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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kim Frizzelle’s Never-Before-Revealed Apple Pie Recipe (Confidential to Mom: Obama Made Me Do It)

posted by on February 20 at 15:48 PM


Look at that. That’s an apple pie. It is one of the few things I know how to do in a kitchen. A friend of mine who’s a food critic, and a huge fan of this pie, says that if aliens came to Earth in search of the perfect apple pie, the most ideal, the apple pie qua apple pie, this is the one they would settle on and study and transport home. If I don’t say so myself, it’s motherfucking delicious.

Since I cannot do anything else worthwhile in a kitchen, the recipe has gained the status of a state secret. I’ve never given it out. This particular specimen sitting on the window sill in my kitchen was photographed this past Thanksgiving with my cell phone, as I fully intended to put up the recipe on Slog as a kind of holiday gift to Slog readers of the world, and then I just sort of didn’t get around to it. It’s not that I don’t want Slog readers in Singapore and Sydney and Spokane and wherever else Slog readers live to be able to make this—I do!—I just don’t want my friends to be able to make this. Because, then, what will I have that’s mine? Over Thanksgiving I took not only this picture but pictures of the whole process of making the thing, to illustrate the process for you so you know you’re doing it right, and the photos have just been sitting on my desktop, waiting.

I don’t know if it’s because we’ve had a couple beautiful days of weather or because I have Obama fever or what, but I decided this morning: Now is the time. I decided: It’s morning in America. Yeah, I realize it’s afternoon. But it will be morning again tomorrow, and apple pie is the best breakfast there is. Without further ado:

I. Go to the store and get (or make sure you have) 6-8 Granny Smith apples (tart, green); sugar; flour; cinnamon; nutmeg; unsalted butter; lemon juice; salt; a tub of shortening; and cold water. (Tap water is fine.) That’s all you need.

II. Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

III. Sift 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Then plop 2/3 cups shortening into the flour/salt mixture and use two butter knives to cut in the shortening. You do this by crossing the knives, scissors-like, and chopping the shortening apart into smaller and smaller pieces, every little piece coated in flour/salt. Eventually you’ll have a bowl full of rubble—tiny little balls of flour/salt-coated shortening, the largest of them the size of peas. (While this dough looks delicious, it is not delicious.) In case you’re wondering, this crust is this recipe’s only secret, its only departure from lots of other recipes you’ll find out there: no butter in the crust.

IV. Pour one tablespoon of cold water over a section of the rubble. Then scoop out that section and use the moisture to form a larger ball. You’ll do this seven times until you have seven larger balls total. When you’re done with each ball, set it aside on a small plate. Here I am about halfway through.


V. When you have seven of these, combine them into two larger balls. One of them will be slightly bigger than the other, naturally. Knead them and even out the texture and coat them in flour and put them in the fridge. (You can cover them in saran wrap or put them in plastic baggies.) They don’t HAVE to be refrigerated while you do the next step, but that’s how the Frizzelle’s do it.

VI. Combine one cup of sugar, 2 tblspns of flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg in a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.

VII. Slice up the apples. (I cut each apple by cutting off the top and the bottom, slicing off the skin with a knife, and coring it. Then I slice it in two and then chop up each half into thin slices.) When you have a bowl full of apple slices, douse them in the tblspn of lemon juice and make sure they’re evenly coated. Then pour the sugar/flour/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture on top of them and mix them up until each slice is coated. (These coated slices of apples are delicious and you should eat as many as you like.)

VIII. Grease your glass pie pan in shortening and then take out the two crust dough balls from the fridge. Roll out the slightly larger of the two balls and then place it into the glass pie pan. You want to make sure there is plenty of dough on all sides. It looks like this:


IX. Pour the sliced apples in. Since the shape of the pile of apple slices will determine how the top crust sits, make the apple slices slightly taller in the center and shorter around the edge. Like so:


X. Divide two tablespoons of butter into four or five little chunks of butter and scatter them around the top of the apples. Then roll out the second ball of dough and place it on top of the butter and apples. Then, dip your finger in cold water and run it along the edge where the top crust meets the bottom crust and pinch the two together—all the way around. (The water seals the bond, the pinching makes a pretty shape.) Slice three slits in the top of the pie, sort of like the three spokes of the Mercedes Benz logo, except don’t let these slits intersect in the center. (I don’t have a better photo of this, alas, and Google image search comes up with nothing helpful. More than three slits is ugly. Don’t do this. Or this.) Then dust the very top with sugar—this will make the texture look great when it comes out of the oven.

