One day, I summoned the nerve to “follow” Robb Walsh, a pre-eminent voice in Texas food culture. One day when I said something on Twitter about pie crusts and leaf lard, and how I wanted to make one, he sent me a note and told me a brief story about a pie. And there we sat, many states apart, me shooing away children and taking copious notes as he described with fascinating detail his search for the Quintessential American Apple Pie, and precisely how he makes it.
His search began with a tarte tatin, and a chef from France named Susan Herrmann Loomis who needed some apples to make such a tart for a Norman dinner she was planning during a visit to the states.
He read several books about people searching for the “perfect” apple pie, and by that I mean searching for a perfect pie made by someone else. He also considers the peels of the apples to be a very important textural component for the pie. They baked and tweaked and baked and tweaked for two years, until one day, upon entering the kitchen, Jon smelled the pie aroma emanating from the oven and was confident that they had succeeded.
After talking about the pie, generally, I asked him if he would send me his rendition of the “Quintessential American Apple Pie” recipe. Keep the flour, lard, butter, the pastry cloth and even the mixing bowl in the freezer until you are ready to use them. Jon lives in Seattle and in about 15 miles can be in an apple orchard full of heirloom fruit. Though I tend to lollygag verbally, you do not want to lollygag in pie making, because you do not want the dough to warm up, nor do you want the apples to sit and begin to macerate. Whack the disk with your rolling pin up and across, then turn it over and do it again on the other side.
With a pastry brush, apply a thin coating of egg white wash (mix an egg white with a little bit of water and mix it thoroughly with a fork) on the crust and sprinkle it with a little sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Make sure you take a moment to appreciate the aromas that fill your home when you make this pie. And, Jon says that an important thing to remember, in all of the stages of pie making is that you are the boss, the pie isn’t. I figured that if I kept saying no, with the best of intentions to not further inconvenience him, he would stop offering, so I said yes. During this process I found out that Jon had been talked into coming to Galveston for the Foodways Texas conference. He might as well have said I could just whittle up a functional space shuttle for what I know about rendering lard. I remember several months ago when I did a post about Chocolate Pie with a Leaf Lard Crust, my mother telling me about how she vividly recalled her daddy rendering lard at their home when she was a small child. So, I got on the internet and found several articles about rendering lard and, lo and behold, there is nothing to it.
I had gone to the restaurant supply store to look for something in which to transport this beast of a pie. Because the TSA specifically allows pie travel now, and because of the plastic clear case, I was able to set my pie right in a bin and run it through the x-ray machine. After an incredible dinner put on by Louisiana Foods and Tim Byres of SMOKE Dallas we retired to the lobby of the Galvez to taste the pie with Jim and Diane Gossen. Given the length of this post, you might be surprised at how little I talk and how uncomfortable I am in new situations with people I do not know…especially the caliber of people I was bumping into left and right in Galveston. Kelly — This is a beautiful story, one that I first heard from Jon at breakfast in Seattle.
Seeing that beautiful, familiar looking pie and your shy but triumphant smile in the lobby of the Galvez Hotel in Galveston was very gratifying to me. Kelly, this blog almost makes me weep for the old apple tree we had on the property where I grew up.
I’m so pleased to see that you are finding how easy pie is to make and what joy there is in the process and especially the sharing. This morning I decided to sit down with my coffee and not let anything distract me from reading this entire post.
I am moved by people who care deeply about each other and the beautiful details in nature, who are passionate about what they do, who are open to their senses and tend to the precious and analog elements in life. I can’t remember where I found this on line that someone buys Leaf Lard at a German deli in Dallas.
Not since Boogie Nights has a movie captured the opulence and fashions of the 1970s as authentically as David O. Award winning costume designer Michael Wilkinson blends vintage pieces with his own custom creations to create the ultra glamorous looks that adorn Adams and Lawrence in the film.
