Everyone is going out, picking apples, driving way to slow, endangering people in traffic while gawking at folliage, wearing colorfull layers of red and brown and orange and green, drinking ginger infused hot cider like it was the elixor of life, eating all things spiced, mulled, baked and pickled - sitting out in the fading light, bundled against the chill, smoking cigarettes and talking of a year past and the long winter ahead - and yeah, i'm one of them.
I baked my first apple pie this week, i've had a hand in a few in the past, but this one was all me, i went into it with a critics eye; apple pie has never been my #1 pie, i've always had a few criticisms of apple pie, mostly that they were too sweet, and too mushy. The two things about apples i like the most is that they're crisp and tart, so i wanted to make sure those qualities survived the pie-ification process - so i reduced the amount of sugar i used, and mostly used brown sugar when i did use it, (organic, if anyone cares... i don't particularly.)The Apples i used were Empires, which were very crisp, and a tartness that falls somewhere between a granny smith and a macintosh, good eatin apples, but not bad for baking either.
For the crust i used vegi shortening, combined with a bit of butter... i'm a butter boy, there's nothing that butter and maple surup can't make better, unless it's diabetes or heart disease. Flour, a bit of salt, icewater, simple really... i decided on one bottom crust - and a special top.
I was raised on maple... there's nothing it can't be used in, and in this case i used it to make my top crust, a oatmeal maple pecan crust; about 1 1/2 cup of crushed pecans, 1/2 cup of maple surup, 1/4 brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups oatmeal 3 tbsp of butter (oh yeah...) all hand mixed and layered over the apple filling.
Bake at 375 for... i don't remember, maybe 1 1/2 hours. Yum... the apples still have a bit of crispness, and their tartness is still there, but with added woodiness of cinamon, nutmeg, and allspice... compliments the crispy sweet chewiness of the top crust and buttery flakeyness of the bottom...
The rest of the weekend was wonderfull as well, lots of sunlight and relaxation - my first sitting instruction at the shambhala center saturday morning, lunch and park bench sitting with JB and Mike, apple picking, trespassing, and The Cos, w/ Eva and Margot. what more could a boy want?