I suppose December is a tad late to be talkin’ apples, but this past Sunday we were brought a peck full of fugi’s and two bottles of our favorite Apple Hill Cider by Scott’s mom. Every December weekend she helps out a close family friend at their Christmas Tree Farm, Harris Tree Farm, up in the California foothills. It’s gorgeous up there, if you haven’t already found the perfect tree, I suggest you head up there this weekend! Inside this barn below you’ll find all sorts of goodies including bags of apples, cider, homemade jam and tamales served pipin’ hot. It’s the perfect holiday experience. A mountainous drive, a little snow on the ground, the smell of evergreens and warm cider and tamales in the barn. You might even see my mother in law there!
For those of you who’ve seen this Rainbow Orchard cider at the Marin Farmer’s market, that’s owned by the same family as well. It’s delicious!
Apples are a passionate topic among members of Scott’s family, especially when it comes to apple pie. Scott’s mom grew up on a good sized ranch in the Sierra Foothills that had an apple orchard with all sorts of varieties of apples. With so many apples, you can see why apple pie baking soon became a competitive affair amongst family members. So it goes as no surprise that Scott won the Pie Baking Contest at the Sonoma Garden Park’s Harvest Fair in October. I had no doubt in my mind that he would win, after all look at his pie: And this one was baked in the barbeque on Thanksgiving day when we realized that the power was going to be out for a long time (oh what an adventurous thanksgiving! Did you know you can barbeque dinner rolls too, oh yes you can!).
His recipe was published in the local paper, I’ll share it with you here:
Grandma’s Apple Pie
This is my Grandmothers recipe(with a little altering). This can be a great communal
effort as everyone can help peel, core, and slice the apples. Things that can make it
especially delicious are local apples in season and the quality of the butter.
For the crust:
The amounts could be adjusted depending on the size of the pan. These amounts are
enough for a large pie.
3 cups of flour
2 TBSP of sugar
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
8 oz chilled butter
ice water (the amount varies)
Place the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut the butter up into
cubes about the size of a sugar cube and put in with the flour. Then using
two knives or a dough blender, break the butter up into smaller pieces. You
can do this with a food processor as well but doing it by hand is preferable.
You want to end up with pieces of butter about the size of small peas. Then
work in ice water a little at a time until you can bring the dough together
as one solid ball. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For the apples:
Again the amount varies depending on the size of your pie. I really like to mound
them up high. I like using a combination of sweet and tart apples.
5 lbs of apples
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
2 TB of butter
I fill a large bowl half way with water and add some lemon juice. This helps keep
the apples from turning brown while you are working.
Peel, core, and slice approximately 8 granny smith and 4 golden delicious apples.
Again the food processor can do the slicing but hand done inconsistent slices make
a more interesting pie.
Bring it all together:
Cut you rested, cooled dough into two and roll out one for the bottom of the pie.
Drain the apples, toss with the cinnamon and flour, then fill the pie. Cut up the
butter into 6 pieces or so and place on the top of the apples. Roll out the top,
place over the pie, crimp and trim the edges. Cut 3 or 4 slits in the pie so
the steam can escape during cooking. Place in a 350 deg oven for about an hour
and 15 min. About half way through I brush the top with milk and sprinkle a little
sugar over it for browning and additional texture. Let the pie cool for at least 30
minutes but it’s best served warm. Enjoy!!