XI. Bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees. When it comes out, let it cool for at least 20 minutes before you touch it. Next to a window. Preferably with a view.

Let’s just look at it one more time.


RSS icon Comments



Posted by Will in Seattle | February 20, 2008 3:43 PM

Um...not to burst your bubble but that is a BASIC apple pie recipe that I learned in 7th grade home ec. (yeah I took home ec in 7th grade and am a total fag, I admit it)

Sorry, it is just not that impressive.

Posted by Andrew | February 20, 2008 3:47 PM

But Andrew, this pie was made with an enormous penis.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 20, 2008 3:49 PM

All pie recipes are good. Mmmm. Pie. I, myself, make some mean pies. Cherry pie with fresh Michigan cherries, for starters. But enough about me . . .

Folks could substitute *good quality* lard (not the stuff in the box at the store) for Crisco. The Joy of Cooking has a kickin' lard and butter pie crust recipe.

Posted by Michigan Matt | February 20, 2008 3:52 PM

YUCK, and who knows where that has been.

Posted by Andrew | February 20, 2008 3:52 PM

This post proves that my life is utterly worthless. I read about making an apple pie while at work. I am completely worthless. The internet will be the destruction of all that is good and right with America.

Posted by Medina | February 20, 2008 3:53 PM

from Emeril:
substitute for half those applies a bunch of cranberries and lots of sugar. don't put a crust on top. cook the pie and put in fridge. make a topping: heat up sugar, butter, vanilla, melt it all together & dump in a bunch of pecans, let it cool slightly then pour on top of pie like a giant praline. Fridge overnight. let warm to about room temp and serve on T-day. Cranberry apple pie, par excellence.

Posted by Cleve | February 20, 2008 3:58 PM

Thanks for this, it looks interesting... It's getting towards apple season here in Australia too, so good timing. Do you know that Granny Smith apples originated in a backyard in Sydney?

I must admit I have never really been all that excited by a piece of apple pie or understood why it's such an American icon. Maybe I need to try making this.

I see the pastry is unsweetened; is the apple mixture really sweet or something?

And what is your shortening made of? Copha? Can I just use butter?

Getting hungry now...

Posted by banjoboy | February 20, 2008 3:59 PM

Make this then we will be impressed:

(Tarte aux Pommes a la Compote)

Servings: Makes 8 servings.

subscribe to Gourmet
IngredientsFor the pastry:
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, but into 7 pieces
About 1/2 cup chilled water

For the compote (may be made in advance):
2 pounds apples, preferably a mix of tart and sweet, peeled, cored, cut in chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons water

For the filling:
5 good-sized apples, peeled, cored and cut in eighths
1/4 to 1/3 cup light brown sugar

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Preparation1. Place the flour and the salt in a food processor and process to mix. Add the butter and process until it is blended with the flour to make bits the size of very rough cornmeal. With the processor running, add enough water to make a moist dough, processing quickly 9 or 10 times. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, shape into a flat round, cover and let sit for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
2. For the compote, place the 2 pounds of apples and the water in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely soft though slightly chunky, which should take about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. (This makes about 2 cups compote, so you will have plenty left over for other uses.)

3. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch removable bottom pastry ring, and leave the edges of the pastry hanging over the ring. Spread the compote evenly over the pastry, and top with the chunks of filling apples. Sprinkle with the sugar. Fold the edges of the pastry over the apples.

4. Whisk the egg and the water together in a small bowl, and brush the pastry all over with the egg wash. Sprinkle the pastry with sugar, and set the tart on a baking sheet. Bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the ring from the tart pan by setting the tart on a bowl smaller than the base of the tart. Set the tart on a rack to cool to lukewarm then serve, with crème fraîche alongside.

