Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Friday and More October Baking!

Another sunny and crisp October weekend arrives today! Hooray!

This is the time of year when I start to think about pies; rolling out the dough, filling it with apples, pumpkin or pecan fillings, sprinkling sugar on the crust to make it shiny and sweet, and the warm aroma of cinnamon and spice filling the house.

I went on a second apple picking expedition over Columbus Day weekend - a special trip to get granny smiths and winesaps, which were not yet ripe when I took my nephews apple picking. I now have a plethora of apples to eat and bake with. So, last weekend, I made an apple pie. If you've never made a pie from scratch, I have to tell you that there is something immensely satisfying about it. So much of cooking these days is about quick and easy - semi-homemade, 1-2-3, Rachel Ray... Not that there is anything wrong with that. But it doesn't really give you the same sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of a pie that is made from scratch, with apples you picked from the tree and a crust you rolled out with your own hands. Pulling my piping hot pie from the oven gives me a similar sense of satisfaction as finishing a successful sewing project - that moment when you try it on and say "Yes! Perfect!"    

Apple Pie! Mmmmm....
About apple pie... There are several schools of thought, but most divide along the following lines: raw vs pre-cooked filling and 2 crust vs lattice vs crumb topping. It all comes down to preference, and some people have pretty strong preferences. My mom's apple pie uses an uncooked filling, which I do enjoy, but in the last few years I've come to favor precooking mine. Some of the Muses (my siblings) think this amounts to heresy, but I find it more reliable - no worries about al dente apples in the pie or a burnt crust and raw filling or too wet or dry a filling. It takes some of the variables out of the equation. This filling recipe from Williams-Sonoma is a good basic one. I use a mix of Granny Smith and Empire apples, which makes a filling that has the right sweet/tart balance and doesn't get mushy, even after a long baking.  I also tend to make either a 2 crust pie (my primer on pie crust here).

This pie did not last long at all. But, since Phineas has already started mentioning turkey and stuffing and all things Thanksgiving, and I seem to have Autumn on the brain, I am sure another pie is in my near future - maybe a pecan one this time.

Anyway, I hope you are enjoying excellent Autumn weather where you are and getting out there and making the most of it! 


Mar-Mar said...

mmm....Haven't gone apple picking yet, but have a peck of apples from the farmers market. I feel the need to roll dough...if only I can find time with all of the campaigning that has been filling my weekends!!

yummy...I may just do it!

Heather said...

MMmmmm... yummy! Apple pie is my fave and I love baking from scratch too!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I've never pre-cooked an apple filling, but it is a good idea. My bottom crust always ends up mushy (always a crust from scratch--I don't use a mix or premade anything). But in truth, I hate pie crust anyway, so when I'm baking a pie just to have in the house I make it crustless. I have a crustless apple pie (with crumb topping) in the fridge right now! I will have to make a crustless pumpkin pie soon.

Clio said...

MMMM, I hadn't considered doing a crustless pumpkin pie.... I may have to try that.