Michelle: As American as apple pie

January 29, 2011

Is there anything more American than Apple Pie? It is for this reason that Casey and I decided to reproduce this American icon in Montpellier. Equipped with the Betty Crocker recipe I copied down from home, we went to Monoprix and bought 5 pommes Granny Smith, beurre (butter), and noix de muscade (nutmeg) then went to Casey’s family’s apartment and got to work.

One of the things that is evident in both my and Casey’s French family’s kitchen is the scarcity of farine (flour). Their bags are only one kilogram. Caroline told me when she uses flour it’s only a spoonful here or there to thicken soups or give some substance to an otherwise fragile cake. That being said, I ended up using almost all of their flour making the two crusts for the apple pie.  Also, neither of our families had sucre en poudre (granulated sugar). Instead we used sucre cassonade (cane sugar).

Another difficulty was the conversion from cups, tablespoons and teaspoons into an available unit. Anne, Casey’s host mother, has a graduated cylinder with volume markings for the weights of different substances. At first, I tried to convert a volume measurement to weight (using the internet) then back to volume (with Anne’s kitchen gadget). In the end, that ended up being too much work so I just eyeballed the proportions for the crust.

After 40 min at 220°C, the pie was done and we served it to our families à la mode. The reception was fairly positive. Casey’s host sister’s boyfriend is an apprentice at a patisserie. When asked if he liked it, he was very diplomatic by saying he had never had anything like it before. Apparently, the use of nutmeg in desserts is not common here. Although I’ll contend that my dad makes a better crust than I do, all in all, it was comforting to have a taste of home.


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