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  • Jennifer Stewart

Restless Baking

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I’m not that good at relaxing… I know this because most days with or without my kids I cannot sit down. It’s as if I tell myself that I’m wasting time by not being productive. I was this way in Los Angeles as I woke up telling myself that if I’m going to live thousands of miles away from my family, then I was going to make damn sure I was going to do everything I could to make something of myself. That was everything from exercising to working multiple jobs to class to workshops to designing my own website. To mailings (back when you actually mailed your headshot to the casting directors office) to more workshops and more updates and more connections and more jobs… Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of good times and great memories and lots of social time with friends. (of which I miss so much these days) And yet, somehow, I brought that mentality with me when I moved to Texas. I did have 5 jobs at one point in Austin… and before I had a family I was kind of a workaholic.

But recently, since Covid hit, my productivity has felt forced and I have not felt satisfied nor do I feel like I’m doing enough. I was furloughed from my job in June and for someone that has worked a job since she was 15… and most times many jobs at a time (often changing clothes in the car from job to job)… this has been so hard to accept. I’ve organized and cleaned my house about 1000 times, I’ve painted walls and window sills, made and planted a garden, bake breads, cookies and cooked about 500 meals. I’ve taken my children to the park, played with them and read to them and painted with them, swam with them and somehow deep down it doesn’t feel like enough. I know most of us have felt fear on our day to day during these uncertain times. It’s hard to be at rest and to choose joy when some cannot be at rest or feel joy. But if I want to look back on my 2020, I want to remember my children. And I want to remember the time I got to spend with them. And myself. And doing the things I love.

One of the things I love to do is to bake pies. Most people that know me know I love pie and I authenticity of making it from scratch. And because today is the first beautiful Texas Autumn day, I am inspired to bake an apple pie. So here is my favorite pie recipe. Bourbon Apple Pie. Because who doesn’t need more bourbon in their lives right now??

Bourbon Apple Pie

By. Me & Sally

Double Pie Crust:

Thank you Sally’s Baking Addiction for the Inspiration. This is a great recipe for beginners and advance pie makers. And the vodka is a great addition in my opinion.

· 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

· 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled

· 1/2 cup ice water (or vodka if you’re feeling up for it)

1. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.

2. Using a pastry cutter or fingers which is what I do, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal

3. Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon added. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps

4. Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.

5. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours

6. When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go.

7. Proceed with Pie instructions!

Filling

· 1/2 cup bourbon

· 3 pounds (5-6 Apples) cooking apples (I use Gala or

· ½ cup sugar.

· ½ cup brown sugar

· 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 1/4 teaspoon salt

· 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

· 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

· 1 egg white


Instructions

Peel apples, and cut into 1/2-inch slices; Cover apples in a bowl with bourbon, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. Add pecans, stirring to combine. Roll pie crust out and place in 9” pie pan with edges folded over side; Spoon apple mixture into piecrust. Roll remaining piecrust to press out fold lines; cut with a 3-inch leaf-shaped cutter if you choose to make it pretty. Brush leaves with egg white, and sprinkle pie with sugar.

Cover pie with foil. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 20-25 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.






The artist that I’m going to excitedly pair my apple bourbon pie with is one of my favorites that just keeps getting better and better with age. Andrew Bird is just a brilliant musician and he’s from Chicago which is also a very good reason to love him. His music is heavy instrumental and he has a bachelor’s degree in Violin Performance. YES!! The song I’m going to pair my pie with is called Pulaski at Night. It’s genius and simply perfect for this day. I’m doing a tap dance in my kitchen!! Thank you Mr. Bird. For reminding me of the things I love…




I like to do a lot of domestic things… my boss once told me I should have been born during the Great Depression when you had to practice making everything yourself and doing everything yourself. And somehow I couldn’t agree with him more. I love hanging clothes and sheets on the line. I love baking fresh pies and bread and pastries from scratch. I love writing letters and sending them in the mail. I just love being more authentic. In so many ways. These days everything is done for you. Even grocery shopping, which I never thought I would do. But alas, two kids and a pandemic make you change that. We connect to people more when we make things with our hands. We challenge ourselves more when we paint it or build it ourselves. And we can love each other more when we can share fresh baked pies out of our ovens. I’m encouraged today to move through this World we are in right now and only fill it up with what I love most. Each day and every day. Without urgency. And without judgement. With a little bit of baking. And a little bit of music.

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