A Taste Tripping Cooking Class: Apple Pie 101 with Christan Miller

Almost fresh out of the gate this is our second class at my new Culinary Cooking School: Taste Tripping! The first class (Greek Escapes) I was teaching and the pictures are flour covered and blurry! So disappointing as the gals from that class were looking forward to them as much as I, I am sure! However, round two found Christan Miller at the help and myself in the roles of Chef Sous, hostess (hopefully “extraordinaire”) and photographer. What a fun Saturday morning!

Scroll through the photos to capture the mood and the cooking class facility.

The first class I had six lovely gals frolicking in my kitchen with a few “Opas!” as we worked our way through Olive Oil Flat Bread and four Greek Dips. My daughter requested this class for her and some colleagues. Christan attended and LeQuan also attended as well as a colleague of mine whom I had not yet met, another foods teacher, Joan, attended. She and I will definitely do more sharing. LeQuan has already made the Olive Oil Bread on her own since and sent me a photo! Incredible! I should have issued the Jamie Oliver Challenge: you teach two people and they each teach two and they each teach two, and so on! Wouldn’t it be a blast to see what the fourth or fifth group would actually be making? I have to praise my students. Everyone of them accomplished all aspects of the class with flying colours and left with a little package of delectable dips with a lovely flat bread for their Saturday night.

This class I had four lovely gals making a Canadian Heritage dish: apple pie. There is nothing like the experience of baking together and getting to know how to do something first hand! Ming reads my blog! (I was so excited! I could talk to her about so many things and she knew all about them! She was so lovely! My children don’t even read my work and they are why I started it! It was wonderful to meet her. Her friend Edyta came and made the very first apple pie she had ever made in her life! Yes, she is the one that created a new tradition in apple pie making: the happy face! Melissa had come to the leaf lard Pastry Tasting dinner and it was so lovely to meet her mother at this class. Guess what? Her mother also reads my blog! I can tell I have so much to learn from her in the area of traditional Italian cooking! I am still warmed by the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with Christan at this class.

Why was Christan teaching the class instead of me? Three reasons:

  1. I have severe asthma and have found I cannot get through a class comfortably for myself and my students (I will be teaching the occasional class because I love to, but I cough far too much)
  2. The purpose of this business is to preserve the traditions of our past through the teachings of our elders and to enable collaboration of people with a talent to share it with those who want to learn. (So, now’s the time to let me know about your talent!)
  3. I met Christan (story here) and made pies with her (story here) and she had a very sensible and authentic way of making pies that I valued and that was definitely worthy of sharing. I do not make my pies the same way, but she has changed the way I make my pies. Thus, she was the perfect person to teach one of my classes!

Remember: you will learn the process of how to make what we are teaching. The taste, or how you change the ingredients to please your palate will always be a part of every class.

Testimonials from Cooking Classes can be read here.

What is next?

THIS SATURDAY is Allan Suddaby teaching Sausage Making. He is a chef at Jack’s Grill people! (I cannot believe there are still spaces left in his class.) What a perfect way to spend your Valentine Saturday evening! You take home what you make and have a lot of fun doing it!

The Real Miller’s Apple Pie Recipe

Ingredients for the Pastry:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 lb lard (I usually use Tenderflake)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • cold water

Instructions for the Pastry:

  1. Measure flour into bowl; add the lard into the middle
  2. With your hands, work the flour into the lard until it resembles coarse oatmeal
  3. In a 1 cup measure, combine salt, vinegar and egg; add water to make 1 cup
  4. Evenly pour the liquid over the lard mixture; add only enough water to make the dough cling together
  5. Gather dough into a ball and divide into 6 portions (wrap unused portions and refrigerate or freeze for later)
  6. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface; if dough is sticking, chill for 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 8-9 Granny Smith apples per pie (they must be Granny Smith)
  • 1/8  ““ 1/4Cup brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter (in 6 teaspoon portions)

Instructions for the Filling:

  1. Peel and core the apples: slice into a large bowl ensuring no core or peeling is included
  2. Add brown sugar a tablespoon at a time, mixing well together; using the “œreal Miller” taste test, taste an apple slice to determine is you have the right amount of sugar: when you have the right amount, you can no longer tell if the apples are tart or sweet (they are “œjust right”!)
  3. Sprinkle on cinnamon until the apples are well covered (start with a tablespoon); mix in well: it should taste like cinnamon without overpowering the apples (another taste test)
  4. Mix in approximately 2 tablespoons of flour (to start); this must be adjusted depending how juicy the apples are, more juice = more flour and visa-versa (look to see how much juice is in the bottom of the apple after you mix in the first two tablespoons; if there is still a lot, you will need more)

Pie Assembly Ingredients and Instructions:

  • Milk
  • White sugar
  1. Put bottom pastry into the pie plate by rolling it on top of the rolling pin, or by folding it into quarters
  2. Fill with apple filling, shaking down until the apples are settled
  3. Add butter on top of the apple filling
  4. Brush the outside of the pastry with milk to “œglue” the top and bottom together
  5. Put on the top pastry and pinch the two together around the edge; cut off the excess dough
  6. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with white sugar for a finished shine
  7. Vent the crust with fork holes, or use a knife to make designs in the top crust
  8. Bake for 1 hour at 350°F and then for another 1/2hour at 325°F
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired

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Register for Allan Suddaby’s Sausage Making Class February 12th in the evening: a really fun friend or partner’s night out! VALENTINE’S Saturday!

