Governor Tryon’s Humble Crumble Apple Pie
It was a mistake! And one I have come to rectify, so far as I may!” Tryon was standing his ground, jaw tight as he glared upward.
“A mistake. And is the loss of an innocent man’s life no more than that to ye? You will kill and maim, for the sake of your glory, and pay no heed to the destruction ye leave — save only that the record of your exploits may be enlarged. How will it look in the dispatches ye send to England — sir? That ye brought cannon to bear on your own citizens, armed with no more than knives and clubs? Or will it say that ye put down rebellion and preserved order? Will it say that in your haste to vengeance, ye hanged an innocent man? Will it say there that ye made ‘a mistake’? Or will it say that ye punished wickedness, and did justice in the King’s name?”
Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 72 – Tinder and Char)
Nothing can ever bring back The Thrush. Not Claire’s care, Jamie’s anger, Bree’s love, nor Tryon’s land.
Most likely not even late 20th Century surgery…should Roger ever get back (again) to see what the doctors have to say.
At the same time, for an 18th C man of status such as Governor Tryon to admit a mistake of any size, never mind one that amounts to state-sanctioned (attempted) murder, shows that the man has at least a sense humility.
As does his devotion to duty, when we learn about his promotion to New York, and that he will most likely never return to North Carolina. He really didn’t have to deal with any of it.
But none of that really matters, does it?
A most beautiful voice has been choked, and the physical body and spirit of a truly honourable and humble man have been nearly destroyed — yet again — under all the horror the 18th Century and its sense of justice can muster.
As an historian, Roger knew better than Claire, Bree, even Geillis, what he was getting into by going through the stones. And he went anyway.
“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” Thucydides – circa 5th Century, BCE
One of the earliest recipes for apple pie is from the late 14th Century, about the same time Chaucer began writing Cantebury Tales. The apples were tossed with figs, raisins and pears, heavily spiced, lightly sweetened with honey or cane sugar (a very expensive ingredient at the time — approx $50/lb in today’s prices), coloured with saffron and cooked in a pastry “cofyn.”
Emigrants to the New World packed ship holds with barrels of apples, chosen for their storage and cooking qualities, to plant in their new homes. Those first early trees grew into a tradition that is associated with the American way of life all over the world.
I’ve never been a fan of 2 crust apple pies, so I opted for a nutty crumble topping, all the better to rhyme with humble. :)
If you prefer, simply double the crust recipe, and Bob’s your Uncle.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
A lightly sweet pie in a crisp, flaky crust and topped with a rich, nutty streusel.
9” pie – Serves 8
- All-Purpose Flour – 1½ C
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Butter, cubed – ½ C
- Ice Water – 3 Tble
- Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
- Apples - 3 lbs (about 7 medium)
- Lemon Juice – 1 Tble
- Brown Sugar, packed – ¼ C
- Sugar – ¼ C
- Cornstarch – 2 tsp
- Butter, diced - 2 Tble
- Cinnamon – 1 tsp
- Nutmeg, freshly ground – ¼ tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Walnut or Pecan Halves – ½ C
- Brown Sugar – 3 Tble
- Cinnamon – ½ tsp
- All-Purpose Flour – ½ C
- Butter, melted – ¼ C
- Vanilla Extract – ½ tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
Crust: Combine the flour, salt and half the butter in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Add the remaining butter, and pulse 2-3 times, until the butter is in pea-sized lumps.
Sprinkle the water and lemon juice over top and pulse 4 or 5 times until the dough holds together when pinched.
Pour the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, gather and flatten it into a disc, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
Filling: Peel, core and chop the apples into ½” wedges. Toss in a large bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients, and set aside to macerate for about 1 hour.
Crumble Topping: Combine the nuts and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5-7 times, until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the remaining crumble ingredients and pulse until coarse and crumbly. Set aside.
Assemble the pie: Move the rack to the bottom position and preheat the oven to 425° F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to soften, if necessary, for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to a 12-13” circle. Transfer the dough to a 9” pie plate, and fold the excess under so that the edges are a double thickness. Crimp with your fingers or fork.
Mound the apple filling into the prepared pie shell, pouring the juices evenly over the top. Cover lightly with foil brushed with butter, and bake on the bottom rack for 1 hour.
Remove the pie from the oven, reduce the heat to 375° F and discard the foil. Top the pie evenly with the crumble topping and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the crust and topping are golden brown.
Cool completely, slice and serve with ice cream and caramel sauce…or, if you prefer, all by itself.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- To make the crust by hand, combine the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and use a fork, pastry blender or your fingers to break the butter into pea-sized lumps and blend with the flour. Add the water and lemon juice, and mix quickly with a fork to moisten the dough evenly. Proceed as directed to wrap and refrigerate the dough.
- Gala, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady and Pippin are some of my favourite apples to use in baking. Firm fleshed apples in the semi-sweet to tart range are best.