By Jhoanna Haynes
Baker of the Family
I was 16 years old when I attempted to bake for the first time. My mom brought home a box of used books, and the only book I found interesting had a bright orange cover and a collage of American foods I’d never eaten before, Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (General Mills) printed in 1979.
I looked for a recipe that had ingredients already in our pantry. Flour, shortening, sugar and fruit; a very American apple pie. It was magic, turning basic ingredients into this sweet baked pastry that filled the air with a delicious aroma not from a scented candle. In my family’s eyes it looked beautiful, and the taste was amazing. It instantly made me the most qualified to be the “baker of the family.”
I’ve learned to blend my family’s home cooking with the American food learned over time from cookbooks and TV. I started a bakery, Jojo Cook, to share my love of food and give others a delicious experience. No one can resist a good homemade pie or cinnamon rolls, and I’ll be sharing so much more as interest grows locally.
Pastry for two crust pie
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut to small cubes
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 egg and two tablespoons water (for egg wash at the end)
- 5 cups of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (half Granny Smith and half Cortland are my go-to)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the bottom crust, add the flour, salt and sugar into a medium bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture. Once the pieces of mixture are pea-size, add 4 tablespoons of the water and mix with a wooden spoon or tips of your fingers. Add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough holds together and is not sticky. Place the dough in plastic wrap and form into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit.
- Halve the dough. Roll out one half of the dough large enough to fit an 8-inch or 9-inch pie dish. Gently fold the rolled pastry in half and move in the dish. Cut any dough that is hanging off the sides of the dish. Use extra dough to make creative shapes (like leaves).
- For the filling, mix the filling ingredients in a medium bowl and pour into prepared pastry. Evenly spread the apple slices in the dish and press down gently.
- For the top crust, roll the 2nd half of pastry into a circle, large enough to cover the top of the pie. Place carefully and cut excess from the sides. Crimp the edges of the bottom and top pastry with a fork or fingers so it is sealed. With a knife, make slivers in the top to help the pie vent while baking. If using extra dough, place shapes around the top by the vents. Whisk the egg with the two tablespoons water and use a pastry brush to cover the top of the pie to give a nice golden brown crust.
- Bake 40 minutes. The top should be brown, and the inside should be bubbly.
Jhoanna (Jojo) Haynes, from Houston, TX, of Salvadorian and Puerto Rican parents. She moved to the Finger Lakes with her family in 2011 and spent time developing and sharing comfort food recipes with family and friends. She is the owner of Jojo Cook, a bakery in Trumansburg with operations online. Find her on Instagram @jojocookflx, @4lettersfood, and jojocookflx.com.