Register for: Kevin Kossowan’s Big Game Tasting and Cooking Demonstration Lunch February 26, 2011 at 11am

Register for:BénéGamier’s French Tart Class: Sweet and Savoury SUNDAY, March 6, 2011 at 8:30 am

NEW: The Niagara on the Lake Culinary Wine Tour and Cooking Class Itinerary is now up: CHECK OUT THE HOT ITINERARY!!!

Watch for Culinary Tour and Trips for September to Paris and locally!


    • Valerie says

      Anna! I will post the recipe! Absolutely. I have my recipes on the site already – but, how did I not post this process. I will revise the post to add it immediately.

  1. says

    So many exciting things coming up Valerie. I was so hoping the culinary tour would be in July since I will already be in Ontario for my neice’s wedding. I am planning so many culinary journeys while I am there!

    • Valerie says

      You must let me know what you are planning when you go to Ontario and what your discoveries are!

    • Valerie says

      Teacher Cooks:
      I do love my kitchen and when we planned the house 91/2 years ago now (we moved in a year later….) the idea of cooking classes didn’t even cross my mind, but it is a perfect kitchen for them!

  2. says


    So glad the class went well for you and Christan. So glad you were able to take lots of pictures this time and have them turn out good. Love that picture of everyone waving. Haha. Look at all those happy faces, even the pie was smiling ;-). I’ll have to say, those were pretty huge and full pies. Congrats to you and Christan on another successful class.

    By the way, I made my second olive oil flatbread already and even made cookies with K and L yesterday. See how you’ve inspired me to bake? Love, love, loving it so much. I’ll send you the pic later. I promise, last pic as I know I’ll be making many more of these breads. Oh, and about teaching two others, I’m going to (try to) teach my mom and mom in-law. Them listening is another story. Lol. Chat later after the kiddies have been taken care of. Oh the life of a mom 😀

    • Valerie says

      LQ: Use the sugar cookie recipe to make heart shaped cookies – use the same icing recipe, but leave out the orange and colour it pink. Make Valentine Sandwich cookies with lots of heart shaped sprinkles and HAVE FUN!

  3. says

    O that looks like so much fun Valerie!! I just came back from holiday (yes, it was three weeks!!lol) and have missed checking out your blog. It looks I missed quite a bit too!

  4. says

    How fun, everyone looks like they are learning and enjoying their time..Valerie the classes are a hit! I hope you are feeling better, I love the layout of your kitchen, so open and fresh! Thanks for the lovely email, with the weather we were with out power, I had my little sister submit my post and close comments! have a great week!

  5. says

    This is just too fun! I so wish I could join you guys. I can only imagine the laughter and the smells that emanated from the kitchen. In my book, there is nothing better than apple pie, and I’m so glad you shared this recipe. Thanks for always making me smile with your words, photos and recipes. I hope that your Wednesday is full of joy!

  6. Susan says

    Once you learn how to make a great apple pie you have arrived! I learn so much from you and always look forward to a moment when I can try out some of your recipes or suggestions. I’d like to see you make a blueberry pie next.

    • Valerie says

      Actually, I made Saskatoon pies to post earlier in the year, and the photos were not great, so am looking forward to the next time I make them (I grow them and have them in my freezer) and I will post that just for you! We don’t grow blueberries here, so I have never made or eaten a blueberry pie. It would be made the same way as a Saskatoon pie, and there is NOTHING as delicious as a Saskatoon pie. Saskatoon’s are native to Canada and absolutely delicious!

      • Susan says

        Keep me coming back for more Valerie! I’ll be there for your Saskatoon post for sure.To have them in your backyard–YUM!

  7. says

    I heard of Saskatoons for the first time on Dragon’s Den, of all places! I’d be very curious to taste them, but have never seen them in the stores in these parts. Great kitchen! So much space to work in. I’m thinking of redesigning my kitchen… one day. Great looking pies too! So big! So much apple filling! They look scrumptious! I prefer to use butter in my dough recipe. But I also use Robin Hood Nutri flour, which has some whole wheat in it. It gives the dough a slightly darker hue and nuttier taste. Not as heavy as I first thought it would be.

    • Valerie says

      Great suggestions, Nadine!
      I have used butter, too, but honestly – and you may find this odd, I find it too rich! (Isn’t that a hoot compared to lard!) I love the flavour of it! However, lard is heritage pastry around here, thus lard it was. I love the idea of adding some whole wheat flour to the pastry. YUM!!! When I make a batch of Saskatoon jam remind me to send you a jar. I am not kidding.

  8. says

    This class sounds like so much fun! Everyone looks like they’re having a GREAT time. And you picked the perfect recipe to make…nothing tastes as good as a warm apple pie.

  9. says

    I LOVE these pictures, Valerie! They totally capture the spirit of the day. What fun you all must’ve had. I love going to my cooking club for this very reason – making delicious things with marvy people who love and savor and enjoy. :-)

  10. says

    This is fantastic! And somuch fun – look at all those beaming faces and what a great great way to spend the day. I am going to come back for this recipe since Hubby says he does not like Apple pie and I am determined to change his mind!

    You’re off to a great start!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  11. Ruth says

    Hi, Just had to post after I saw the smiley face pie. My sister and I used to put all sorts of differnt designs in the pie tops just because we could. We had an apple tree in the backyard and pie making day was always in the last parts of August. The whole family was involved. It started Dad and kids picking apples, washing them and while we were doing that, Mom made all the pastry. Then it was to the assembly line with cutting and coring apples and having our hands wrinkle with lemon juice. Mom would roll the pastry and in would go apples and cinnamon sugar. Mom would always cut boring slits going out from the centre, so one year my sister and I took over that job and started making fun shapes. I loved putting in butterflies and ladybugs. Then they would be baked and packed and frozen for eating all winter! I still cut interesting shapes into my pie tops!

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