‘Of course, Jackson was aware of European art, but what he identified with was about as American as apple pie.’
Jackson Pollock’s apple pie was not only loved by his family and friends, it also became famous in the local community of Springs when it won first prize at the local Fisherman’s Fair. Over the years, his pie’s reputation grew and people would bid on it ahead of time, so that it was already sold well before delivery to Ashawagh Hall. The pie crust recipe is based on the original given by his mother Stella to Jackson and Lee, written in the back of one of their recipe books. Inside the same historic book is the recipe for the pie filling, found on pages splattered with the evidence of busy preparation.
For Jackson, apple pie was perhaps his signature dish and he proudly shared the method with interested friends. On one rainy Sunday afternoon Jackson went to friend Josephine Little’s house nearby to teach her the recipe. This dessert is delicious served with ice cream-vanilla or one of Lee’s favorite flavors, rum raisin. Or perhaps homemade peach ice cream, a favorite of John and Josephine Little.
FOR THE FILLING
4lb Granny Smith apples, or any combination of tart apples
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar, or less if desired 1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all-purpose flour, sifted
FOR THE CRUST
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 level tsp baking powder 1 level tsp salt
1½ cups cold butter 2 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg for egg wash
½ cup cold milk, plus more as needed
To prepare the filling, peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Stew apples in a pot with a little water to cover the fruit, plus the sugar and spices, until just cooked. Chill apples in a little of the juice. When cold, sift flour over the apples and stir gently to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 450°F. To make the pie crust: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture is crumbly. Add egg yolks and mix with enough milk to make a dough. Roll out dough lightly. Place the pastry in a greased 10-inch round pie dish, allowing pastry to overhang the edge of the pan by about 1 inch; trim away excess dough, roll it into a ball, and set aside to make the top crust. Be sure there are no cracks in the bottom crust; seal them by pressing edges together with fingers. Pour apple mixture into pie shell and distribute evenly.
For a simple top crust, roll out the remaining dough, slide the pastry sheet onto the rolling pin, and unroll it on top of the apple pie filling. Allow top crust to overhang the edge of the pan by about 1 inch; trim away excess dough, then pinch the top and bottom crusts together all around the rim to seal the pie. Prick the top crust with a fork in about a dozen places, or slice a few small openings with a knife, to allow steam to escape. Brush top pastry with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with a pinch or two of sugar.
For a more elaborate lattice-style top, roll out the remaining dough, cut into ½-inch strips, and weave strips across the top of the filling. Brush lattice strips with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with a pinch or two of sugar.
Place the pie in the centre of oven and bake 10–15 minutes, then reduce oven to 325°F and bake 25–30 minutes more.