Have you ever had the experience of sauntering out your back door to pick apples for making a homemade apple pie? It is a divine, sublime, and most intoxicating experience.
The first time I was a party to that little miracle was at a friend’s house when I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech. The apples were small, and not so pretty to look at, but tart and firm, perfect for a pie. Of course we had no idea what kind they were and when I asked my friend, she grinned and looked at me and said, “they’re pie apples, because that’s what we’re going to make with them!”
Apple pie is so simple to make, particularly if you buy the crust. The filling is peeled apple slices, brown sugar, spices, and some lemon juice, all tossed well. Almost sounds like a salad.
If you buy the crusts, which usually come in pairs, your pie preparation time is only limited by how quickly you can peel your apples. Mound the filling high and crown it with a golden crust. I love it when pies are lumpy and misshaped; they look so homey and seem to scream, “Eat Me Now!”
For me, warm pie deserves homemade whipped cream, which I have been making from scratch since I was 9 years old (one of the first things my father taught me). The only mystery is what do “stiff peaks” look like; mystery solved. Behold stiff peaks!
Easy Apple Pie
4 lbs pie apples (Golden Delicious, Pippin, Granny Smith, Gala are all good choices),
peeled, cored and cut into 10 slices per apple
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg (or ground)
1/2 teaspoon allspice OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 pie crusts, defrosted (or make hot water pastry dough)
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and spices and mix well. Add apple slices and toss well to combine; drizzle lemon juice over all. Mound apple mixture in 1 pie crust, making a peak in the middle. Place second crust on top and carefully dislodge from pan and press edges together to seal; use a fork to ensure seal. Cut several steam hole in top of pie and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees and then turn oven down to 375 and bake an additional 40 minutes. Cool for 2-3 hours to serve at room temperature or cool 20 minutes to serve warm.
Homemade Whipped Cream
1 12 oz carton whipping (heavy) cream
2 tablespoons sugar (substitute honey or agave nectar)
1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
Chill a large metal bowl, metal beaters in freezer for at least 30 minutes before whipping cream. Pour cream into chilled bowl and beat cream on high for 2-3 minutes, until cream begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Serve. (makes enough for 2 pies)
Recipes currently inspiring me: