I’m in charge of desserts for Thanksgiving dinner on my husband’s side of the family, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the sweets section of my cookbook collection. There will be pumpkin pie, don’t you worry. But amazingly, not everyone enjoys pumpkin-everything (who ARE these people?? ) So I’m also going to make a few non-pumpkin choices to ensure that everyone has a happy ending to their big meal.
Now, I’ve got nothing against the traditional version of apple pie. I just like to be different. It’s a compulsion! So when I ran across this recipe, I was intrigued. It’s basically applesauce in a pie crust with a meringue topping! It comes from Desserts and Salads, published in 1920 by Gesine Lemcke, author of The European And American Cuisine, and Chafing-Dish Recipes and, at that time, the principal and owner of the Brooklyn and New York Cooking Colleges.
3 large apples, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the pie crust in a pie plate and trim. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit inside the crust. Bake the crust alone at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Stew the apples by placing them in a saucepan covered with water and boiling them for about 20 minutes or until they are very soft. Drain. Or you can place them in a microwave safe dish, cover it with saran wrap, and microwave them for five minutes.
Place apples in food processor and pulse until they are smooth.
Add the granulated sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg and the yolks of the eggs to the food processor and pulse until well blended.
Fill the partially baked pie crust, spread the top even, and pop it back into the oven for 40 minutes or until the filling is set.
A couple of tips about the meringue: Leave your egg whites come to room temperature. This ensures higher volume when you whip them. Also never make meringue on a rainy or a really humid day! The moisture in the air will affect the volume of the egg whites. Make sure your bowl and your whipping attachment are spotlessly clean and completely dry. Finally, meringue is easier to make from eggs that are a couple of days old as opposed to eggs that are fresh. Most of us don’t have to worry much about this because our eggs come from the store and are already a few days old when we get them, but if you have fresh eggs from your own chickens or from a local farm, buy your eggs a couple of days ahead of time before making a meringue.
When you have about five minutes left until the filling is done, begin whipping your egg whites until they are a stiff froth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined.
When the filling is set, remove the pie and quickly spread the meringue over the top. Be sure to get the meringue all the way to the edge of the pie, touching the crust, to prevent shrinkage. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and bake the pie for an additional 10 minutes, until the meringue is brown.
Serve and enjoy!