Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Can't This American Make Apple Pie?

"Why Can't This American Make Apple Pie?"

This is not a rhetorical question, nor a joke with a clever answer, but something flickering through my mind all day. 

It all started last weekend. I woke up Saturday morning, had my weekend Irish coffee, checked the calender, and saw it: mother-in-law's birthday. Really? Crap. (Please m-i-l, don't be reading this!) We'd been so busy that I knew my husband had pushed any thoughts of gifting right out of his mind. It happens this way every year, what with the post-christmas gifting/celebrating burnout, January birthdays kind of get the shaft.

Well, I thought, plastering my best Betty Crocker smile on, I'll do what any American would do in this situation - bake an apple pie. For some reason (it might've been the bowl of apples staring me in the face), I thought the thick layer of kitsch spread over this whole situation might make it work. I marvelled at how able of a woman I was to have everything in the kitchen. Apples, yup. Flour, sugar, all the basics, of course. I dug in. No recipe, baby. I should know this. Pie crust, shmie shmust. It should be in my blood.

Elbow deep in flour my jaw drops. No butter. Seriously. The girl whose father's nickname is Mr. Butter hasn't got a knob of the stuff in the house! Good thing I live in Europe where we've got cute little corner-shops dotting every neighborhood. Off I dash, five minute jaunt (still marveling for some reason on how this is all going to fall into place). Here we are - the potraviny these shops are called (literally means 'food-stuffs'). Really. You're kidding me. Closed for lunch? Yep. Every day between noon and one, shut up tight. It's 12:13. We're supposed to leave by three.

Hah, I think, phooey to all those cute lil' European shops, lucky for me I've been cultivating my American good-neighborism (we just moved to this flat a couple months takes awhile). Text the neighbor. Nope. Outa town already. Still chipper (musta been that Irish coffee), I decide any home baker worth their salt could improvise their way out of this one.

 I won't post the recipe. I am much too embarrassed. It was, eh, okay. Eaters were polite enough to say it was tasty. When I pointed out there was no butter, that was the problem, they kind of murmured in agreement.

Where did I go wrong? It would probably be even worse if I confessed that I've worked in bakeries producing sweets on a daily basis. Okay, not pie, but is it really so different?

If you have any hope for this expat spreading some American-pie-goodness around the world (or at least Czech Republic, which is, after all, in the center of the world) I need your help.

Send me your best (or not so terrible) apple pie recipe. I'll try anything and everything I receive, until I can wake up on a Saturday and whip together one heck of a pie!

Děkuju / Thank You :)


  1. I absolutely love pie, so I've been trying my hand at a few apple pie recipes recently. :) I found this website to be SUPER helpful. Since I lack a pastry cutter or a food processor, the bit about freezing the butter and shredding it worked fantastically!

    I also used their recipes for the filling and crust and very much enjoyed the results. I used the "Combination Vegetable Shortening & Butter Pastry" crust recipe, but I used pastry flour (mixed all-purpose and cake flour) instead of all-purpose flour.

  2. Hi V.H., great! Thanks so much for the tips/links!!!


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