I have lived in the same house since I was four years old (minus the years I spent at college and in China). One of my favorite things about this house is the outside. There is a pretty sizable yard in which we often see some fun wildlife. And I love the two apple trees. One is in the backyard (which I used to climb, badly, when I was younger and there were three huge branches for balance), and the one in the side yard right outside my bedroom window (pictured left). Every year they produce apples but 9 years out of 10 they only get eaten by deer, the dogs, random people who ask if they can take some for their family/animals, and the lawnmower. This year the side tree actually produced some pretty decent apples and my dad gave me the challenge/assignment to bake a pie using apples from our tree.
I collected a good amount from the tree, peeled and sliced them, constantly spritzing the bowl of slices with some lemon juice to try and prevent them from turning. I had to cut out a few bad spots, but by and large the apples were lovely. I used my absolute favorite pie crust recipe, and I think this will be the pie crust recipe I use forever. I used to have such trouble with crusts but this one is wonderful. I usually add a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon just for a little extra flavor. I had a lot of fun with the crust, doing lattice work, which I think I am getting quite good at! It's so much fun to do and actually not that hard. It's weaving...with food! How cool is that?
I was sure to get a nice before and after baking picture. I brushed the crust with some egg and butter for the nice shine, then a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. If you are wondering what the whitish-yellow lumps are right under the surface of the lattice work, it's butter. I used a recipe one time for pie that said to put some little chunks of butter right on top under the top layer and I've done it ever since. I'm not sure what it's supposed to do, but it's just habit now.
How pretty does that look? I honestly think a big reason I started this blog is so I finally have a place to put the pictures of the food I cook... The smell of this pie baking on the first official Saturday of fall was heavenly (oh no! I just revealed that this post took a while to post!). I just wish I had thought ahead and gotten some vanilla bean ice cream to go with it.
The apple slices were tossed with a mixture of sugar, flour, ground cloves and cinnamon. I can't remember the exact recipe I used and I really wish I could. Although I have the perfect pie crust dialed in now, often when I bake pie the filling is rather soupish. Delicious, yes, but in my mind a pie when cut should for the most part hold it's shape. Which is what this pie did! I was so excited I took a picture of the cross-section. Hopefully I can find this Goldilocks recipe balance again the next time I make pie. Sometimes being an impulsive cook has it's drawbacks. Magic is hard to recreate.
P.S. It was delicious. Apples that go from tree to finished pie in less that 2 hours is pretty spectacular.