Apples. Delicious, juicy apples! What could be better?
This recipe is courtesy of my friend Julia. She is just as loveable and sweet as her Applejuice Pie, and holds a special place in my heart.
I met Julia, who is a biologist and a writer, last year at school. We spent four months learning the ins and outs of online journalism. Technically, we saw each other every day, because we sat in the same class from dawn to dusk. In reality, we saw very little of each other and could only hear one another during the first month, because a giant column divided the classroom, inhibiting eye-contact between Julia and myself. She sat in the front row, I in the back and I often only knew during our first break that hadn’t come in that day.
One month into our course, one of our classmates passed away (it’s a story for another day) and the administration moved us to a different room – to help us heal. We took our classmate with us in spirit (and his name tag for physical proof, which we kept with us until the course ended), but left the giant column behind and I could finally bask in the delight that is seeing Julia every day. She is very pretty, with long brown, naturally wavy hair, which she sometimes ties up into a bun. She has an open, happy face with vivid, large brown eyes that curl into long, thick lashes. Her rich, red lips compliment her rosy cheeks and her pale teint. Julia has a gorgeous figure: she is tall as a glass of wine and her legs are as long and wound as history. Julia’s voice is mellow like cinnamon and soft like a summer breeze, even when she raises her voice, she doesn’t break out of character. An aura of innocence surrounds her, but you’d never mistake it for naiveté. You’ll find Julia somewhere between the pure kindness of a child’s heart, the spirit of a warm, firm hug and the comfort of meeting the wisdom and awareness of an old soul.
Knowing all of this about Julia, you may be taken by surprise as much as I was that Julia has studied the testicles of fruit-flies extensively. I bet you didn’t suspect it, but the male fruit fly has exceptionally large testicles in proportion to the rest of their body, making it ideal for all sorts of studies on this body part. It’s really hilarious when Julia tells you, because there is nothing about her that would lead you to think that fruit fly testicles are, in fact, her specialty. (I’m sure this information has invisibly touched more than just one man more than they would care to admit, and left them wondering about just how much more Julia knows about the male anatomy in general than other women.)
You’d expect someone as beautiful as Julia to be flawed in character. But no: Julia is witty and kind. On our first day together, she told us she is usually the feel-good manager of any group. It’s true! During the four months we spent together, I learnt that it’s really important to her everyone feel comfortable and included. This is why she insisted to bring a gluten-free cake on the day our program ended.
I was ever so thankful for the gesture and this pie.
It was very, very delicious and all the classmates – including me – insisted she splurge the recipe. It includes so much fruit that you may as well claim it’s a healthy treat!
By the way, this is a sad cell phone picture that I took of Julia during one of our workshops (published with permission). I like it a lot though, because you can really see her bright and cheerful personality shine through.
PS: This pie needs to cool off entirely prior to serving (or else it will collapse into a delicious, crumbly mess). It’s best to prepare the applejuice pie the day before you plan on eating it and give it plenty of time in the fridge if need be.
Julia’s Applejuice Pie
For the crust (for a pie tin with a 20cm diameter):
250g gluten-free flour
150g butter (cold; for a vegan version use a vegetable-based margarine)
2 eggs (cold; for a vegan version use two tsp gluten-free helpers)
½ tsp baking powder
1 dash salt
For the filling:
1 tsp cinnamon
1 small package vanilla sugar (10g)
2 packages vanilla pudding powder (each intended for 500ml milk)
1 tbsp corn or potato starch
1 kg chopped up apple (post-peeling weight)
200g whipping cream
1 package vanilla sugar (10g)
roasted almond chips (if you want)
Heat your oven to 200°C.
Line the inside of a pie tin with a thin layer of oil or butter.
Place all of the ingredients for the crust in a bowl and incorporate in a smooth dough.
(Refrigerate for a few minutes in case it is too soft)
Place a pot on the stove and add all the ingredients except the chopped apples.
You can keep the apple pieces in a bowl with water so that they don’t turn brown.
Heat and continue to stir until the mixture boils and coagulates into a pudding.
Add the apple pieces.
Form the pie crust within the pie tin.
Pour the filling into the crust.
Bake in your oven for 40 minutes.
Let the pie cool off entirely prior to serving. This will take several hours at least, but it’s best to leave it overnight and even place it into the fridge, if you can. If you cut the pie while it I still warm, the filling will not be firm yet and your pie will collapse.
Prior to serving, whip the whipping cream. Evenly spread on top of your pie, decorate with the roasted almond chips. Serve right away and enjoy – perhaps à la mode, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!