A is for Apple
My Chehalis golden apple tree produced only six apples this year—we must have had frost during blossom time—but that was enough to make a pie. Each year when the apples ripen I make one pie and turn the rest into applesauce. Luckily, I still have applesauce left from last year’s crop.
Apple pie, that most American of desserts, is fairly easy to make, especially if you’ve mastered the technique for pie crust. You would think something made only of flour, oil, salt and water would be simple, but getting it to hold together while you roll it out and fit it into a pie pan can sometimes be a challenge. Rolling the crust between sheets of waxed paper makes the transfer much easier. For a two-crust pie you need 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon (tsp.) salt, 2/3 cup of oil and 3 tablespoons (Tbsp.) cold water. I can make a passable crust but not quite as good as my sister makes. I think her secret is using butter instead of cooking oil. If making crust intimidates you, just buy ready-made frozen crusts at the supermarket.
The rest is a cinch. Peel, core and slice the apples. Toss the apple slices with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, 1/2 cup white or brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and a sprinkling of salt. Layer the apples into the bottom crust then cover it with a top crust. Seal the crust edges by pinching it together all around. Poke a few holes in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 450 degrees for ten minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 45 minutes to one hour. You can tell it’s done if you push a knife into the pie and meet no resistance. If the crust is getting too brown, cover it with aluminum foil for the last part of the baking. Remove from the oven, cool and enjoy!
Photo credit: Tamara Muldoon