An online bake sale for justice on Juneteenth

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Rose Petal Pie from Birdie G's, a Santa Monica restaurant that will be participating in the online bake sale. Photo by Lindsey Huttrer.

On June 19, LA bakers and pastry chefs will come together — virtually, from their kitchens — for an online bake sale called Pies for Justice

Proceeds from the bake sale will go to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles and The Gathering for Justice.

The date has a special meaning. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger of the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to demand that slaves be set free. Texas was one of the last states where slavery endured, despite President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Following Granger’s announcement, the formerly enslaved African Americans broke into celebration and exercised their new rights by buying land across Texas.

Today that celebration, known as Juneteenth, is said to be the oldest Black American holiday.

Chefs from The Rose Cafe Venice, Gjusta, n/naka, Valerie Echo Park, and many others are participating, including KCRW’s Evan Kleiman.

“We talk about food being a catalyst for understanding and for good, and this is a way people can do good while eating well,” she says.

Evan’s Basic Apple Pie

If apples aren’t making a seasonal appearance at the farmers markets, I use a mixture of tart, firm, sweet and yielding apples like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious and Pink Lady or Fuji. I love the taste of brown sugar in a pie, but if you prefer more sweetness and less butterscotch flavor, use white sugar. You can also experiment by using maple syrup or palm sugar for sweetness.

7 to 9 apples, mixed varieties, peeled to yield approximately 8 cups sliced apples
Brown or white cane sugar to taste (from ¼ to ¾ cup)
½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
3- 4 tablespoons flour (amount depends on juiciness of apples)

Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place a baking sheet to catch pie juices on the rack. Preheat the oven to 425º.

Peel the apples. Cut apple flesh off the cores. Turn apple pieces cut side down and cut into 3/8” thick slices. Put apple slices in a large bowl. Taste the apples. Notice that they are already a little sweet. Decide how much sweeter you want them. Add sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time until they taste good to you.  

Add the cinnamon, lemon juice and salt and mix. If you want, you can let the apples macerate either in the refrigerator or at room temperature for half an hour or so to let the juices collect and the apples soften. After half an hour, mix the juice back into the apples. Now add the flour mixing after each addition. You just want enough so that you feel the flour hold the juices together. Mix well.

Place the dressed apples in a prepared pie pan lined with dough. Pack the apples in well, moving apple slices around so they fill all the empty spaces. This is key to not having an empty space between apples and crust in the finished pie. Drape the chilled top crust over the apples. Trim the crust then fold and crimp the edges. Cut vents into the top dough. If the dough is very cold out of the refrigerator or freezer, wait a few minutes until it becomes pliable enough to work without breaking.

Put the pie on the baking sheet that’s been preheating along with the oven.

Bake at 425º for 20 minutes, then lower the oven to 375º and continue to cook another 20 to 40 minutes, or until apples are tender when pierced through the vent with a paring knife, or until thickened juices bubble out of the vents. If the top or edge of the pie begins to brown deeply too soon, loosely drape foil over the areas at risk and return to the oven.

Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool off before eating. Best made at night and eaten for breakfast.