There's something about autumn that gets me every year. The colors. New smells. The cooler, crisper air. The warm thoughts of holidays to come. A new season of baking.
I made my annual trek to the apple orchard two weeks ago, which means my kitchen will smell like apples for the next month. Here is last year's adventure and once again I returned from the orchard with over 20 pounds of Stayman Winesaps. A side note: I encourage you to try your hand at canning and stock your cabinets with apple butter. It will make you smile on the darkest and coldest of January days.
An apple pie is a fall essential. Make at least one, whether it's for a regular Sunday dinner or an addition to your Thanksgiving meal. I've used this particular recipe several times and have always been satisfied. I've managed to get away without using cornstarch and I'm convinced that draining and saving the spicy syrup makes all the difference.
Meet one of the greatest kitchen tools, the apple peeler-corer-slicer. If you find yourself making many apple-filled recipes, I suggest investing in one of these. Not only is it fun to cover your kitchen counter in apple peal spaghetti, you won't believe how fast you can peal and slice your apples. After running your apples through this machine, you simply run a knife through the slices to cut them in half.
Boiling down the juices of the apples and a lemon, along with spices and sugar, make this recipe extra special.
Use whichever pie crush you feel comfortable with. A store-bought crust will work just fine, just be sure to have both a bottom and top crust. If you have a favorite, stand-by pie crust recipe, use it. Here are some recipes I recommend if you don't:
Willow Bird Baking
Honey & Jam
I find myself most often crimping the edges of my pie but feel free to be as artistic as you feel comfortable. I have a set of small cookie cutters that I used to cut small maple leaves for decoration. Be sure to attach any decoration with water or an egg wash to ensure sticking.
Classic Apple Pie
2 1/2 lb. apples (about 6-7 apples)
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. raw sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
2 T. Earth Balance
1 T. flour
Homemade or store-bought pie crust
Preheat your oven to 425°.
Line your pie dish with your bottom pie crust. Peal, core, and cut apples into 1/4 in. thick slices. Mix apples, lemon juice, sugars, and spices in a bowl and let sit for an hour.
Drain the juice into another bowl and set aside. Layer apple slices in your pie shell until you reach the top of the pan.
Heat juice on medium-high heat with 2 T. Earth Balance. Boil down to a syrup while swirling, but be careful not to stir. Pour the mixture over the apples in your pie dish. Cover your pie with your top crust, pinch the edges together, and decorate if desired. Optional: brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg.
Bake pie on lowest rack for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Cover the edges of your pie with foil half way through baking to prevent burning.