Apple Pie in July
Baking is always something I’ve avoided. You know how many pies I’ve made in my life? None. I’ve made bread in a bread machine, but I can’t recall ever making a loaf by hand.
Sometimes I’ll watch a cooking show, see a cookbook, or read a blog post and say to myself, I could do that. In fact, one of the things I was looking forward to making with my food processor when I first bought it, was tart dough. That was about ten years ago, and I haven’t made a single tart yet.
Part of the problem is seeing how much fat, refined grain and sugar go into many of these recipes. Sure, I know that a slice of pie is a treat. But I find it more enjoyable if I didn’t see all that lard get cut into the dough. I think that’s one of the reasons why the pie crusts from Flying Pigs Farm are so ingenious.
I mention all of this because I’m not nearly qualified to tell you how to make a pie. What I can tell you though, is what not to do.
Yes, people use the phrase, “as American as apple pie.” And today is the fourth of July, when we celebrate America’s independence. But that doesn’t meant the two things should go together.
I’m not going to make historical arguments about pie and apples originating with our British oppressors. Nor am I going to suggest foods that the Native Americans might have enjoyed as appropriate for today’s celebration.
It’s just that apples in July are wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Apples are a fall fruit. They are a storage crop. If kept well, they can get you through the winter. They are a defining agricultural product for those of us who live in upstate New York. They sweeten our donuts. They provide us with booze. They entertain our children.
But in July, we actually have other fruit that is growing. Forbes suggests a blueberry cobbler, but screw them. That’s wrong too. Because it’s July, and it’s hot outside. And who the hell wants to bake anything?
Strawberries just moved out of season up where we are, but good organic strawberries are hard to find in these parts anyway. And I’m not going to force a red white and blue dish just to stick with the color scheme of the holiday.
Here’s a not-so-novel idea:
Grill seasonal fruit. You probably have the grill out anyway, and likely it’s still hot. Serve it with ice cream. If it doesn’t feel festive enough to you, you can stick a farking sparkler in it. But even without the flaming rod of joy protruding from your plate, this is still a more appropriate dessert for the holiday than apple pie.
Sadly, this reminder will come too late for some people. They will already be locked and loaded with their apple pies. Where those apples came from, I don’t know. Maybe China.
Whatever you do, please, just don’t overwhip your whipped cream.
Happy birthday to the United States of America. We are not perfect. Far from it. But I’m really really glad to live in a country where it’s not okay to kill journalists. Now get out there and let’s get grilling. I may even try some of those Applegate hot dogs. Look at me living on the edge.