Pie And Fall!
Welcome October so far you are looking fabulous. It is difficult to believe that we are down to the last three months of the year. This is such a fun time here in Virginia. It is such a treat to experience the seasons. The glory of the slowly changing leaves, the bounty of the harvest, the spicy flavor of pumpkin pie, or the medicinal effect of the cooling temps. Then if that is not great enough the month winds down with the frivolity of Halloween. This Halloween we will be passing out sparkle glue in the place of treats.
Last year our non-edible treats were a huge hit so we are bringing them back this Halloween. That way children with food allergies can take part.We got feedback from the kids on our street that they loved getting something that wasn’t candy. Around home we will perhaps be enjoying a popcorn ball or two. After living most of my life in Southern California, San Diego to be exact it is so fantastic to see the trees changing. The peak foliage is on it’s way here in Virginia and I can hardly wait. Over the weekend we took a peak over at a local lake here and it has already gotten started.
Currently peak foliage is scheduled for the 15-20 of this month. That tends to change a bit depending on the weather. This is the first proper fall weather we have had in years. Glorious states of red, yellow, and orange will grace all views here. Just like the little red tree above apparently getting a jump start. Plus we got to discover a Civil War relic adjacent to the lovely lake view.
That bridge was a crucial supply line to Union troops and was cut off multiple time by the Confederacy circa 1863. Virginia has Civil War History everywhere here. Nearly all of course dealing with the Confederacy as there headquarters were located in Richmond, Virginia.
Our little food blog is all about cooking and baking with the seasons. Apples are a fantastic fall fruit. So versatile in taste and possibilities. When it comes to the holidays they make a fab substitute if you don’t like pumpkin. Apple Crumb Pie is a classic recipe. It has a crumble topping, apples seasoned just so, and a buttery crust. Apples are a signature crop grown in the Yakima Valley of Washington State still home to my Father and Step-Mother. They have apple orchards within minutes of their home. Last time I visited was during the apple harvests and a farmer/inventor had created a apple picker machine that was throwing apples in to the air instead of the basket. We are assuming he took his invention back to the drawing board.
This apple pie has an extra step to ensure that the apples are properly cooked for the end result. I recommend not to skip this part. This pie would be fabulous this Thanksgiving. Hopefully the pilgrims would approve.
Dutch Apple Pie
The extra step of gently cooking the apples first is well worth the extra few minutes of preparation. The apples become almost caramelized and the flavor and texture is amazing.
Single pie crust
8 cups apple slices, sprinkled with juice of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp. butter
1/4 – 2/3 cup sugar (white or brown, or a combination of both)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. tapioca flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
2 Tbsp. apple cider or rum
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. cold butter, cut in chunks
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Prepare pie crust according to directions and place in 9-inch deep dish pie pan. Crimp edges and set aside.
Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, tapioca flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. allspice. Melt 4 Tbsp. butter, add sugar mixture and stir until combined. Add cider or rum and vanilla, and bring to a boil. Turn to medium heat and add apples, tossing gently to coat. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool while preparing the topping.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder and salt. With pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is coarse and some pea-sized pieces of butter remain. Stir in chopped pecans.
Transfer apple mixture to pie shell, then spread with crumb topping. Place pie pan on large cookie sheet to catch drips and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more. Cover with foil when crust and topping begin to brown.
Pie Crust for Double Crust Pie
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup solid shortening, like Crisco (frozen and cut into chunks)
10 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks
6-7 Tbsp. ice water
Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse until well combined. Add shortening and pulse 3-4 times. Add chunks of butter and pulse until mixture is crumbly, with some pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. (Take care not to pulse too many times. The larger pieces of butter will result in a flakier pie crust.)
With food processor running add 6 Tbsp. ice water. Add one more Tbsp. if needed for the dough to come together.
Place on floured surface and gently mold into smooth round ball. With rolling pin, roll into a circle, large enough to fit the pie pan with about 1/2 inch extending over the edge of the pan. Crimp edges and fill with your favorite fruit filling. Bake according to directions.