Katherine Gordon and Evelyne Noraz took inspiration for hair and makeup from 1970s icons like super model Patti Hansen (pictured above at Studio 54). American Hustle has already received a number of awards and nominations including the AFI Movie of the Year Award and Oscar nominations for Costume Design, Production Design, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Actress (Amy Adams), and Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) to name a few. This entry was posted in FASHION and tagged 70s style, American Hustle, Amy Adams, Astrid Handling, Costume design, David O. Only Original FES Quintessentials flower essences used when making your Personalised  Remedy. American Eagle Outfitters CERTAINLY knows how to throw a awesome party: can you believe there was actually a real carved ice air hockey and a foosball that guests could play? Rihanna finally delivers the full version of her new song “American Oxygen.” Hopefully she puts it on iTunes soon.
Rihanna has released her latest song “American Oxygen,” which she performed last night at March Madness Music Festival. A day after premiering the studio version of her new song “American oxygen,” Rihanna drops the visuals for it. Our couple includes the stunning Hanh, a construction underwriter, and the dashing Nived a project manager.
Even though my husband has been in the fly rod business for over a decade, I did not know that.  Did you know that if you live around Seattle, you can go on a Walrus and Carpenter Picnic, walking out on a sandy beach in the freezing cold in rubber boots and a headlamp, drinking wine and tasting oysters straight out of the briny water?
Rowley had a picture in his head of what the perfect apple pie would look and be like, and he invited his then wife Kate McDermott to join him on a quest, not to find it, but to create it. The Gravenstein apple has the single best aroma and flavor, but alone falls short on texture. The peels also interject beautiful colors into the filling, and the tannins in the peels add an important flavor component. When you are ready to begin, place the fats, the flour and the salt in the bowl and begin to work the fats into the flour by cutting it in with forks, knives, or a traditional pastry cutter. Add a tablespoon of water at a time after that until you have dough that will stay together and form a ball. I would say that I live in the real world, but since I live within a few miles of a Whole Foods and a Central Market, that really isn’t a fair statement. And, once you have the dough rolled out, you do not want it to sit there in that lonely, warming state too long before you get it into the oven. Seal the edges, trimming where necessary so that the edges are not too thick.  Cut lines in the top crust for vents so that you do not steam the apples.
I had wanted badly to go but found any number of excuses not to do so, but his going made it too fun to pass up.
I went to a nearby grocery store, talked to the man behind the meat counter, and came home with five pounds of pig fat.
Even baked, the apples retained a depth of flavor that I did not find in their retail counterparts. The Foodways Texas Symposium was a “gulf gathering” of many of the great names in Texas foods. I didn’t want to buy a pie carrier mainly because I didn’t want to have to fool with it on the way home. And when I pulled up at the Galvez, I was more than ready to transfer custody of the pie to Jon. He met me in the lobby and for the first time I got to meet my phone tutor and apple mentor.
But, Jon had no intention of running off and eating pie in his room, as I had kind of hoped he would.
The hotel wouldn’t let us serve ourselves “outside” food in the restaurant but kindly brought us plates and forks to the lobby.


So serendipitous that you named your site “the meaning of pie,” which led you to the experiences to more fully understand the meaning of pie! Some of the vintage pieces included in the film are the green and white Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress pictured below and this leather Halston dress, both worn by Amy Adams.
American Hustle hair stylist Katherine Gordon, and makeup artist Evelyne Noraz made sure no detail was overlooked when it came to authentically representing 1970s beauty. Judy Beker has already won the 2013  Hollywood Costume Design Award and Hollywood Production Design Award for her work on American Hustle at the 17th annual Hollywood Film Awards. For the best results select up to 5 of the 103 FES flowers per 30ml dosage bottle, Original Bach® Rescue® Remedy may be used as a base if desired and counts as only 1 remedy even though it contains 5 of the 38 Bach® flowers. Apologies for the month long absence -- I hope you will accept this beautiful story as my goodwill gesture! Their wedding ceremony and dinner reception was hosted at Granite Ridge Estate in Norway, Maine on the 26th of September 2015. Surrounded by family and loved ones, the groom got ready to see his soon to be wife for their first look!
