Many restaurants in Charleston, SC have community tables used for patrons who don’t have reservations. One night a couple of weeks ago, Lindsey and I dined at Fig and were seated at the community table. Lindsey told me in San Francisco persons sitting at community tables only talk to the person they came with. If they come solo they just play with their cell phone. No one strikes up conversations with strangers. Considering that Charleston has about 4 million visitors annually it was not surprising that the 3 couples sitting with us were from California, Arizona and New Hampshire. Lindsey whispered to me, “Mom, if we were in California that couple wouldn’t talk to us but I bet we will know everyone’s story by the time we finish dinner.”
I opened with a simple question and it didn’t take long before everyone shared with the group their occupations, how many brothers and sisters they had, where they went to college, their weddings, what drew them to Charleston and their thoughts on the South. One of the most interesting comments was about the weather. One young lady said, “In books, I read about the air in the south being heavy but didn’t understand what they were talking about. As soon as I got off the plane I understood because the air was so heavy that I couldn’t breathe! It was like someone was sitting on my chest.”
All three of the couples commented on the warmth of Southerners, how they loved our accents and interesting sayings they had heard. One man asked me, “What does it mean when someone says, it’s so good it makes you want to slap your Mama?” Laughing I replied, “That means the food is really delicious!”
This apple pie will make you want to “Slap your Mama!”
Apple Cider Pie with Cinnamon Sugar Crust
Your favorite pie crust recipe for a double crust pie.
2 and 2/3 pounds Gala apples or 8 cups peeled, cored apples cut in 1/2 inch thick slices
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest from 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup apple cider, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon iodized salt
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large stockpot add sliced apples, lemon juice and zest. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the apple cider. Mix remaining 2 tablespoons apple cider with 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a very small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, stir sugar, cinnamon, salt, and apple pie spice together. Add sugar mixture to apple mixture stirring well to coat all apples. Set heat to high and bring to a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until juices thicken and become clear. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. The apples will finish cooking while they bake in the oven. Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place bottom crust in pie pan. Add cooled apples. Dot apples with 2 tablespoons butter. Put second crust on top of apples and flute the bottom and top crust edges together. Brush 2 tablespoons whipping cream on top crust. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Cut 3 vents in top of pie.
Place pie on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes. Cover pie with foil then reduce heat to 375ºF. Bake another 30 to 35 minutes or until all juices are bubbling. Remove foil from top of pie and cool on a wire rack for 3 to 4 hours to let pie set before cutting. Enjoy, Friends!
Published in The News and Neighbor on November 11, 2020.