It isn't often I've made a green apple pie. Usually I stick to the reds, tossing in softening MacIntosh's or week old Rome's in an attempt to use the fruit before its peak.
But upon suggestion from Dorris Mills, whose family has been baking and selling apples for over a century now, I tried my luck with a bag of Rhode Island Greenings.
Chopping and peeling I mixed the fruit with sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of lemon juice before leaving it to sit. I rolled out a thick crust from a stiff, dry recipe passed along by a friend, and set the oven to heat.
The pie that emerged was stunning. The crust rose up in thick peaks, the fruit had baked into a moist yet cohesive filling, and the color of both fruit and dough had browned into a golden delight.
The taste was better still. Just as Dorris had predicted, the tart green apples kept their shape. They don't melt down, I remember her laughing, and she was right. The took to the sugar and spices well, too, soaking up the saccharine crystals into a sticky web of spice and juice. While McKown's will make a good pie, Rhode Island Greenings'll do you one better.
For a complete listing of the apple varieties Dorris grows at Noquochoke Orchards, complete with taste descriptions and season, visit their website.
RHODE ISLAND GREENING PIE
Serves 6 to 8
In a large bowl, cut 2 sticks butter into pieces. Pour 8 tablespoons hot water over top. Sift together 3 cups flour, 2/3 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons salt, and work into the wet butter and water. Pat dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and let chill 30 minutes.
Peel, core, and thinly slice Rhode Island Greening apples until they yield 4 cups. In a large bowl, mix with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out one disk of dough and use it to line the bottom of a large pie plate. Spoon in pie filling and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Roll out top crust and place over fruit. Pinch edges into thick seams, remove excess dough, and cut several slits in the dough to let steam escape while baking. Bake 30 minutes at 425, then turn the oven down to 350 and cook for 20 minutes more, or until filling is thick and crust golden brown. Enjoy hot with vanilla ice cream.