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Anna Lappé’s ‘Green’ Apple Pie

 Posted by on November 18, 2009
Nov 182009

I’ve been diving back into my dog-eared Joy of Cooking lately, giving these tried-and-true recipes little eco-twists along the way. For Thanksgiving this year, I’m bringing the apple pie, made from Joy’s simple recipe with a few tweaks.

Anna Lappé brings 'Joy' to an Earth-friendly pie. Photo by Bart Nagle

Anna Lappé brings 'Joy' to an Earth-friendly pie. (Photo: Bart Nagle.)

The Joy of Cooking recommends Golden Delicious apples because they retain their texture and don’t flood the pie with too much juice, but I’ve been using whatever apples I get each week from my community support agriculture (CSA) and it’s been delicious! (A CSA is one of the best ways to get fresh, local food. You become a member of a farm and each week receive a share of the farm’s harvest. Here in Brooklyn, we’ve been blessed with a ridiculous amount of crunchy, flavorful apples.)

Choosing local, minimally treated apples is a great way to reduce your pie’s ecological “foodprint.” Plus, because the apples have been bred for flavor, not for shipping, they’re, well, more flavorful. I also find their skins less tough than store-bought apples, so I’ve found I don’t really need to peel them, either.

The original recipe calls for ¾ cup sugar, but I prefer my apple pie less sweet. Plus, super fresh apples tend to be nicely sweet themselves. Use organic sugar made from evaporated cane juice, which is your guarantee you’re not getting sugar made from refined sugar beets, which could be genetically modified and processed with numerous chemicals.

My choice is Organic Valley butter. Founded by farmers in the late 1980s, Organic Valley is still run by farmers and dedicated to preserving and protecting family farmers. Though it’s a national cooperative, Organic Valley tries to source its products locally. So the butter I buy in Brooklyn comes from farmers in the region, not from all the way across the country. Organic Valley members are also always looking for ways to lessen their environmental impact. – Anna Lappé

(Use organic ingredients whenever possible.)

Try to use apples grown near your community if possible. Photo by Brad Calkins Dreamstime

Try to use apples grown near your community if possible. Photo by Brad Calkins Dreamstime

Follow your favorite recipe to prepare the pie crust.

Makes one 9-inch pie; 6 to 8 slices.


5 to 6 medium large apples, peel (optional), slice ¼ inch thick and core. Measures about 6 cups
½ cup (or less) organic sugar
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose organic flour
1 to 2 tablespoons strained juice from fresh organic lemons
½ to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, cut into small pieces (optional).


1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the apples and sugar.

3. Add flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. (I prefer a little more lemon and cinnamon).

4. Stir together and let stand for 15 minutes, mixing occasionally.

5. Pour the mixture into your pie crust. If the apples have released a lot of their juices, reserve some of the juice to not overwhelm the pie. Pat down the apples so they’re level.

6. Dot the pie with pieces of organic butter.

7. If you’re making a filled pie, cover with top crust, and seal the edges, trim them, and crimp or flute. Cut steam vents in the top and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of organic sugar and cinnamon.

8. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 350F and slip a baking sheet beneath the pie. Bake another 30 to 45 minutes until thick juices have started to bubble through the vents and the fruit feels just tender when a knife pokes through the vents.

Be sure to let it cool on a rack for several hours to thicken properly.



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