Question. What happens when you put me in the kitchen with some unused flour, a bag of apples, and give me an entire snow day to do whatever I want?
The answer is two loaves of bread, a batch of homemade applesauce and something vaguely resembling apple pie.
The first thing I did was get out of bed and peruse my cabinets. What’s this? Two whole bags of whole wheat flour. I’ve been using so much nontraditional flour, I’d neglected the whole wheat in my cupboard. Bag of apples on my counter.
Then I conducted a survey of the human inhabitants of my home – namely, my husband. Do you want applesauce or apple pie? Apple pie. Do you want traditional, super yummy, give you a stomach ache apple pie or shall I experiment to discover if I can make approved apple pie. Experiment.
So I did. But first, I got a loaf of bread going. I violated the laws of baking. Wheat flour doesn’t substitute equally for white flour in yeast breads. The dough is too heavy and the bread won’t rise. This particular recipe called for equal parts white and wheat. I kicked the white to the curb and just dumped in 8 cups of whole wheat flour.
The bread is dense – but not like a brick. Its chewy and won’t make good French toast, but it will turn out a delightful sandwich or toast, or just a plain snack with some almond butter and honey. And, by the way, King Arthur & Erma Rombauer – it rose just fine. Doubled in size, just like it was supposed to.
As my dough was rising – sitting on top of my oven, which was one to 250, just to be sure my kitchen was nice and warm – I started in on the apple pie. I peeled, cored and pared 8 medium sized apples. I tossed them with honey, raw buckwheat honey and a healthy dose of cinnamon.
For my crust I took your average, every day, old-fashioned pie crust recipe – flour, shortening, salt, ice water – and substituted sprouted grain flour for white flour and non-hydrogenated palm shortening. This is where the near-disaster began. I had to add extra water, because the dough wouldn’t hold together. Just when I thought I was making some headway, and I tried to roll it out, it crumbled.
Insisting on the consistency of a graham cracker crust, I decided to make lemonade out of the lemons piling up on my plate. So I pressed the dough into the pie pan, sprinkled some whole wheat flour in the bottom, dumped in a heaping pile of apples, and crumbled the rest on top like a streusel topping. I dotted the top with butter and sprinkled liberally with cinnamon. After the bread was done baking, into the oven it went.
It tasted whole, and real. It also tasted a little dark (thanks to the buckwheat honey) and well – gritty. Like dirt. Or sawdust. In texture, that is, not necessarily in flavor. The crust was utterly bland and gritty. The filling was good, but I thought the buckwheat honey could have been done without. However – it isn’t really bad. Just… different. My mother’s made-from-scratch apple pie it is not. But I’m still looking forward to another piece after dinner tonight.
Next time, I’m using coconut flour, all clover honey, and butter instead of shortening. I think this will make a big difference.
As for applesauce – I can’t think of anything nicer than coming in from the cold and smelling it simmering on the stove, crisp apples and a couple of cinnamon sticks. Here’s how mine went together:
- 8 small – medium apples, cored and chopped (I like to leave on the peels)
- half a cup of water
- 2 – 2″ cinnamon sticks.
Put it all in a dutch oven, turn your stove on to medium-low (closer to low), and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Stir it occasionally. Eventually the apples will start breaking up into bits as you stir. When the water is gone and the apple bits are nice and saucy, you’re all set to go. If you like really smooth sauce instead of chunky, spoon it into your blender or food processor and give it a whirl. We like ours chunky which is nice because it saves some dishes and some time.
How do you like to spend your day trapped indoors?