Posted by Andrew | February 20, 2008 4:01 PM

Only terrorists leave out the butter in the crust.

Posted by LukeB | February 20, 2008 4:03 PM

Exactly @10, everyone knows that butter is better.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 20, 2008 4:13 PM

Pretty fucking righteous-looking pie there, sport! You know pie crusts - good ones, at least - are one of the trickiest things a cook can master. If you can do a pie crust that isn't neither soggy nor cardboard, you can cook anything.

I'm very impressed.

Posted by Bauhaus | February 20, 2008 4:14 PM

I mean, that is neither soggy nor cardboard.

Posted by Bauhaus | February 20, 2008 4:15 PM

Some folks are so negative. ...Looks delicious!

Posted by Fitz | February 20, 2008 4:16 PM

Yay! And yum.

I should post my copy department approved Challah recipe.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | February 20, 2008 4:20 PM

It's vegetable shortening. And you can use butter, but the flavor/texture will be different (not better/worse, just different). Also, if you use butter you want to make sure to use ice water and put it in the fridge to keep the butter from getting too warm.

Posted by Astro | February 20, 2008 4:20 PM

The crust is not better with butter. Leaving butter out of the crust is the whole secret.

Posted by christopher Frizzelle | February 20, 2008 4:26 PM


Well, now I'm confused.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 20, 2008 4:32 PM

Rendered duck fat. Try that instead of shortening or lard.


You won't go back.

Posted by Simac | February 20, 2008 4:34 PM

be careful; Martha Stewart will either buy you out, or just steal your recipe...

slightly OT, but when did this whole "christopher frizzelle's big penis" thing start, and what does it mean? other than the obvious...

Posted by michael strangeways | February 20, 2008 4:43 PM

omg, that pie has a view of my window and can see me nekkid!

Posted by IS | February 20, 2008 4:44 PM

I can't wait to try making this. I hope that this is the pie crust I have been meaning to learn to make my whole life.

Posted by Diana | February 20, 2008 4:51 PM

@20, rumors in the bars and the internets is all I can say. Just rumor from too many sources.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | February 20, 2008 4:53 PM

I'd fuck that pie.

Posted by American | February 20, 2008 5:28 PM

No wonder that bank light bothers you. Not to mention the Rite-Aid marquee. Todd must be your neighbor. And you can borrow cats from Jamie. But I thought Pi R Square.

Posted by John Le Carré | February 20, 2008 6:26 PM

@20 - it starts at about Christopher's midsection, and ends about thirteen inches hence.

Posted by LT L | February 20, 2008 6:59 PM

@26: 13 inches hence? woah! that makes frarfs' much vaunted package look like a shrink wrapped fingerling potato; but only in comparison.

Posted by fnarfs' package haunts me | February 20, 2008 7:26 PM

Morning in America, indeed. Thanks for sharing. Ignore the haters.

Posted by hillpagan | February 20, 2008 7:29 PM

Not using butter is the whole secret, eh?

Frizzelle, you are not a man of many skills, and I have to say: baking is not one of those skills.

The whole reason that bakers substitute crisco for butter in crust is because it's easier to roll. Otherwise, it's a totally inferior product. Tastes bland, makes for a less flaky crust, and because it's roughly 30% more fat than butter, makes the whole goddamned thing greasy.

Sorry, try again.

Posted by A Non Imus | February 20, 2008 10:41 PM

You couldn't have put this behind the motherfucking jump?

Posted by Mike in MO | February 21, 2008 6:10 AM

Actually knowing how much butter, crisco, and lard goes into a pie makes me never want to have one again.

Okay--I lie. But damn!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 21, 2008 7:35 AM

oh...that's disappointing. I was hoping for an interesting and saucy story to explain it.

but it's not a surprise. Isn't it Dan's official policy to hire the hung?

Posted by michael strangeways | February 21, 2008 9:52 AM

I'd rather enormous penis!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Penis | February 21, 2008 9:23 PM

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