Autumn Apple Harvest

For over two weeks I have been slicing and peeling apples by the dozens thanks to some very generous colleagues with a bounty to share. I’ve already made 5 pies, 3 dozen apple cinnamon muffins, apple cake, apple onion & yellow squash gratin, AND two dozen caramel apple cinnamon rolls. What’s next on the menu?

You’ll be the first to know when I finally decide… and hopefully I’ll get them finished before the pears and plums show up.

I have only been regularly making pies over the past two years. The crust process had always scared me off, but I’m actually getting pretty darn good at it now that I have discovered the “secret.” Mixing cold butter into a whole lot of flour seemed to be just crazy and softening the butter created a mess. After all, there are reasons the directions say to use “cold” butter. Since I refuse to bake with shortening or margarine and you will never see those ingredients in my recipes, how can I blend that cold butter into the flour evenly and easily? Are you ready for it!?

A food processor.

Pie Crust

Mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup cold Irish butter, 1/4 cup cold water and 1 tsp salt in a 5-8 cup food processor. Pulse until well blended into a soft, malleable dough. Keep chilled unless the apples are ready and waiting. Makes 2 crusts.

The next decision… do you prefer a two crust pie or a dutch apple pie with a crumb topping? I am happy with either, but since I was running low on flour, my first batch was decidedly two dutch apple pies since only two crusts would be needed. After a trip to the grocery store, I was all set to make a 2 crust pie. After all, I wanted to switch things up a bit.

Are you ready for another secret from my kitchen? The dozens of apples I’ve been peeling and slicing lately would have been exhausting if it were not for my absolute favorite tool ever – the Pampered Chef apple peeler, corer, slicer all-in-one tool. It’s the best $40 ever spent if you have an apple tree. I don’t need the separate wooden stand anymore, although since I’ve had the fabulous invention for about 20 years, I’ve needed it in many of our kitchens. I first lay 3-4 paper towels on my counter before attaching the tool to collect the juice and peelings. I can prepare 20 apples for pies in about 1/4 the time if I had to do it by hand. I feel qualified to make that statement because I grew up sitting at the kitchen counter with a paring knife and wrinkly fingers from peeling, coring & slicing dozens of apples for hours on end while my mother made quarts of apple sauce, apple pies and apple crisps.

Apple Pie Filling

8-10 cups sliced cored peeled apples (pie plates come in many sizes – if you have a large, deep dish pan, plan for more apples)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbls lemon juice

Topping for Dutch Apple Pie

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 
1 cup flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbls granulated sugar

Heat oven to 400°F. On a floured surface and using floured rolling pin, roll half of pastry dough into circle 2 inches larger than 9-inch pie plate. Fold pastry into half; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired.

In large bowl, toss filling ingredients until apples are moistened. Pour into pie plate, mounding apples toward center.

In medium bowl, use pastry blender or a fork to mix butter, 1 cup flour and the brown sugar until a crumb forms. Sprinkle evenly over top of pie.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until pie crust and crumb topping are deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Transfer to cooling rack to cool.

Remember, you still have another pie shell to roll out, so get back to those apples and make another batch of filling and topping!

If you are making a traditional 2 crust pie, skip the topping and roll out the second crust before fluting the bottom shell. After trimming both shells, fold under the excess pastry and flute. Cut steam vents in the top crust and brush with an egg white mixed with half and half. Sprinkle a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar before baking.

Serve warm with whipped or ice cream, if desired.

*Recipe adapted from BettyCrocker.com

For my other apple recipes, please click the links above within the post. I hope you enjoy your apple harvest as much as I have.

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.

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