Reading is a passion of mine. I blame attribute it to my constant thirst for knowledge and inability to be still. I’m not very discriminating in my reading material. Okay, maybe a little, I don’t like reading horror novels… and I’m not a fan of harlequin romance.
The Husband bought me the second Harry Potter book to keep me company as he finished his tour in South Korea 7 years ago, so I’ve patiently waited for the release of each new book and followed Harry along in his education of wizardry and fight against evil. As sad as it was to know that the final book had been published and read, it was time for me to say goodbye to Harry.
I often find myself amidst the “bargain” stacks at bookstores. I’m a very thrifty person and I like feeling as if I’ve gotten a book for a steal or discovered how talented a new author is. I first discovered Brad Meltzer in a bargain stack. I snatched up a hard cover copy of Dead Even and added it to my pile of books to keep me occupied as The Husband was off doing some military thing. Within the first chapter I was smitten. Now, Brad Meltzer is one of the names I look for in the stacks. He has an engaging narrative that puts the reader in the middle of the pages and I love the suspense of his stories.
No matter how hard I try, I cannot get away from Janet Evonovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie Plum is a rookie bail enforcement agent who meets her share of mayhem along the way. There’s nothing like a good Stephanie Plum read to plant a smile on my face and giggle uncontrollably. Too many times I find myself relating to Stephanie Plum and her uncanny ability to be such a klutz and airhead.
Shortly after I moved away from The Parent’s home, The Adopted Godfather started giving The Mother new books at every chance he could. A new series was being written and he felt this particular series would help The Mom cope with my moving away. Jan Karon had begun writing The Mitford Books. For years, The Mom would tell me to go get the books and read them. For years, I said, “I will Mom,” then promptly forget. Besides… Jan Karon’s books have never graced my bargain book stacks!
A few years ago after I returned to North Carolina from a visit with my parents, I found myself yet again at the bookstore. This time, I made a beeline for the Christian section and grabbed the first three books in the Mitford series. I couldn’t put them down… and I couldn’t shake the spiritual and physical hunger that came with reading the stories of Father Tim’s adventures. Every page is laced with old-fashioned wholesome goodness. Interspersed throughout the stories are tales of church gatherings and mouth watering descriptions of the food shared by the characters.
Thankfully, by the time I came around to buying the series and finished reading them a cookbook had emerged with recipes created to reflect those in the novels. The Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader was soon added to my collection. The recipes remind me of the happiness and hope I felt reading the series… and it just so happens to have one of the best apple pie recipes I’ve ever tried.
Puny’s Apple Pie
Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader
Pastry for double crust
2 1/2 c flour
1 t salt
1 T sugar
1/2 c butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 c shortening, cut into small pieces
1 T sour cream
4 – 5 T iced water
Place flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, pulse 10 times. Add butter and pulse 5 times, repeat with shortening, add sour cream, pulse another 5 times. The cookbook wants you to take the mixture out of the processor at this time, but I just leave it there. Slowly add ice water until the mixture forms a ball. Turn out on a lightly floured surface, separate into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk (about 1″ thick). Refrigerate 1 disk for 30 minutes, freeze the other for later use. Roll out the refrigerated ball into a circle, fold and re-refrigerate for 30 minutes.
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c sugar
2 T flour
1 c sour cream
1 T vanilla
4 large apples, (Granny Smith or Jonathan)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
After refrigerating a single pastry for 30 minutes, form crust to a pie plate and crimp edges. I always cut my apples for apple pie in large chunks, so peel, halve and then quarter the apples. Core the apples by cutting at an angle (Rachael Ray style). Cut the quartered apples in half then chop into 3/4″ pieces. Pile the apples into crust.
In a small bowl, combine egg, sugar, flour, sour cream and vanilla. Pour the sour cream mixture over the apples and bake for 15 minutes.
While the pie is baking, make the topping.
1/4 c butter, at room temperature
1/3 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
Pinch of salt
Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over apples, remove pie from oven and reduce temperature to 350. Sprinkle topping over the pie and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Try to let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting into it.
Furthermore, go buy the Mitford series. You’ll love it!