apple custard pie

apple basket

You know how some foods just send you back in time?  This pie is definitely one of those foods for me.  We didn’t have air conditioning when I was a kid and Lodi apples ripen in mid July, when it’s usually pretty hot and humid outside.  It made for an exceptionally hot day in the kitchen with the oven on, but we didn’t complain because we knew before long we would sit at the table, under the ceiling fan, eating slice upon slice of pie, more than likely with vanilla ice cream on the side.

pie edge

The filling is my maternal grandmother’s recipe.  She was a top-notch cook.  Her fried chicken was unlike any others, I’ve mentioned her angelfood cake before, and her chocolate cake recipe is the reason my husband married me (true story).  Her apple pie has become a summer time staple for our family. Tart apples in a bed of sugary custard in a pie crust…what could be bad about that?  I can remember my mom making two of these at time for dessert and there would still be just a small sliver or two left by morning if we were lucky and there were only 4 of us in the house!

lodi apple in orchard

I always use Lodi apples for this pie.  I have tried other varieties for the recipe but haven’t had much luck finding another one that works as well.  Thankfully, there is an orchard nearby that still has a few trees so we always pick up some every July.  The kids and I picked two baskets this morning.

picking apples

Cj suggested we divide them, one basket for making pies, one basket for him to eat.  I think you would be hard pressed to find another person who likes to eat tart apples more than he does.

rolling out crust

apple custard pie

for the crust

This recipe makes enough for 2 pies, but half can be wrapped in cling wrap and frozen for another day.

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter cut into small pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

Put the flour, salt, and cold butter in bowl of food processor.  Process until it resembles a course meal.

Add ice water, spoonful by spoonful, through the tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky; do NOT over process.

Split the dough in half and shape into a disc on a piece of plastic wrap and then wrap it up.  Chill the dough you will be using today for one hour and freeze the extra disc of dough for another day (like tomorrow)

Once chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Place in pan and chill while you get the filling and the apples ready.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

for the filling

In a bowl, mix together:

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

(If you are using a large pie pan, use 1 1/2 cup sugar and 4 Tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

Peel and core 6 Lodi apples and cut into chunks.  Place in a single layer on the UNbaked pie cruse.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the top.

Fill to the bevel of the pie pan with milk.  Place in oven.  I bake mine on a cookie sheet, just in case it bubbles over.  Plus that gives me a place to bake the left over strips of pie crust (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking).

Bake in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45-50 minutes.

side of pie slice

a delayed fourth of July post

At the risk of sounding like one of those people who is always saying “oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by”.  Oh my, where has the time gone, these summers just keep flying by!


We have a tradition of getting together with friends for a big bbq every year to celebrate the Fourth of July.  In keeping with theme, I made another red, white, and blue dessert this year.

berry covered top of brown sugar pavlova

It’s a layered berry and brown sugar pavlova and you should make it!  It was as good as it looked.

Fourth of July means Antiques Extravaganza around here.

antique show

I was up early and power shopped my way through the fields of booths.  I found a tablecloth with the greatest four leaf clovers all over it.  It still had the tag on it.

four leaf clover tablecloth

The seller seamed a bit surprised that I was planning to take the tag off, but I do my best to use the things I buy.  What’s the point if these things are just going to hide in a closet?

back of tag on clover tablecloth

I also found this beauty.  She’s a Singer 99K and she’s mine now.

singer at sale

This photo makes me laugh because I instinctively had my hand on the machine while I was taking it – as in “back off everybody because until I can find out more, this hand means I have dibs on this baby!”

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  I just finished the cutest paper pieced tablecloth so I’ll be back with more soon.

risotto rice pudding

Our weather seems to have fallen into a routine of blizzard one week and thunderstorms the next.  It has made for a strange February that has left me with a touch of cabin fever.  The past couple of days have been grey and windy and I thought a bit of comfort food might be in order.

arborio rice

This is an adaptation of my maternal grandmother’s recipe.  She made it with standard rice, but it is cooked like a risotto so I usually use arborio rice for mine.

simmering rice in milk for rice pudding

risotto rice pudding

1 cup uncooked arborio rice


1/2 cup sugar

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Place rice in large heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with 2″ of milk (2% works best)

Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to keep it from scorching on the bottom.  Keep adding milk as necessary to keep the mixture loose and easy to stir.  After simmering for 30 minutes, taste to be sure the rice is cooked.  Once the rice is cooked, add the sugar and vanilla.

I sometimes serve it with gingersnap cookies for dessert.  You can add 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon when you add the vanilla, if you like a little spice.  If you are a raisin fan, you can also add 1/4 cup of raisins.

risotto rice pudding in bowl