Winning treats | Living the Country Life

Winning treats

Pies and ice cream grab top ribbons in state fair contest.
Dad's Gooseberry Pie (front) and Grandma's Dutch Apple Pie are fair winners.

Perfect pies

Shelby McCreedy's grandmother told her the simple secret to pie baking. "Don't get fancy," she would say. "It doesn't have to be pretty to taste good. When you make something, you eat it whether it comes out the way it was supposed to or not!"

That's great advice, but McCreedy made sure her recipe for Grandma's Dutch Apple Pie was both delicious and attractive. McCreedy is one of three prize winners in Living the Country Life magazine's recipe contest at the 2005 Iowa State Fair.

Another winner is Kaye Postma, Rhodes, Iowa, with her recipe for Dad's Gooseberry Pie.

When Postma asked her 89-year-old father what he wanted for his birthday, he said, "A rare steak, wilted lettuce, and gooseberry pie." Postma has a reputation as the family pie baker, so she got cracking.

"I know the pie represents a long-ago beloved time and place for him," she says. "His childhood was spent on a farm where he rambled through the woods with his dogs. Grandma made piecrusts from lard rendered from the hog butchering, and she picked her own gooseberries and canned them."

Postma gets her gooseberries from the store, but the pie is a winner even so. "I am happy to help Dad relive his memories of walking into the summer kitchen on the farm and smelling one of Grandma's gooseberry pies baking in the cookstove."

Grandma's Dutch Apple Pie

Shelby McCreedy, Atlantic, Iowa
Prep: 40 minutes
Bake: 1 hour

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 egg yolk
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
4 cups sliced, peeled apples (such as Granny Smith)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine the first 1 cup flour and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add vinegar and egg yolk. Add enough milk to moisten dough. Form into a ball; wrap and chill 30 to 60 minutes. On lightly floured surface roll pastry from center to edges to form a 12-inch circle. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Trim pastry 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Set aside.

Step 2: For streusel, in a medium bowl combine 1 cup flour and the brown sugar. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Step 3: In a large bowl combine apples, granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Transfer apple mixture to pastry-lined pie plate. Sprinkle evenly with streusel. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on wire rack. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 473 cal, 21 g fat, 56 mg chol, 280 mg sodium, 69 g carbo, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Dad's Gooseberry Pie

Kaye Postma, Rhodes, Iowa
Prep: 35 minutes
Bake: 60 minutes

1 recipe Country Tearoom Pastry
3 15-ounce cans gooseberries, drained
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare Country Tearoom Pastry.

Step 2: On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten 1 dough ball. Roll dough from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it; set aside.

Step 3: For filling, in a large bowl stir together gooseberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt (filling will be wet). Pour filling into pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate.

Step 4: Roll remaining dough ball into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Cut slits to allow steam to escape. Place pastry on filling; trim to 1/2 inch beyond the edge of pie plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge, as desired.

Step 5: Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack. (Filling will be slightly soft.) Makes 8 servings.

Country Tearoom Pastry: In a large bowl stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/2 cup lard or shortening until pieces are pea size. In a small bowl stir together 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, and 1/3 cup ice water. Add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until all is moistened. If necessary, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time to moisten. Using your hands, knead gently until mixture forms a ball. Divide in half.

Nutrition facts per serving: 463 cal, 15 g fat, 41 mg chol, 280 mg sodium, 80 g carbo, 5 g fiber, 5 g protein.

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