As part of our apple unit, we did some fun activities to go along with the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World.
We baked the most delicious German apple cake. The recipe and step by step instructions you can find below.
The Book: How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World
To make an apple pie, you just go to the store to buy the ingredients. But what if the store is closed? The book takes readers from country to country around the world to gather the ingredients needed to make the pie.
And so we took a learning journey of our own to each country.
In the book she goes to Sri Lanka to get cinnamon. So here’s a short video that will show kids the harvesting of cinnamon.
Our Local Apple Orchard
Getting sugar from a sugar plantation in Jamaica, or cinnamon from bark of a tree in Sri Lanka is obviously out of our reach, but we could go to an apple orchard to gather the apples, and so that is what we did.
It was a fun afternoon of picking and eating…a lot of eating :).
We used the apples we picked to make an apple pie. There is a recipe in the book for an apple pie, but I decided to continue our world tour and make a German apple pie instead.
This is one of those deserts that you don’t make everyday because it might take you an afternoon to make. It’s also one of those deserts that if you blink too slowly, you’ll miss its disappearance :P. No seriously, it is oh so delicious.
Here is the recipe as passed down by my german grandmother (Oma).
German Apple Pie Recipe
The recipe calls for 2 kg of apples. I’m not exactly sure as I’ve never really weighed the apples and just peel and cut till it looks like I’ll have enough. Don’t cut the apples too small that they will turn into mush, but not too big either. The picture below shows about how big to cut them.
I went a little overboard in my apple cutting and quickly realized I needed a bigger pot. Yes I had quite a bit of the cooked apples left over at the end to make another smaller pie with.
Ok, found a bigger pot, now it’s time to add raisins, sugar, and a very little water. Beginning with about 1TB of water at the bottom so the apples don’t stick when you first start cooking them. The apples will release some of their natural juices quite quickly during the cooking process. The raisins soak up the liquid, and the sugar to sweeten.
75-100g sugar (3-4 heaping Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
You don’t want to cook the apples until they go to mush, only till they look glossy.
It takes around 10 minutes of cooking and stirring on low heat. Usually the raisins do a good job of absorbing the juices, but incase there’s still liquid, use a little cornstarch to thicken it. It should not be runny.
Once the apple filling is cooked, it’s time to set aside to let it cool.
While the apples are cooling, it’s a good time to work on the dough. You’ll want to thoroughly clean your countertop as this recipe is mixed without a bowl, usually directly on the countertop.
300g white flour
6g baking powder (2 Tablespoons)
Mix the baking powder and flour and sift together in a heap.
vanilla extract or rum extract
1/2 egg yellow
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon milk
In a small bowl, mix together the egg yellow, egg white, and milk. The other half egg yellow can be saved for later to paint the top of the dough with.
Make a hole in the middle of the flour/baking powder mix to dump in the egg/milk bowl contents, the vanilla extract and sugar. The room temperature butter can be broken in small bits and spread around the flour heap.
Using your hands, start from the middle and carefully work your way to kneading it into a ball of dough. Different flours have different levels of absorbency, so if your dough is too dry, add a little milk.
Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
In case the dough is too sticky, put it in the fridge for a few minutes before rolling it out. You’ll want to roll the one ball to fit the bottom of the pan like shown below. Notice the dough goes up the sides of the pan just a little.
Rolling the dough and getting it into the pan can be tricky. Here’s some helpful tips. Cut a wax or parchment paper the size of the pan. Sprinkle some flour down on the counter to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out and then stick the cut parchment paper on top of the dough and use it as a stencil to cut the dough the proper size. Carefully roll the dough and parchment paper to be able to transfer the dough into the pan and unroll it.
You don’t need to precook the bottom layer since you were careful to make sure the apples were more of a solid and not with liquid.
The cooled apple filling is placed over the bottom dough layer followed by the top rolled out layer of dough. Now is a good time to use that other half egg yellow to paint the top. It’s important to take a fork and prick the dough like shown below.
And now it’s time to get it in the oven. 350 degrees on the middle rack for about 30 minutes but really watch it, when it gets golden brown, it should be good. Since the apples have been previously cooked, it’s just a matter of the dough getting cooked.
Once the german apple pie is cooled a bit, top with icing, and serve with whipping cream. It’s so very delicious! A wonderful treat for the end of our learning activities based on “How to Make An Apple Pie And See The World.”
Printable Apple Activities
Here are several educational activities that would go along nicely with the book “How To Make An Apple Pie And See The World“: