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Well Read

November 6, 2008


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

For pastry:
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!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2008 11:54

    Looks good….never read those books though….not sure I ever heard of them…. I am currently reading four or five books in which I have no idea of the current story line, can you tell my total loyalty to them by my jumping enthusiasm???

    Eh-hm…..speaking of apples…..are those apples the ones from my apples sauce???? Just curious you know…..they look so ripe and good (raises eye-brow).

    hope you are having a good Thursday with yesterdays wall street finish……thought of you as I watched gas prices go up and down yesterday…… 😉


  2. November 6, 2008 12:07

    I wish I read more–maybe when I quit my job and the kids go to college! That pie looks great, like the sour cream idea, I’ve never used that in my apple pie.

  3. November 6, 2008 23:22

    You should join us at Cook the Books!
    A book club started by Deb (of Kahakai Kitchen), Rachel and Jo. It just started, you would be perfect – if you are interested.
    Sour cream sounds heavenly in an apple pie – I will have to try that one day.

  4. November 7, 2008 08:27

    I’m reading Blindness right now…wierd book. I’ve never read the Mitford series books-I’ll have to look for them…I sure do love apple pie.

  5. November 7, 2008 15:20

    That pie looks great and I love the suggested reads- I’m always looking for a good book! (And I cried when I finished the last Harry Potter- I hate when things come to an end!)

  6. November 7, 2008 18:45

    I love the Stephanie Plum series and I am a huge Harry Potter fan! More to talk about!!! Remind me I got a couple of books to add to your collection. Delicious pie!

  7. November 7, 2008 20:55

    My name is Brenda and I am a read-a-holic. Try Th Potluck Club. It reminded me of the Mitford series.

    I want a piece of pie! Pie is my very favorite dessert.

  8. Trish permalink
    November 8, 2008 12:59

    Wow sister…that looks awesome!!! We need to have stir fry night with apple pie! I can have apples on the diet….that is the only thing in the pie I can have…but I will take a carb blocker!

    P.S. still waiting on my address……

  9. November 9, 2008 21:28

    Thanks for recomending the Mitford series, it sounds wonderful. I’d never heard of it before but will check it out for sure. The pie looks delicious!!

  10. Diane Wright permalink
    November 14, 2008 11:26

    Jan Karon invites you to visit her website at
    I now you will enjoy the site. It tells about all of her books and gives updates on her next book “Party of Four” set in Ireland.
    ‘The Mitford Cookbook” is featured on the site.

  11. January 22, 2009 09:56

    Oh my God…I will have to try this one!! Looks awesome ! Congrats on your blog, looks good !!

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