And it is a story about a particular pie, made from that particular recipe, and the journey that the pie and I recently made. The larger story is not mine to tell and I have felt somewhat like a thief even making the pie, even though the recipe and the method were a gift generously and openly given, free of charge. These are little bits of information that I have gleaned from that little jewel of social media called Twitter. It didn’t take long for me to divine that Jon, too, was a notable, quotable in the food world.
There were a few precise matches in the states but the question became, what characteristics do the apples she typically uses possess that make them work? They started by making many of the apple pies that had gotten a lot of attention in the culinary press, but they were not turning out quite the way that he had imagined it.
It is one of the “old” apple varieties and it is considered by many to be the very best cider apple and the very best applesauce apple. For generations, most of us have been putting this ingredient into the trash, and losing something unique and delightful in the process.
Once the fats have been incorporated a bit, you can manipulate the fats into the flour further with your fingers. In fact, when I went to survey the apples at my disposal in a single, albeit great, store I found no fewer than 12 varieties of organic Washington apples…in Texas.
But, generally, he said to fill your pie plate with as many apples as you reasonably can, and that was how many apples you would need for the pie. Jon suggests cutting them about a third of the way up the crust as well as on top because then some juices will flow out of the vents causing beautiful sweet little apple-y ooze that comes out and rolls down the crust and dries. Jon suspects that the high sugar content of the apples leads to the scent of caramelization. My last pie had been problematic, crust-wise, and the one I prepared for these special apples fell apart. However, Jon immediately started suggesting that I needed to bring a pie made from the apples he had just sent. Each bite of the pie was different from the one before, and with each bite I imagined the beautiful raw apple pieces in which Lily had so delighted. My mother used to say that if there were a lifetime limit on words to use I would have run out by age 5.
I think pie had been a little bit sad for Jon for a while, mixed up as it was still in the final chapters of a marriage.
I did not appreciate the old apple tree, but I know its fruit would work perfectly in your pie. People who would make their own lard and hand deliver a pie by plane for the reward of a smile.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson and production designer Judy Beker transport us back to the disco era in this period piece, loosely based on real events. The Doritos Locos Taco, one of the best-selling fast food innovations of all time, is an American favorite.
This gorgeous story comes all the way from Maine, New England and features images from the brilliant Cuppa Photography, to whom I introduced you to not too long ago. Prior to their informal but intimate ceremony at the Estate, the couple hosted both Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies at their parent’s homes. It is also a story about the people who ate slices of that pie in the lobby of the storied Hotel Galvez in Galveston, Texas.
And, now I have used the knowledge I gained from playing and tinkering with this pie in so many other creations that I can’t adequately talk about them the way I want to without writing this chapter first. Out of the blue, a few days later, I received a note from a gentleman in Seattle which said, in essence, I saw your name on Walsh’s list, what is the meaning of pie? Specifically, he is a consultant in the seafood industry in the west and has written about fish for the likes of Gourmet. The mission was to find an apple that was firm and held together after cooking, because that was the most important characteristics for the tarte tatin. There are very few dishes for which I have taken the time to review, re-do, learn, enhance, and perfect.
The problem, says Rowley, is that baked in a pie by itself, it turns into the texture of apple sauce and you lose the structure and variety in texture that makes this pie so interesting.
This is all best done with organic apples and even if you obtain organic apples at the grocery store, you should wash the apples thoroughly. Yet, at every turn the tone was “a little of this and a little of that.” This is not so much a set of rules but a methodology with some strong recommendations. The idea is to keep working the fats into the flour until the fat is in smaller size bits, roughly larger pea size to hazelnut size…some bigger, some smaller. Again, variety is good even here, and Jon uses much larger chunks than are shown in the photos.
That, combined with the distinct aroma of the butter and leaf lard baking, and the scent of the spices, vinegar and Calvados, will transport you. A few hours later I got an email from Jim Gossen, president of Louisiana Foods, whom I have talked about in my post about Foodways Texas and Low Country Oyster Roasts.
