Apple pie directly from the tree

Hungarian apple pie from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenLast year we arrived from Spain to Hungary exactly that time when apples were about to reach perfect ripeness. Some of the apples were already under the tree and they were continuously falling. We had many things to do in our house: scratching the drops of paint from the floor and windows, mend the broken heaters, fix the door of the tile stove and buy a new washing machine. In the meantime we tried to collect as many apples as we could. It was like an ancient instinct that forced us not to leave anything wasted which trees or earth gave us. I was hunting for crates, lined them with newspapers, filled them up and stapled on the top of each other. Since our cellar was not painted and cleaned yet, I put the crates full with Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Jonathan into the summer kitchen accompanied by the baskets of nuts that we picked from our three nut trees.
Since then 5 months have been passed. We are getting familiar with our new home and starting chats and conversations with more and more neighbors. I already recognize the dogs of the village and civil guards greet us from far when we pass by. Meanwhile we are slowly consuming our apple reserve. Áki, my sister’s fiancé helped transporting our furniture and we thanked him with a basket of apples because he loves them. We gave a bunch of them to our mothers and my grandmother and as Christmas present for food lover friends and family members. For breakfast we have freshly pressed apple juice with orange and carrots. But still..we have a loooot. The green Golden Delicious became yellow now and since we could pick them from the trees they are still in a perfect shape. Jonathan and McIntosh have some brown spots so I need to check them every now and then and use the ones which start to go bad. It is something new for us to look after, to keep in mind but somehow still something familiar like it would be in our genes. It is the same familiar feeling when I grate the apples, cook them with sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice and fill a shortcrust pastry with it as my mother used to do. I use my grandmother’s worn, black baking pan, wait until the apple pie gets golden brown in the oven and sprinkle it with icing sugar. I cut it into squares, but before that I cut down the edges. The reason for that is that it looks nicer and also for me as a cook it is a must to try it before I serve the pie (I couldn’t stop myself anyway…)
Why is it so good to be here, in my home country in a small village, and not anywhere else in the world?
Because I picked apples from my own trees, put them into crates, grated them, baked an apple pie and shared it with you, dear Reader.

Apple pie according to my Mom’s recipe
400 g flour
250 g butter or margarine
100 g sugar
1 tbsp sour cream (can be replaced by greek yoghurt)
2 egg yolks
zests of a lemon
1 pinch of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
For the filling:
1000 g apples peeled and pitted
100 g sugar
1 csg. vanilia sugar
juice of a lemon
ground cinnamon

Grate the apples and put them into a pot with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, cook it until the sugar dissolves and leave it to cool a little bit. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and mix it with the flour. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead it into a smooth dough. Divide it into a larger and a smaller piece, the larger one will be the bottom. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, roll out the larger dough and put it into the bottom carefully. Stick it with a fork in some spots then spread the apple filling, roll out the other piece of the dough and put it on the top and stick it again so steam can easily evaporate and won’t break your crust. Bake it until it is golden brown.

Hungarian apple pie from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenHungarian apple pie from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchenHungarian apple pie from the Taste of Memories countryside kitchen

Judit Neubauer

Judit Neubauer is a food photographer, chef and writer living in a small village in Northwestern Hungary. Her bilingual blog, Taste of Memories is about life in the Hungarian countryside. While she is bringing new life into the 90 year-old house and orchard of 18 fruit trees she cooks and bakes her family’s old recipes and tries to preserve traditions and old knowledge about how to live in rhythm and harmony with nature.



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