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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Apple Jack Pie #MoviesandMunchies

This month Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm invited the Movies & Munchies group to watch Mr. Church. I had never heard of the movie and, in fact, couldn't think of a movie Eddie Murphy has made that wasn't a silly comedy. So this was a surprise on several levels.


On the Screen

Mr. Church stars Eddie Murphy as a cook who starts working for Marie and Charlotte Brooks. Marie has been diagnosed with breast cancer and given six months to live. Her former lover sends his cook to the Brooks' residence with enough funding to cover "the rest of her life", but instead of six months, Marie lives another six years.


In the meantime, Church becomes part of the family, prepping three meals a day for them, creating a family library to encourage Charlie to read, caring for Marie as she declines, and even sewing Charlie's prom dress. His only rule is that his private life is his own; once he leaves after dinner clean-up, he doesn't want the Brooks to ask about his interests, his hobbies, or his love life.


Spoilers! Stop reading if you don't want to know how the movie progresses.

After Marie dies, Church remains in Charlie's life. He gives her all of the money he saved from using coupons on their groceries so she can pay her Boston University tuition. And he gives her a car to get there. When she drops out - pregnant and unmarried - he takes her in and helps her raise her daughter, Izzy.


As can be expected about a movie with a cook at the center of it, there is a lot of food to be seen. Eggs and grits are seen for several breakfasts. We also see a parade Mr. Church's creations, including a chocolate-coconut cake, sandwiches, banana bread, lemonade with licorice, and chicken soup. But I was inspired by a food that bookends the movie: Apple Jacks.


When Charlie first meets Mr. Church, she tells him that she doesn't want to eat the breakfast he made. She rudely objects.


Charlie: I want Apple Jacks.

Marie: Charlie!

Mr. Church: What are Apple Jacks?

Marie: Well, it's a cereal. It tastes like apples. Well, and sugar, mainly.

Charlie: You've never heard of Apple Jacks?

Marie: Hey, don't be rude.

Mr. Church: I can make the child some Apple Jacks if that's what she wants...

Charlie: It's already made. It comes in a box. Add milk and you're done.


And, in one of the final scenes of the movie, Charlie and Mr. Church enjoy bowls of Apple Jacks at a diner together. "Add milk and you're done."


No, I didn't buy a box of Apple Jacks, though I considered it. Instead, I decided to make an apple pie with some Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey worked into the crust and the filling. Get it?


Ingredients

makes one 9-inch pie


Crust

  • 2 cups flour + more for rolling

  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar

  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter

  • 2 Tablespoons vodka

  • 1 Tablespoon Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

  • 1 Tablespoon cold water

  • Also needed: parchment paper, rolling pin, pie pan, pie bird


Filling

  • 3 to 3-1/2 pounds apples, approximately 8 medium apples (I used organic Gala apples)

  • 1/2 cup organic light brown sugar, divided

  • 3 Tablespoons flour

  • 2 Tablespoon Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey

  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1" knob fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Procedure


Crust

In a food processor, combine the flour and sugar, pulsing 3 to 4 times. Add the butter and pulse until the texture looks mealy. Sprinkle in your liquids and pulse until combined. Remove the dough and press into a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap each ball tightly with plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour.


Filling

Peel and core the apples. Slice into wedges. Toss all of the apples with 1/4 cup of the sugar, place in a colander set over a large bowl and allow to drain for at least 90 minutes.


Pour the drained liquid to a small saucepan. Simmer until it's reduced to 2 Tablespoons. Set aside to cool. Toss the apples with the remaining sugar, flour, whiskey, lemon juice, salt, and all the spices.


Assembly

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Place the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.


Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a 12" circle. Place dough into pie pan. Gently press the dough into the sides of the pan, crimping and trimming the edges as necessary. Set a pie bird in the center of the bottom of the pan.



Layer the apples into the unbaked pie shell in concentric circles starting around the edges, working towards the center and forming a slight mound in the center of the pie. Pour leftover liquid that remains in the bowl over the apples. Roll out the second pie dough.



Place this dough over the apples, pressing the pie bird through the top crust. Press the edges of the dough around the rim of the pie.


Brush the top crust with the reduced juice.


Place the pie on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and continue to bake another 20 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool for a minimum of 4 hours. I let mine chill for about 8 hours. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.



And that's a wrap on my offering for the May edition of Movies & Munchies. In June, Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures is hosting us as we watch Best in Show That's a new one for me. Stay tuned!

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