For months now I’ve been running away from home, always longing for something more, something else. By winters end, I was running for the great outdoors, longing to feel the sun on my face, bask in it, drink it in. I ran for the hills, the hiking trails just beginning to awaken from the long winter sleep. But, the water was frigid, uninviting and I longed for shorts, sandals and days on the lake.
Summer had me running to frolic on the lake, boating, kayaking, swimming. I longed for tanned legs and the wind in my face. I longed to be out in the summer warmth and nowhere near indoors and mundane chores. But soon, the heat overwhelmed me and again my heart wandered, deep longing soon took hold for cool breezes and for home.
The approaching storms and cold front anchored my heart at home today. I longed for nothing more than to sweep leaves off the porch, unpack pumpkins, hang wreaths and bake an apple pie. There’s a mystical quality to the leaves right now. Each morning I walk out my door, wading through the crisp fallen leaves, gingerly avoiding the hazard of a plethora of acorns underfoot yet all the trees are lush and green! From where they’ve come defies explanation but the deer, chipmunks and squirrels delight nonetheless.
This time last year, we decided to venture to a neighboring town for The Old Tyme Apple Festival so I could mark it off my Autumn bucket list. I imagined it to be as the old Cotton Picking festivals we had attended years ago in the delta, just a small town affair but was I wrong! The event encompassed the entire city center! Blocks and blocks of vendors selling their wares, food trucks every few feet serving every carnival treat imaginable and stages at every corner.
The weather had different ideas for the day and soon we found ourselves trapped beneath the sidewalk awnings, several blocks from our van, in a torrential downpour! Thankfully I had my husband with me, whose antics never fail. We had purchased an old gas can that had been cut out like a Jack-o-lantern, which he happily donned and sent us dashing through the rain, laughing like children.
If you’re thinking that my apple pie was made from a bushel brought home from an apple festival, you’d be wrong! Curiously, we saw absolutely nothing that was apple at the apple festival save for a single vendor offering apple cider! Where oh where were the apple pies, apple fritters, dumplings served with cinnamon ice cream? Where were the caramel and candied apples and apple butters? Alas, If apple desires were to be fulfilled, I’d have to do it myself and weather like this makes for the perfect day for it.
I wanted the first pie of the season to be special but as eclectic as I am, could not decided between a variety of crust options. Streusel topping was immediately taken off the table. Not only was the option lacking flare but I dislike how they at times become soggy and doughy where the streusel meets the filling. Yuk! I considered a lattice top, cookie cutter cutouts and leaves, braids and roses, all darling and delightful yet I could not choose between them. The only solution was to use them all and for good measure, I baked it in a cast iron skillet.
* Normally I use a green granny Smith apple but Gala’s are what I had on hand and they are crisp enough to bake nicely. They are sweeter so I reduced the amount of sugar.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
6 to 10 tablespoons ice cold water
STIR flour and salt in large bowl until blended. Cut shortening into flour mixture using pastry blender or fork until shortening pieces are the size of peas. Gradually add just enough water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring with fork just until dough holds together and forms a smooth ball.
SHAPE dough into a ball. Divide dough in half and shape into two balls for double crust pie. Flatten into 1/2-inch thick disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7-8 thinly sliced peeled apples
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 large egg yolks
- Preheat oven to 400°
- In a small bowl, combine the sugars, flour and spices; set aside. In a large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar mixture; toss to coat.
- Line a 9-in. pie plate with bottom crust; prick the entire bottom of the crust with a folk & trim even with edge. Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter.
- Roll out the second disk of pastry and top with any design you choose.
- I used strips cut with a pizza cutter, braided strips, woven lattice from strips and leaves punched out with cookie cutters. For the Rose’s, I cut 3 small circles of pastry, lining them up with very slight overlap. Press to seal, then roll up from the end. Cut the roll in half with a sharp knife. Gently fold out the petals and place on the pie.
- Brush the crust with beaten egg yolk.
- Bake 40-50 min.
May your home be filled with the fragrance of apples & cinnamon and your hearts with a longing for home.