And I spent the next several hours slowly and carefully rendering it and pouring it off in successively darkening batches. But that one pie was all of Jon’s story and all of his efforts on my behalf, my learning, my feelings about pie, my worry that I had failed, my joy at overcoming an obstacle, my hands in a bowl of sugary apples, a pastry cloth I had made for this very moment, and my intense desire to be GOOD at this, all rolled into a crust. They kept more flavor in the process of baking, they transmitted more of the depth of those flavors in the pie. I used double stick tape to attach the pie plate to the underside of the lid and I covered it with the bowl like a dome. But his pie, Kate’s pie, their pie, my pie (your pie now) was having a happy day in Galveston, Texas, showing off its Washington heirloom apples and its Texas lard. This particular pie had a journey.  I learned a great deal through it and I am using it to create more. Does the scent of a certain dish cooking take you back and make you think of things you haven’t thought of in decades. He is a man of few words and has told me for years that a person is only allotted so many words in life and I’ve about used mine up. You might consider splitting a shipment with a friend or you will be making a whole bunch of pies. Starring Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Christian Bale, American Hustle is a veritable style compendium of 1970s fashion, a highly entertaining and engaging American crime drama replete with glamour, espionage, FBI ops, Mafia, and con artists. Adams’ long flowing locks are styled in a number of looks, ranging from the Farrah “hot roller” waves, to tight curls. All  remedies made according to the original and traditional methods devised by Dr Bach .
Jon proceeded to gather a few dozen heirloom prospects at orchards and farmers markets and took them home to test them and see how they behaved after being baked.
Jon rather painstakingly reviewed every apple’s traits and every factor that goes into making this pie. And, he says that he even ran across something that purported to be leaf lard but seemed to be 50% Crisco and 50% lard.
Use your hands as little as possible though, because the crust benefits from the fats remaining as cold as possible and your hands will warm it up significantly.


His sense is that with larger chunks you still get to experience the unique character of each apple. Flip the dough over and roll it out the rest of the way until there is about 1” of excess crust, adding a sprinkling of flour where needed.
Knowing that I was working with a limited asset, I had decided to roll out my crust before cutting up any apples, but this too was a disaster.
I hope for a day when these lovely fruits are more accessible to those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have access to them at farmers markets and orchards. Did your father, who worked long hard days, actually sit for a while and smile at the dinner table? I’ve made an awful lot of pies in my life, but these apples really made this a singularly delightful pie experience. Can you also tell us what apples you ended up using for your pie that you purchased at Whole Foods? But then again, it is great for so many other uses like biscuits and refried beans and a million other things. I told him, as succinctly as that medium requires (140 characters per “tweet” max), that it wasn’t really about “pie” literally, though pies occur around me occasionally, but that it was about the feelings that pies evoke, the pictures they conjure in one’s head of grandmas and windowsills and warmth and love and family. I like Twitter because it lets you be a fly on the wall and watch all of these different worlds go by. He baked them in a pan and noted their characteristics, leading to the conclusion that the Newtown Pippen was the best for this purpose because it was firm and held up so well. Kate baked the pies, and Jon suggested the next modifications and did the work with the fruit. For the apples, he went back to the method he used for choosing an apple for the tarte tatin, and he put many different apples together in a pan and baked them. So, as with so many things, it pays to learn about what you are purchasing and to purchase it from a reputable source. The coldness of the fats, and the sizes of the fat pieces in the dough, affect how the fats react with the heat of the oven. Gently shape each half into a disk about 1-? inches thick by placing your palm on top of the wrap and gently pressing down.
Smaller pieces give you a wonderful composite flavor but you lose part of the experience of enjoying these magnificent individual apples. One hour total is really the right time and if you keep going too long you run the risk of cooking your apples into oblivion. I felt like I needed to call and apologize, because I truly had not understood the variety and the beauty of all of these heirloom apples. The email said, “How much lard do you need, I’ll FedEx it when I get home.” He was in the middle of a family wedding in Louisiana. And there it was on my counter, looking like it should have been sitting in the pie cooler of the blue ribbon winner of the county fair. Working with them, eating them, and baking them was an experience I want to have again, and often.
Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle had “a little sliver.” Jim and Diane Gossen of Louisiana Foods had some. Was your mother rewarded with praise and love for her work in the kitchen, or was her work expected and ignored. This is in contrast to cakes, which I also like, but that conjure up visions of bakeries and teetering wedding confections.
It is like a dial on an old car radio where you turn back and forth across several stations at a time…a girl’s voice, a man’s voice, a song, a commercial, little snippets of life.
Then he noted the unique textures, flavors, and aromas…all of the apples had their own character and profile. They worked with several different butters and came to the conclusion that a particular brand, Kerrygold, produced a noticeably better crust. And the differing sizes of the fat pieces also give variability to those processes within the crust. Remember, you are going for variety more than a particular list of apples so get what you are able to get (Soon, I will be the proud owner of my very own refractometer and I will be able to test my own apples for sweetness). When you roll out the top layer, you will want to brush off any excess flour before applying the egg wash.
It also helps to compact the apples to prevent a giant head space from forming between the baked apples and the crust on the finished pie.
Somehow, I thought they would be small and soft, yet several were some of the largest apples I have ever seen. I’d be damned before I let him FedEx lard to me if it was within my power to make it myself.
He set it on one of the coffee tables in the lobby of this busy hotel and got on the phone to call Jim Gossen, who showed up with his wife and Penny de los Santos, a photographer whose work I admire a great deal. And Robb Walsh and his wife Kelly even managed to snag the one remaining piece the next day. Northwest and Northeast are so fortunate to have such great access to these special apples. Pies beat cakes hands down for pure emotional impact, regardless of your personal pie history.
In a massive hunt for the best West Coast peach a few years prior for a supermarket client, a grower had introduced him to a refractometer. Leaf lard and butter, used in combination, gave the crust a certain character and a certain flavor that the crusts made from either, alone, did not have.
The reward for variety is that there are so many lovely textures and flavors and aromas in the baked apples. Thus there is a little shot of unrefined apple cider vinegar instead of the more oft seen lemon juice. There is no way to explain how I feel about these two gentlemen who were prepared to move mountains to make sure I baked a good pie. And that was only the beginning of the parade of people that we told about our pie and its journey. I look down and see my Grandmothers hands in my own forming for my children a memory that I saw her hands form for me.
Because he was looking at them all, baked, right next to one another, in a light bulb moment he realized what he would be missing if he chose just one or even two of all of these distinctive and interesting apples. I used a Macoun, a Stayman Winesap, a Goldrush, a Spitzenburg, a Newtown Pippen, and a Melrose. They no longer turn to me for everything but I can put a good meal on the table and a wonderful pie for dessert and I can see the complete contentment in their faces that they are home. I put my jars of lard in the refrigerator, and within a few hours I had the whitest, creamiest, loveliest fat I’ve ever seen. Do you eat alone at a desk, enjoying the solitude and the quality of flavors in the absence of the constant sensory overload of family? Additionally, he decided that no particular group of apples is the right group, but it is the very fact of the variety that makes each pie so interesting and unique.
As I approached security with fear and trepidation, I looked up and saw nothing but a sea of smiles. It is general to our culture and it is specific, in its presence or absence, in our own lives. Lily ran in every time I cut a new one and grabbed a chunk for herself and ran one out to her father in his work room. The first thing I heard as I jumped out of Pitts’ car at the airport was some ass on the curb saying, “You’re not really gonna try to fly with that thing are you?
He learned more and more about them over a period of years and kept coming back to the idea that the very best expression for the apples, the best showcase for their character, was in a pie. The effort to gauge the sweetness of the apples being used is also the reason behind there being so little sugar in the recipe that follows.
When you use sweet apples, they speak for themselves, and you do not have to cover them in mounds of sugar.
I had a lovely conversation with a woman in front of me about lard and Crisco and daughters.



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