I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I adore taking Brody out in the morning and feeling a bit of a chill in the air, wearing sweaters for the first time in months, and sleeping with the windows open. Best of all, I can bake all day without turning my tiny house into a sweat lodge. It’s fantastic.
Last Monday, my friend R and her baby, C came apple picking with me. (Is there anything on Earth cuter than pictures of babies propped up in crates of pumpkins and gourds? I say no.) Sadly, the trees were picked over to say the least. With such beautiful weather, everyone had been out apple picking over the weekend. Between the two of us, we only came away wth 15 Golden Delicious apples. The Jonathan apple trees were completely bare. It was crazy.
Luckily, I found enough apples to suit my purpose – baking pies! I have been craving apple pie (and pie dough) for WEEKS. Since pie making can be a time consuming process, I had to wait till this weekend to get to it. First, I tried a recipe for hand pies that was…interesting. Not bad, but not what I was looking for. I chalked those up to experience and decided to bring them to work on Monday.
Last night was a late one for me. I got to baby-sit C for the first time. Initially, things were rocky – she freaked the second she realized Mom was gone and was inconsolable for a bit. Somehow I blocked my years as a nanny and managed to be completely shocked by how loud a three month old can get when she’s mad.
After feeding (trying, anyway…not sure what the stomach to bib ratio was for that bottle), changing, burping, rocking and singing to her, I was starting to worry that I’d somehow broken my friend’s baby and how the HECK would I explain that one? After again determining that all of her needs were met, I decided to do one of the things I do best – talk. I turned the TV on mute to see if the lights would distract her, laid her down on the bed, plopped myself down next to her and started telling her about all the cool things I’m going to teach her to bake. I rubbed her tummy while I went on and on about different kinds of cupcakes, buttercream frosting, snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies, and pie. Mmmmm….pie. I was still DYING for pie. I have a feeling that C is going to enjoy baking – she quieted right down and spent the rest of the night waving her arms and legs around, giggling and squealing with delight. It was great. Nothing beats a smiley, snuggly baby. The Dude even talked to her for a few minutes and it was completely adorable.
Anyway, pie was still on my mind when Brody woke me up this morning. After throwing together a bacon and scrambled egg soft taco thing, I got to work.
In anticipation of my pie adventures, I picked up a pastry blender at the grocery store. You want to know what you get with a $3 pastry blender? About two minutes of blending before the handle snaps and the wires go flying and knock butter everywhere.
I meant to take more pictures of the whole dough making process, but I was covered in flour and kind of in the zone. Pie dough is kind of new to me and I’ve heard that it’s something that people can struggle with, so I was psyched when it came together. I was also completely thrilled that I managed to successfully roll the dough out and get it positioned in the pie pans on the first try! Since I really don’t need a whole apple pie to myself, (really, I don’t…my trainer would murder me with squats) I decided to make a few small pies to give to friends. Luckily, the recipe for a 9-inch double crust pie was perfect for three 5-inch double crust pies. I kind of winged it on the filling, and it was delightful.
I think the rolling pin might have alarmed Brody a bit because he spent this portion of the afternoon hiding under the table.
The little pies came out of the oven looking like an absolute dream. It was all I could do to keep myself from face-planting into one and imitating a pie eating contest participant.
Hello, lover. Just look at that golden, buttery, sugar-dusted goodness!
After waiting an appropriate amount of time for the pies to cool, I cut myself a tiny piece and dug in. Apple Pie Heaven! It was everything I hoped it would be.
Somehow, I managed to limit myself to one teeny piece. That’s all. See how tiny and cute it is? It barely counts as a dessert. And…and…and…fruit! There’s fruit! That totally makes it healthy. Plus, I went to the gym shortly after eating it and an hour of cardio surely burned it all off. If you see my trainer, please tell her I’m being good(ish).
Tomorrow, the other two pies will be making their way to good homes. One is going to A and her little family. The other is going to S, who is expecting and clearly needs special treats for the baby. I like sharing the baking love as much as I like actually making everything!
What do you want me to make for you?
Butter Pie Crust
from Land O\’Lakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
4-5 tablespoons cold water
2-3 tablespoons of cream or milk, for brushing over the top
sugar to sprinkle over the tops of each pie
*Combine flour and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water to just moisten the flour
*Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Flatten each ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Apple Pie Filling
7 apples, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly
For three 5-inch pies:
* Divide the dough into six equal pieces and roll into balls. Try not to eat too much. Flatten one ball slightly and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll out evenly. Place the rolling pin on the edge of the dough and gently roll the dough around it to easily transport it to the pie pan. Repeat two more balls of dough. Once positioned in the pie dish, trim around the edges so that the dough just reaches the edge.
* Fill each of the pans with the sliced apple mixture. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
* Roll out the remaining three pieces of dough and use the rolling pin to pick them up the same way. Place each rolled out piece of dough over one of the pie dishes and trim around the edges. Seal the top and bottom crusts by smashing them together however you like – make a pretty pattern with a fork, or just flute it with your fingers. Cut a few slits in the top of each pie.
* Brush the top of each pie with cream or milk and sprinkle sugar over them.
* Wrap foil around the edges of each pie to keep the crust from burning. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Take off the foil for the last five minutes.
Try to wait for the pie to cool a little and dig in! Serve it warm, serve it cold…just eat some pie already!