeat as necessary.

5.Wrap the ball in wax paper and chill two hours or more.

FILLING

Four large Ida Red apples

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Ĺ teaspoon powdered cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon butter

flour shaker

1.Peal and core about 3 cups of apples. Slice into 1/4-inch thick wedges. Test the amount by filling up the pie plate with a mound about 1 Ĺ" inches above the rim.

2.Put the apple slices in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle them with the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until the apples are coated with the mixture.

3.Set aside.

ASSEMBLY

Flour shaker

Water

Milk

1.Line the oven bottom with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2.Cut the dough ball into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.

3.Lightly dust a large wooden cutting board with flour. Lightly roll out the larger piece into about a 9-inch+ circle, 1/8-inch thick. Periodically stop rolling and loosen the dough from the board using a narrow, long spatula. You may need to wet a finger and repair any tears or cracks that may form around the outside edge of the circle.

4.Using the spatula, fold Ĺ of the circle over the other. Using the spatula, lift the dough off the board, place it onto a corresponding half circle of the pie plate and unfold. Carefully center the circle of dough on the plate and gently push it down into the plate. Use kitchen scissors to trim dough around the plateís rim.

5.Layer the apple slices around the bottom of the crust and continue until they are mounded above the rim.

6.Dot the apples with butter and dust with flour from the shaker.

7.Roll out the remaining piece of dough for the top crust as above. It should make a slightly smaller circle.

8.Using a brush, wet the edge of the dough along the rim of the pie plate.

9.Fold the top crust, lift it off the board with the help of the spatula and place over the apples. Unfold and center.

10.Use a regular fork to press the top and bottom crust together around the plateís rim. Use scissors to cut off any excess dough around the edge. Poke the top crust with the fork about 6 times to make vent holes.

11.Place pie in the center of the oven. Bake for total of about 50 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven about 10 minutes before itís done and brush the top with milk or cream to create a shiny glaze. Poke a tooth pick through a vent hole to tell how soft the apples are. The crispiness of the crust and softness of the apples is a matter of taste, but donít overbake. The crust will darken a bit as it cools, so donít bake it until the crust looks as dark as you want it when done. (A clear glass pie plate lets you tell how done the bottom crust is.)

12. Remove pie from over and let it cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

(Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, 11th edition.)

SECOND PLACE RECIPE

(Winner: Farleigh Earhart)

CRUST

(This makes two double-crusted pies--from Baking with Julia Child)

5 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 cups (11 oz.) solid vegetable shortening, chilled

1 cup ice water

FILLING

11 Jonathan apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ginger

juice of one lemon

2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

To make crust, mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingers until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the shortening in little bits into the mixture and work it in with the blender or your fingers until it has small clumps and curds. Switch to a wooden spoon and add the ice water a tablespoon at a time, stirring to incorporate it. Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a ball and refrigerate overnight. The next day, divide the ball into quarters, and roll each quarter on a floured surface into a flat round using a rolling pin. Cut the rounds to the size of your pie pans and refrigerate again. While they are chilling, prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, mix apple slices with the sugar, spices and lemon juice, coating evenly. Let them sit for at least a half hour. Drain the apple slices through a colander, reserving the drained liquid (there will be about a cup). Take the liquid, and in a glass measuring cup coated with non-stick spray, microwave the liquid on high for 7 minutes (the liquid should condense by half). Sift the corn starch over the apple slices and stir to coat the slices evenly. Divide the apple slices between two pie pans lined with crusts, then pour half of the heated liquid over each pie. Place the top crusts on the pies and crimp around the edges. Slice vents into the tops crusts. Coat the crusts with a little milk, then sprinkle sugar on them.

Place in an oven thatís been preheated to 450 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes at 450, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden. If the edges are darkening, cover the rims of the pies with foil to protect them from burning. Cool for several hours before eating.

THIRD PLACE RECIPE

(Winner: Sarah Bush)

To make the crisp, you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour

Ĺ tsp. Salt

2/3 cup shortening

6-7 tbsp. Icewater

Mix the dry ingredients. Cut the shortening in with a pastry chopper until crumb-sized. Quickly add the icewater and work it in until moistened. Divide in half and flatten into two disks. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the filling, toss together, then set aside:

6 cups sliced, peeled Jonathan apples

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. apple brandy

ĺ cup sugar

Ĺ cup sweetened, dried cranberries

Ĺ tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. flour

Remove crust from refrigerator, roll out, and lay in a glass disk. Add filling. Roll out top layer, and put on top. Crimp edges of crust. Cut a design on top for steam to escape. Sprinkle w/ sugar. Bake at 350 degrees and check after 45 min. Bake until golden.

Copyright 2001, The Common Denominator