Two of my great-aunts moved back to the small town of their youth after moving away to California. “Sis” and “Coot” live in my memories as women who filled the room with their personalities. When I was a girl, they lived in California where they had moved to in their 20s. What adventurous spirits they had! I often wonder what gave them that courage to leave that small town when most everybody they knew stayed put and got married. I remember the stories they told of places I had never been to. Their Southern accents had vanished long ago;the accents that were unfamiliar to me gave them a bit of an exotic persona to my small town child’s mind. I have also wondered how they managed to get those nicknames!
They were both excellent cooks and never minded sharing their recipes and their creations. They were known to give pies away in glass pie plates….they just asked that you bring the dishes back! I have Coot’s Apple Pie Recipe and will share it with you…all ingredients present and accounted for! While I have this treasured recipe in my cookbook, Coot (aka Evelyn McGhee)’s daughter, Mary was kind and generous enough to post it on her blog. Because I am really lazy, I copied this from her site. Thanks Mary!
At some point, Coot decided to go ahead and purchase her own tombstone for her final resting place. The stone has an engraving of a pie on it! What could be more fitting? She would even go over to the local church and tend her grave and tombstone! She had an ongoing battle with the birds in the area because they seemed to be very fond of using her tombstone as a birdie toilet area. These days, the birds near me seem to be very fond of my mailbox. While unsightly, I don’t really mind because I just think of my Aunt Coot fussing about those birds messing up her gravesite!
Coot’ Apple Pie
pastry for a 9″ pie (top and bottom crust)
4-5 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbl. flour
1 Tbl. water
3 Tbl. butter or margarine
Coot’s Perfect Every Time Pie Crust
3 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
1-1/3 cups shortening
1 egg, well-beaten
3-5 Tbl. ice water
1 Tbl. white vinegar
Sift together flour and salt. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry cutter until it has the texture of coarse crumbs. Combine egg, water, and vinegar (use only 3 tablespoons of water at first, and add the rest later only if you need it to make the dough hold together). Pour into flour mixture all at once. Blend with a spoon just until flour is all moistened. Gather into a ball and roll out on waxed paper. To place in pie plate, lift waxed paper and peel off when crust is in place. Makes one double (top and bottom) crust or two single (bottom) crusts.
Some of the secrets to light, flaky, tender pie crusts are:
- have the ingredients cool or chilled when you start; chill the dough when you aren’t working with it (before you roll it out, after it’s in the pie plate and before baking)
- work quickly, and handle the dough as little as possible; avoid over-blending or re-rolling it. The idea is to have little bits of unblended shortening sandwiched between layers of pastry when you roll out the dough–that’s what creates the flaky texture when it cooks.
Prepare the pie crust (top and bottom) as directed. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and flour and stir into fruit. ( my Momma cooks her apple mixture a little, then lets it cook a bit before pouring into pie shell). our fruit into pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut five 1″ slits to allow steam to escape. Mask edges with strips of foil. Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes.