The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree

Just imagine the aroma of baked apples... 

I’ve always enjoyed fall, especially after a hot summer. The cool crisp mornings which give rise to mild sunny afternoons gives me an excuse to put on a sweater. It’s also time to dig out the soup recipes and make applesauce, baked apples and pies from those early apples of the season. Favorites like McIntosh, Paula Reds, Cortland, Jonagold, Granny Smith and honey crisp...bins and crates piled high at the farmers market. 

Apples from Rittman Orchards of Doylestown, Ohio at the Northunion Farmers Market.

Roaming an apple orchard in Delaware a few years ago at a local farm stand, I was rewarded with a small bushel of fresh crisp apples. So many apples!The local Ohio apples are some of my favorites. So many varieties including the most popular ones and some new favorites like Pristine, Sansa, Swiss Gourmet and Zestar!

Apple sauce is usually one of the first dishes I make with the fall apples—it’s been a favorite food since childhood. Simply core, peel and slice apples i(I like McIntosh) into a large saucepan. Add a little apple cider, orange juice or water to the pan. Give it a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a pinch of salt. Simmer over low heat until apples become tender—you can break them up with a spoon for a more sauce like consistency. Grate a little orange or lemon peel into the sauce, if you like. 

Enjoy it right out of a bow, spooned into oatmeal or baked into breads or cookies.

And, how about an apple pie? My favorite pie is one with a streusel topping and served warm from the oven with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A little piece of heaven on a plate. 

This deep dish pie was made with a combination of heirloom Arkansas Black and Claville Blanc apples which were generously gifted to me from a vendor at a local market a few years ago. It was probably the best apple pie I’ve ever made.

The recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and is prepared with sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, freshly grated ginger, vanilla, pinch of sea salt and a dusting of cornstarch in a homemade pate brisee crust. Sounds a little fussy, however, it’s worth making. Streusel is melted butter, oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon. 

Pâte Brisée
Makes enough for one double-crust or two single-crust 9-inch pies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed
*Cinnamon to taste (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in batter with a pastry blender.)

With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together, if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

* If using cinnamon, add to taste, with flour and salt.

Classic Apple Pie
Makes one double-crust 9-inch pie

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Pâte Brisée (see above)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
3 pounds assorted apples (such as Macoun, Granny Smith, Cortland, Jonagold, or Empire), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off the excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing it into the edges. Trim to a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Roll out remaining dish of dough in the same manner; transfer dough (on parchment) to a baking sheet. Chill pie shell and dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream; set aside egg wash. In a large bowl, toss together the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; arrange in the chilled pie shell. Dot with butter.

Brush the rim of the pie shell with egg wash. Place the second piece of dough on top, and gently press over the apples. Gently press the top and bottom pieces of dough together to seal. Using kitchen scissors, trim the top piece of dough to a 1-inch overhang all around. Tuck dough under, and crimp edge as desired. Brush the entire surface of the pie with egg wash, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Cut three vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the over to 400 degrees F, with the rack in the lower third.

Place pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet, Bake until the crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Combine baking, rotating sheet halfway through, until the crust is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling and have thickened, 40 to 50 minutes more. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely. The pie is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

Yes, I know the recipe seems long and fussy, however, the pie is worth it. Please let me know your favorite apple pie recipe.

🍎 🍏 🥧 

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