Friday, April 19, 2024

ECHO EATS: The Last Winesap

Race Farm Winesap apples are huge. Some weighing in at one pound. Photo by: C. Tamulonis, 01/2024

Winter may be upon us, but comfort can be found in creating an “antique” apple pie with Winesaps from Race Farm. The Winesap varietal goes back to colonial times in the United States making it the perfect choice for this 228-year-old recipe. A Buttered Apple Pie was adapted from America’s oldest cookbook, “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons, An American Orphan, published in 1796.

Simmons did not use measurements when assembling this pie as you can see in the illustration below. But this recipe is the best attempt at copying what may have been created in 1796. Enjoy!

A Buttered Apple Pie
Ingredients

Paste No. 3 – make this first (this is the crust, see below)
3 – 4 large Winesap apples from Race Farm
¾ cup of sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons of rosewater
2 tablespoons of white rum
A few slices of orange peel (zest)
4 pats of butter

Directions

● Pare, core, and slice the apples and layer them in the bottom paste
● Put the pie in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes
● Remove the pie and sprinkle the sugar, rose water, orange zest, and butter evenly over the apples in that order, cover with the top paste*
● Bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust begins to brown

Paste No. 3
As with the assembly of the pie, the directions for the crust are also adapted to a modern kitchen.

2 cups of flour
¾ cup of shortening (butter or Crisco)
2 tablespoons of water (more or less)
1 egg white (optional)
A pinch of salt

Ingredients for a Buttered Apple Pie. Photo by C. Tamulonis, 1/2024

Directions

● Stir the salt into the flour
● Slice room-temperature shortening into the flour and work with your hands
● Add the water one tablespoon at a time and the egg white until you get a smooth consistency
● Split into two balls and refrigerate in plastic wrap until ready to roll out
● To Roll: Flatten each ball between two pieces of lightly floured wax paper and gently roll out from the center in each direction (North, South, East, and West) until it is about 1/8 inch thick and slightly larger than your pie plate
● Arrange the bottom paste in a pie plate and follow directions for the pie above

There was a time when young women would throw the apple peel over their shoulder and the letter that it looked like would be the first initial of their future husband. Photo by: C. Tamulonis, 01/2024.

Noshing Notes: Don’t go overboard on the rosewater; it will take over the flavor of the pie. This recipe called for wine, but I substituted rum for a less acidic taste. You can also add a pear to the pie for texture and flavor. For a nice golden crust, paint with egg wash before baking.

Suggested Sides: Homemade whipped cream or a slice of cheese from the Springhouse Creamery on top.

Waste Not Want Not: Cores and skins from the apples can go to chickens or in your compost pile.

*A probable reason Simmons has you bake the bottom crust first is so that the top crust won’t puff up and break due to trapped steam. As you can see this pie came out pretty flat.

Race Farm Market is located at 224 Route 94 in Columbia, NJ. Their phone number is 908-362-8520.
Winter hours: Wednesdays through Sundays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

“American Cookery” is available for free online here.

Cybele Tamulonis
Cybele Tamulonis, Contributing Writer

Cybele is a writer and editor with more than 16 years in the publishing industry. An avid reader, you can usually find her with the latest new book release from the local library. She currently resides on a farm in Hardwick with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she writes historical fiction specific to New Jersey.