Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pie in the Sky

I've got a few recipes up my sleeve that make me look like a genius in the kitchen. In no particular order: 
1. my mother-in-law's meatballs
2. my sister's crock pot chicken & dumplings
3. my mother's lasagna

No shock, all three recipes actually belong to someone else and I just borrow their awesomeness. No one will ever say - "Heather's Crap Baked in the Oven makes me look like I should be on Top Chef." I can be certain of that.

This week, I've been having fun with two of my favorite aunts and my mom in the mountains of North Carolina. Days are spent visiting old folks who are still hanging around Boone. Evenings are spent cooking, drinking wine and laughing at just about everything. Tonight was no exception.

While I was looking like a genius in the kitchen, preparing my mother-in-law's meatballs and sauce, my aunt started talking about a pie her mother made that used Ritz crackers, but tasted like apple pie. I called B.S. on this. A Google consultation proved that there is indeed an apple phenomenon created by a whole bunch of sugar, a pie crust and some buttery crackers.

Well, it just so happened that I had a box of Ritz crackers (the secret ingredient in the meatballs) just waiting to be used up. Someone grabbed their car keys and scooted off to the grocery and came back with a pie crust. You know what happened next...

When it went into the oven it looked like a pie - not an apple pie, but some sort of pie.

When it came out of the oven, it smelled like a freaking apple pie. But that's just the smell of the cinnamon, right?

When we sliced it, it looked like an apple pie. No lie.

When you taste it - Holy Shit! It's Apple Pie.

We know that this dessert has been called a few different things since the mid-19th century when it was first published by the early American pioneers. I think my profanity-laden exclamation after my first taste prompted a discussion of what someone might have said when they first took a bite throughout the years...

1950s - Oh, my! That's apple pie
1960s - Dude, that's apple pie
1970s - What have you been smokin', that's apple pie
1980s - Like, that's totally apple pie-like.
1990s - Well, I guess it depends on how you define apples... pie
2000s - E-mail me that recipe for apple pie
2012s - Holy Shit! It's apple pie (my personal favorite because it is exactly what you'll be thinking when you taste it)

Give it a try. If it makes you look like a Food Network star, all the better.

Mock Apple Pie (a.k.a. Heather's Holy Shit, It's Apple Pie!)
2 cups of sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 3/4 cups water
2 tbsp lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 package of ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)
36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken
2 tbsp butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix sugar and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil on high heat.  Then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to 1.5 cups. Stir in zest and juice; cool for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Roll out one of the pie crusts and place in 9-inch pie plate. Put cracker crumbs in the crust. Pour sugar syrup over crumbs and top with butter and cinnamon.

Roll out the remaining crust and place over the pie. Seal and flue the edges. Cut several slits in the top of the crust to permit steam to escape.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before serving.


houndstooth said...

That sounds so darned good! If it weren't about a million freaking degrees here, I would be on my way to the store for ingredients! I have got to try that!

Mary said...

I'm completely intrigued by this recipe! I need to try it and figure out how on Earth it ends up tasting like apple pie!

pattysea said...

Heather, we have used that recipe for many years when you're in a rush to make something for a last minute invitation. I have it someplace here ... I'll find it and compare with yours. Sounds as if you're having a great time with family ... BUT, we miss you here in Massachusetts ...

pattysea said...

Ritz Cracker Pie:
22 ritz crackers crushed
one cup chopped walnuts
3 egg whites(well beaten)
one cup sugar
one tsp vanilla
one tsp baking powder
Beat together:Well Beaten Egg Whites,sugar & vanilla until stiff
Add crushed crackers nuts & baking powder to mixture.

Bake in well buttered glass pie plact for 25 minutes@ 350 degrees.


IHateToast said...

I've heard of that pie before. I am tempted. I wonder what makes it work. Maybe apples when cooked lose that sharp apple taste and get a general sweet taste. I don't care. I just want to try it since apples are now a no-no.

Trina said...

hmmm..I guess I will believe it when/if I try it. No apples? Interesting. Maybe you should bring it to BBH for us to taste test!

Greyhounds Aren't Grey said...

I would absolutely say you guys hit the wine a little too hard except I've had a drink containing Kahlua and orange juice that tasted exactly like a tootsie roll and eaten saltine crackers and some other stuff that tasted exactly like a pecan turtle. So who am I to say it's not apple pie? I so going to try this recipe. But I'm with Houndstooth, not until the fall!