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Apple Pie

The festival of Halloween was commemorated by our National Bard, Robert Burns, in a splendid poem by that name. From his poem it is obvious that 18th century Scotland celebrated Halloween in fine fettle -
'Wi' merry sangs and frien'ly cracks
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery
Till buttered so'ens, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a steerin';
Syne wi' a social glass o' strunt
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that nicht.'

A must for any Halloween ploy is a turnip lantern, made from a large round turnip. From the top, cut off a thick slice - about a quarter of the whole - and scoop out the inside, taking care not to break the skin. The resulting "shell" should be as thin as possible, but a stump must be left at the bottom and hollowed out to serve as a socket for a candle. Carve on the "shell" a man-in the - moon face, or any devise that you wish eg skull and crossbones, and make two holes at the top to enable you to make a handle. The lantern when lit gives a soft luminous glow, and the carved face or design stands out clearly. A popular game at any Halloween Party is "Doukin fir Aipples" -  a modern reminder of a by-gone ordeal by water - a large tub of water is filled with apples and the master of ceremonies uses a spurtle ( representing a Druidic wand ) to keep the apples in constant motion. Each of the company kneels by the tub, in turn, and tries to seize an apple in their teeth without the aid of their hands. An alternative method of "catching" your apple is to have a chair placed with its back against the tub and to kneel on the chair and attempt to spear your apple. Any apple taken by mouth or fork is yours to eat! If you fail to catch your apple, never fear, for traditionally there is always a large apple pie for the company to consume. Here is F Marian McNeill's Halloween Apple Pie recipe for you to bake and enjoy.
Apple Pie
Wash enough good cooking apples to fill your pie dish; then peel and core them and cut into thick chunks. Simmer the peelings and cores in a saucepan with a tumbler of water for half an hour; then strain and cool. Mix with the sugar a little grated lemon rind, a pinch of ground nutmeg, cinnamon or cloves, and a pinch of salt. Pile the apples in a round pie dish making them high in the centre, and sprinkling spiced sugar between each layer. Pour the cold apple liquor over all. Cover with good short pastry rolled out to quarter inch thick, making a hole in the centre, and decorate with a border of pastry apple leaves, leaving the domed centre plain. Brush with beaten egg or milk. Put into a hot oven, but when the crust begins to brown, lower the heat to cook the apples. An hour, in all, should be ample. Serve with cream or creamy custard.

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