The Simpsons aired its 636th episode this past Sunday, breaking Gunsmoke’s record for most episodes of a scripted primetime series. The historic episode featured Homer Simpson’s memories of his mother’s apple pie recipe, which belongs to none other than Evan Kleiman! Here’s our Q&A with Evan on how the whole thing went down.
How’d it happen?
I ended up meeting longtime Simpsons’ producer Richard Sakai in Italy, pretty randomly. I ended up catering several parties at his house, including Thanksgiving and Simpsons writing staff poker game nights.
But the idea to use my recipe didn’t actually come from Richard. The idea first came up in the notes session, following a cast read of the episode. Creator Jim Brooks thought it would be a fun Easter egg to show an actual pie recipe during the montage. Jim is also a fan of Good Food, so he suggested we ask if I’d be interested providing a recipe.
But when I got the email through KCRW asking if I’d like to contribute a pie recipe to the show I thought it was a prank. I almost didn’t answer!
Do you watch The Simpsons?
I’ve been a fan of the show forever. Way back in the early ’80s, I remember an art exhibit Matt Groening had in the hair salon above my restaurant Angelli Cafe on Melrose. There’s a tattoo parlor there now. That might have even been pre-Simpsons!
What’s the story behind the recipe?
Apple Pie is my favorite childhood pie and I’ve been tinkering with my recipe for it since I was a teenager. I really focused on getting it where I wanted it to be when I shot a video for Craftsy, which is a huge teaching platform. I continue to make the pie a few times a year and always eat it for breakfast or for dinner! Not dessert, actual dinner because why waste calories on something leading up to what I really want?
The public side of my engagement with food, besides my restaurant-based work, has always seemed so fortuitous and random. I’ve written a handful of books, taught countless classes, and had a great time doing so. But having this recipe featured on The Simpsons is the apotheosis of random and one of the coolest things to happen in my career so far.
For more baking/cooking/life tips from Evan Kleiman, visit her website.
Evan Kleiman’s Apple Pie
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb butter
1 Tbsp vinegar
Splash of cream
3 Golden Delicious apples
3 Granny Smith or Pippin apples
3 Whatever (except Macintosh)
Combine dry ingredients: Mix flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon together in a box. This will be your flour mixture.
Begin the crust: Cut 1 lb of cold butter into 16 pieces. Toss w/flour to coat. Rub butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips or with a pastry cutter. When mixture looks like crumble of different sizes from peas to almonds it is ready for water.
Add moisture to the crust: Add 1 Tbsp vinegar to 1 cup ice cold water and drizzle over the butter/flour mixture. Toss like a salad. Bring the wet mess together, kneading it twice, into a puck (flat ball) and cut in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight (if possible).
Prepare the apples: Peel the apples and cut the flesh off the cores. Cut the apple into 3/8″ slices. Put in bowl. Add brown sugar to taste, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Toss to mix. Add 3 Tbsp flour to thicken the filling and toss to coat the apple slices.
Build your pie: Roll 1 piece of dough out and line 9″ glass pie pan. Fill it with the apples. Roll out the other piece of dough and top the apples with it. Trim the top and bottom crusts together so you can have 1″ overhang. Roll the overhang under so it sits on the lip of the pie pan. Crimp the edge into a pretty design by pinching the dough. Cut 4 symmetrical slits into the top crust. Brush it with beaten egg with a splash of cream.
Bake: Allow pie to bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 20 minutes. Turn down heat to 375 degrees and bake another 40 minutes or until the apples are tender when poked with a fork.