by Sonja Stone
A PASTRY CHEF’S FAVORITE DESERT
Francine’s post (Comfort Food for Any Crisis) resonated deeply with me. Like Francine, I often express my love by feeding people. I learned it from my mother–she’s Lebanese, and in our culture, sharing food is vitally important.
|Wedding cake, designed by Sonja Stone|
I have a confession to make: I’m a culinary snob. I like single origin chocolate from Madagascar, Vietnamese cinnamon, and always sweet, unsalted butter. My flour is from King Arthur’s, my dutch-process cocoa from Penzey’s, my coffee beans from Java Distribution.
|Mini fruit tarts with vanilla bean pastry cream|
I attended Le Cordon Bleu, but my snobbery began well before any professional pastry training. My mother always asks herself before eating dessert, “Is it worth the calories?” If it is, fantastic! We enjoy. But if it’s not, nothing doing.
|pumpkin pie with fallen leaves garnish|
A few years ago, my mother’s house burned to the ground. She lost everything. The remains had to be totaled, and a new house built in its place. A few weeks after the fire, as I was sifting through the rubble, I found a box of treasures: my mother’s most cherished recipes, written on looseleaf paper, tucked inside manilla folders, stuck in a cardboard box on a kitchen shelf, directly over where the fire originated.
It was a tiny miracle.
Of all the amazing recipes and sweet creations I’ve made over the years, my all-time-hands-down-without-a-doubt-wouldn’t-trade-it-for-the-world favorite is my mother’s apple pie.
|Mom’s apple pie–post house fire|
Naturally, as a pastry chef, I’ve slightly modified the recipe. But not much. The SECRET to making this the Perfect Apple Pie is to slice the apples paper thin.
|My mom. Eating is always an event for our family!|
Rebecca Wilson’s Perfect Apple Pie (with Sonja’s modifications) 🙂
10 Granny Smith apples
sprinkling of lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar-in-the-raw
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
1. Peel, core, and slice the apples paper thin (sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent oxidizing)
2. Combine sugar, flour, spices, and salt
3. Mix dry ingredients with apples
4. Put in a 9″ pastry-lined pie pan, and dot with butter (it will seem like a lot of filling, but it’ll deflate)
5. Moisten the edges with water or the egg, and add top crust
6. Optional: Brush top crust with egg and sprinkle with raw sugar
7. Cut slits in the top crust to vent, cover edges with foil (to prevent burning), and bake for 50 minutes
Naturally, a pie is only as good as its crust. I use Sally Schneider’s Foolproof Flaky Butter Pastry recipe from A NEW WAY TO COOK.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We Rogues are so grateful for all of you!