Making “Dehydrated Apple Pie” the Lewis & Clark Way

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “West For America” from Lewis & Clark: West For America by David Walburn. Released: 1999

“At the dawn of the 19th century, two young men led a brave crew of rugged souls across a trackless wilderness with little more than undaunted courage, indefatigable determination, and the unwavering faith of their president. Their voyage of discovery took them over 7,600 miles in a little over two years – it is a feat that still staggers the imagination after 200 years

These introductory comments are from “The Lewis & Clark Cookbook – Historic Recipes from the Crops of Discovery & Jefferson’s America” by Leslie Mansfield, published in 2002.

"The Lewis & Clark Cookbook" by Leslie Mansfield

“The Lewis & Clark Cookbook” by Leslie Mansfield

The recipes in the book were researched, and use “historically accurate ingredients” and include a cross-section of some of the foods, which Lewis & Clark would have consumed during their sojourn: “Bear with Red Wine, Mushrooms and Juniper Sauce”, “Buttermilk Huckleberry Pancakes”, “Cream of Sorrel Soup”, “Buffalo and Forest Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie”, and one that particularly intrigued me, “Dried Apple Pie”.

"Dehydrated Apple Pie" from The Lewis & Clark Cookbook

“Dehydrated Apple Pie” from The Lewis & Clark Cookbook

According to the author: “Around 1800, three years before Lewis and Clark set off, John Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed, arrived in the Ohio River Valley establishing orchards and spreading the gospel of the apple. This apple pie, with the apples rehydrated in apple juice, is a real treat directly out of our founding fathers’ time”. Here is the recipe, but please finish reading my post before starting, as I made numerous changes!:

1 pound dried apple slices
2 cups apple juice
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
sugar for sprinkling on the crust
pastry for a double crust 10 inch pie

The ingredients:  dehydrated apples, apple juice, water, sugar, butter, cinnamon

The ingredients: dehydrated apples, apple juice, water, sugar, butter, cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the dried apples, apple juice, and water.

 

 

Place the dehydrated apples into a large saucepan

Place the dehydrated apples into a large saucepan

Add the apple juice

Add the apple juice

Add the water

Add the water

 

Simmer until the liquid is absorbed

Simmer until the liquid is absorbed

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Most of the liquid has been absorbed...

Most of the liquid has been absorbed…

Stir in the sugar, butter and cinnamon and simmer until the mixture is thick.

Add the sugar

Add the sugar

 

Add the butter and cinnamon

Add the butter and cinnamon

 

Stir well until thickened

Stir well until thickened

 

After about 15 minutes, the mixture has thickened....cool slightly

After about 15 minutes, the mixture has thickened….cool slightly

Line a 10 inch pie plate with half the pastry dough and prick all over with a fork. Pour the apple mixture into the pie shell and adjust the top crust. Cut decorative vents in the top crust to allow the steam to escape. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top of the pie. Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Serves 8.

Now, here I have to backtrack. I decided that if I was going to be authentic, I’d better dehydrate the apples myself, instead of purchasing treated, too dry, expensive ones from the store, as I have a food dehydrator (a “Nesco”). I purchased a selection of three apple varieties: 3 Johnagolds, 3 Granny Smiths and 2 Red Delicious. After washing, coring and peeling, I sliced them in to rounds a little less than ¼ inch thick and layered them in the 4 racks of the dehydrator. After leaving them overnight (about 15 hours), they were dehydrated, but not dried out or crispy. I bagged them and weighed them.

16 apples yielded 12 ounces of dehydrated apples

16 apples yielded 12 ounces of dehydrated apples

After drying, the 8 apples came to a weight of only 8 ounces, and as the recipe called for 16 ounces, I had to dry another batch, so I went with the same combination of the three varieties, for a total of 16 apples. Following the second drying, I still had only 12 ounces of dried apples, but it looked like it would be sufficient for a pie, after rehydrating, so I went with it.

After assembling all of the ingredients, I began the rehydration process as the recipe directs. After 25 minutes, the apples appeared to be nicely hydrated and softened, and I added the sugar, butter and cinnamon. After about 10 more minutes of simmering, the mixture was nice and thick and fragrant.

Here’s where I cheated. The recipe for the pie crust in the book indicated butter, but I had found another recipe in “The Chuckwagon Cookbook” by B. Byron Price, which used lard or shortening, so I decided to try it. Here is the recipe for the crust:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chilled lard or vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons (approximate) ice water

Pie crust ingredients from "The Chuckwagon Cookbook" by B. Byron Price

Pie crust ingredients from “The Chuckwagon Cookbook” by B. Byron Price

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt.

Mix well

Mix well

Using a pastry blender, cut the lard into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Tossing with a fork, sprinkle on the water, mixing until the dough holds together when pinched between your thumb and forefinger.

Add the ice water to the mixture as needed

Add the ice water to the mixture as needed

(you may have to add additional ice water). Gather the dough into a thick rectangle, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for an hour.

Mold the dough into a thick rectangle, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour

Mold the dough into a thick rectangle, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 1 hour

Following the chilling of the dough, I began rolling it out. At this point, I determined that the apple mixture was going to overflow my regular 10 inch pie plate, so I decided to go with a deep dish 10 inch pan (probably should have followed the pie crust recipe with the apple pie recipe!).

Pour the slightly cooled apple mixture into the bottom (uncooked) pie crust

Pour the slightly cooled apple mixture into the bottom (uncooked) pie crust

However, the dough was not sufficient for a bottom and top crust, so I had to cheat a little. I used a prepared dough for the bottom crust and used all of the fresh dough for the top crust. It was a little thick, but turned out to be delightful. I added a couple of Roadrunner cutouts for decoration on top (no doubt Lewis & Clark probably saw a few of them in their journey!)

Sprinkle a little sugar on top of the crust and cut a few slits in the dough

Sprinkle a little sugar on top of the crust and cut a few slits in the dough

 

 

A pie crust shield helps to prevent burning of the edges

A pie crust shield helps to prevent burning of the edges

During the baking, none of the contents oozed out of the slits in the top crust, and after removing it from the oven, the top crust actually separated from the rest and sat high atop the filling!

Immediately after removing from the oven, the top crust had "lifted", probably due to the amount of filling

Immediately after removing from the oven, the top crust had “lifted”, probably due to the amount of filling

But, after cooling and settling, gravity did it’s thing and it settled back down to normal.

After cooling, gravity did it's thing and the crust settled!

After cooling, gravity did it’s thing and the crust settled!

I should point out that even with only 12 ounces of dehydrated apples, instead of the 16 ounces recommended in the recipe, this is a very substantial pie, weighing in at a little over 3.5 pounds, exclusive of the pie tin! (we’re still eating it!)

Time to try a slice

Time to try a slice

The pie turned out to be very tasty, however, it was lacking somewhat in the liquid portion of the contents. Although not dry by any means, it was not runny at all and I think that the next time, I might add additional apple juice to increase the liquid portion of the pie.

A tasty, but very dense and solid apple pie!

A tasty, but very dense and solid apple pie!

All in all, though, it was worth the effort and it was fun to dry my own apples and start from zero, much like Lewis & Clark’s cooks would have done during their travels. I felt like a true pioneer woman (except for the electric food dehydrator, electric stovetop, electric oven!)

The "Dehydrated Apple Pie", from "The Lewis & Clark Cookbook"

The “Dehydrated Apple Pie”, from “The Lewis & Clark Cookbook”

 


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,202. What next? More shelves!
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