Jackson Pollack Book Cover
Credit: Robyn Lea

It’s rare to come across a cookbook filled with recipes you cannot wait to try and that's also a great read. The new release, Dinner With Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art and Nature (Assouline, 2015) offers both—and makes an excellent hostess gift for any summer parties you may be attending. Along with poetic photos of the famous abstract expressionist painter’s Long Island home and art studio (pictured below) are the written observations of author/photographer Robyn Lea. During a tour of the place she notices a decidedly well-loved kitchen: “I photographed pots and pans, a delicate rattan basket, Lee [Krasner, Pollock’s artist wife]’s beloved cut-glass jugs and wine goblets, and a white ceramic dove on the windowsill,” she recounts. “The evidence of daily life was everywhere—the stove, a family of wooden spoons, an eggbeater, tarnished silver cutlery, and even the kitchen sink.”

Jackson Pollack's Studio
Credit: Robyn Lea

She embarks on a journey of sorts, uncovering the couple's collection of handwritten recipes and providing a peek into the domestic life of the famously tempestuous artist. He loved, for example, to make pancakes for friends when they’d drop by, or serve clams on a summer afternoon. Pollock even won first prize at a local fair for an apple pie (below). “For Jackson, apple pie was perhaps his signature dish and he proudly shared the method with interested friends," writes Lea. "On one rainy Sunday afternoon Jackson went to friend Josephine Little’s house nearby to teach her the recipe.”

Apple Pie
Credit: Robyn Lea

Now you can give the award-winning pie—an unexpected vestige of the artist’s intriguing life—a whirl in your own kitchen.

Serves 8

For the filling:
4 lb. Granny Smith apples, or any combination of
Tart apples
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar, or less if desired
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. all-purpose flour, sifted

For the pie crust:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 level tsp. baking powder
1 level tsp. salt
1½ cups cold butter
2 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg for egg wash
½ cup cold milk, plus more as needed

To prepare the filling: Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Stew apples in a pot with a little water to cover the fruit, plus the sugar and spices, until just cooked. Chill apples in a little of the juice. When cold, sift flour over the apples and stir gently
to combine. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 450°F. To make the pie crust: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture is crumbly. Add egg yolks and mix with enough milk to make a dough. Roll out dough lightly. Place the pastry in a greased 10‑inch round pie dish, allowing pastry to overhang the edge of the pan by about 1 inch; trim away excess dough, roll it into a ball, and set aside to make the top crust. Be sure there are no cracks in the bottom crust; seal them by pressing edges together with fingers. Pour apple mixture into pie shell and distribute evenly.

For a simple top crust, roll out the remaining dough, slide the pastry sheet onto the rolling pin, and unroll it on top of the apple pie filling. Allow top crust to overhang the edge of the pan by about 1 inch; trim away excess dough, then pinch the top and bottom crusts together all around the rim to seal the pie. Prick the top crust with a fork in about a dozen places, or slice a few small openings with a knife, to allow steam to escape. Brush top pastry with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with a pinch or two of sugar.

For a more elaborate lattice-style top, roll out the remaining dough, cut into ½‑inch strips, and weave strips across the top of the filling. Brush lattice strips with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with a pinch or two of sugar.

Place the pie in the center of oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 325°F and bake 25 to 30 minutes more.