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Friday, April 29, 2011

PieTown's New Mexican Apple Pie

Photo courtesy of Molly Boyle
PieTown is right smack on the Continental Divide, located in West-Central New Mexico, in Catron County. Tom and I drove through this dusty, two restaurant town about ten years ago, starving, on a Saturday afternoon. Pretty much all we could see were the two places to eat and nothing else. It was just a wide place on the road. 

We stopped at a place called Daily Pie because there was an assortment of cars in the parking lot, most of them with local license plates. (That's how you find good restaurants while on the road.) Saturday was special in PieTown because the only meal served that day was dinner: Your choice of beef, chicken, or ham, with mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and of course, for dessert, pie. It was a basic, down-home meal, and everyone in the dining room was loving it: forest service workers, ranchers, sunburned bicyclists, elderly couples who probably make the drive each Saturday for diversion, and travelers like ourselves. 

The pie was excellent: I had the New Mexican apple pie and took a slice of banana cream to go. It was a decadent breakfast treat the next morning. Later, I found an article in Smithsonian magazine about PieTown's history and felt right there on the cutting edge of coolness.

This New Mexican Apple Pie is a family favorite and we've made it for the past couple Thanksgiving dinners. It's sweet and spicy at the same time. There's just a hint of green chile.....it's kind of mysterious and people wonder what they are tasting. If you are in a hurry, those Pillsbury Ready Crusts work just fine. P.S. The Daily Pie Cafe has changed its name to Pie Town Cafe The Good Pie Cafe if you decide to go looking for it.

 New Mexican Apple Pie (From Daily Pie CafĂ©, Pie Town, NM)

Ingredients
4 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 c. sugar
4 T. flour
2 t. cinnamon
¾ t. nutmeg
2 ounces of New Mexican (Hatch) green chili, hot or mild or more! to taste (canned or frozen chiles are okay)
2 ounces of pinon (pine) nuts (I toast mine in a skillet, but you  don't have to)
1 T lemon juice

Peel, core and put apple slices into large mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients mix well.
Set aside to blend flavors while the crust is being prepared.
Pastry crust (makes four crusts)
This recipe will use two crusts.
The other two can be frozen for future use, always handy and makes for a speedy pie.

3 cups of flour
¼ t. baking powder
1 t. salt
½ c. salted butter
½ c. shortening
1 egg
1 T. white vinegar
1/2 c. ice cold water
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter and shortening to pea sized pieces with pastry knife or fork and knife(do not use your hands yet). In separate bowl, mix egg, vinegar and water. Add wet mix to flour mixture small amounts at a time and blend with spoon or pastry cutter until dry ingredients are moist and form a ball (more or less water may have to be added depending on moisture content of flour).

Roll into a ball wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour. Divide dough into four sections. Roll out one section on a floured board to fit 9” pie pan. Put crust into pan. Place apple mix , mounded in the center. Top with one rolled section of crust. Flute edges, cut vent holes into top crust. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle natural sugar on top (optional). Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, turn, then 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an one hour. Pie is done when golden brown and juices bubble thickly around the outer edge. Serve with vanilla ice cream (highly suggested).

4 comments:

  1. testing this posting...

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  2. o.k...so this is theer...am able to post now. i cannot believe you add chilis to apple pie..think i'll have to try a sample before i attempt it. maybe it will like apple pie...maybe i will like it even less then i do now. i am willing to try...a winner, theer...;)

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  3. Update: Had this pie again this Thanksgiving with a scoop of ice cream on top. The chiles this year were from my garden and hotter than usual. When I'd hit a chile while chewing, it was like eating red hots candy. The ice cream complimented the heat of the chiles. Amazing!

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  4. I'm going to try more chilies this time! Hubby is picking some apples today! Should be a great treat!

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