Tag Archives: gravenstein apples

Apple Pie

The apple trees are overloaded with fruit this year. Branches threaten to break under the strain of the weight. I’m sure the trees breathe a sigh of relief every time an apple falls and lightens the load. I’ve had to get out there early each morning to get the fallen apples before the rabbits do. But what am I going to do with all those apples? If I have to go to all the trouble of peeling them, I might as well get the benefit of some apple pies.

These are Gravenstein apples, great for eating, and not bad for pies. The bigger apples are still on the trees, so peeling the little ones is a bit of a pain but worth it in the end.

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I’ve peeled and cut enough apples for two pies. No point in making only one. Now I’ll mix up some brown sugar, cinnamon, and a bit of flour in a small bowl. (About two tablespoons each of the sugar and flour, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.)

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I put that into the bowl of apples and stir to coat them with the mixture.

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Now to make the crust. I use about a cup of butter with my two+ cups flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, and add a pinch of salt. Give it a few pulses with the food processor to cut the butter into the flour. SO much easier than in the old days with a pastry blender.

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Then I separate an egg and put the yolk into a cup so I can add cold water (about 1/2 cup). The egg white goes into a little dish with a splash of milk, or cream. Today I happened to have some whipping cream handy so I used that.

The egg yolk and water is added to the crumbled pastry in the food processor and this is where you have to be careful to give it only enough pulses to mix the dough so it starts to stick together.  Later, the egg white and cream gets whisked with a fork and spread on top of the pie crust just before we put it in the oven. This helps it brown. 005

I poured out the pastry, which is now in lumps, onto a board and pushed it into a ball of dough. Don’t be tempted to knead it or  do much of anything with it at this stage or you’ll end up with a pie like the first one I ever made. You had to use a chainsaw to cut it.

For two pies, I cut the dough in half. Then I cut each of those halves; one piece for the bottom of the pie plate and a smaller piece for the top. You see that one piece is slightly bigger than the other?

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Rolling out the pieces of dough with a rolling pin is not an exact science. It’s a challenge to make the pieces come out round. Doesn’t matter. The excess will later  be cut away with a knife all around the edge of the pie plate.

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Turn the oven on to 450 degrees. While it is heating up, cut slits into the top of the pie crust and then take a pastry brush and paint the top of the pie crust with the egg white and cream mixture. Put the pies into the hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes at 450, checking to make sure they don’t burn. The tops should be just starting to turn golden brown at the end of that time, which is when you turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Another 35 minutes should do it. To be sure the pies are done, I wait until I see the syrupy juice trying to bubble out through the cuts.

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At last the pies are done. I take one to the neighbours and cut myself a piece from the second pie. I sit on the deck and watch the bay for a glimpse of the Captain who is coming home soon. I know it won’t be today, but I can imagine. And I’ll soon have to bake more pie when he does come home.

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Feast or Famine

Everything seems to happen at once. We’re overloaded with fruit and nuts and then it’s over and there’s nothing – unless I dry or freeze some of it.

I thought I would show you about a third of the hazelnuts and filberts I’ve picked up and de-husked this fall, so you can see why I’m late getting anything posted on my blog lately. One problem is finding the space to dry the nuts. I used to put them on window screens balanced on my clothes drying rack and the contraption would stand in front of the woodstove downstairs until the nuts were dry. Since we have a lively puppy in our house, that option doesn’t sound so wise anymore. One bounce too many and there would be nuts all over the place, including the nuts who had to pick them up. You would have to be nuts to take a risk like that with a rambunctious puppy in the house.

So I’ve usurped the dining room table and any other surface I can find. Sorry, dear, no cookies. The cookie sheets are all in use.DSCN3826

The plums, apples, and pears are not there to dry, but only for showing off what is taking up the rest of my spare time. Washing and pitting plums, peeling and cutting pears and apples, and bagging everything in ziplocs for making cakes, muffins, and desserts later on.

Below is a photo of my favourite fruit of the whole yard, a red anjou pear. Mouthwateringly sweet and juicy!

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What a shame that with fruit it’s always a case of all or nothing. I’d love to be able to pick a pear off the tree at all different times of the year.