The box arrived yesterday via UPS. The labeling all over the box said, “Washington State Apples,” but I couldn’t believe it. Surely this big box couldn’t be full of apples! But when I checked the return address to see the sender, I knew it was: they’d been sent by one of my cherry drying clients from this past summer. Like most cherry growers, he probably has apple trees, too.
Fuji apples, to be exact.
The last time I had this many apples in my home was years and years ago, when I still lived in New Jersey. In those days, we’d go apple picking in New York State, just over the border. We’d make a day of it and pick too many apples to eat. I remember making apple pie, apple sauce, and apple butter. I remember being sick of apples. The year that we let a bag of apples go bad in the basement was the last year we went apple picking.
My husband’s comment when he realized that we’d just received 20 pounds of apples: “What are we going to do with them all?”
Make pie, of course.
Making apple pie isn’t difficult — if you cheat. Cheating means buying prepared pie crusts. Making pie dough, rolling it out, and lining the pie pan is 75% of the work in making fresh apple pie. If you get someone else to do it for you — like Mr. Pillsbury or Marie Callender — all you have to do is peel and cut up the apples, mix them with sugar and spice, pour them into the pie pans, and cover them up with another piece of prepared pie crust.
And if you’re like me, you probably can’t make a decent tasting pie crust anyway. It’s better to let the experts do it.
Here’s my recipe for the filling:
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
- 5-6 large, firm apples (they’re supposed to be “tart” but I always use whatever I have handy, especially when I have 20 pounds to use up)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry dough.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Peel, core, and slice the apples.
- Toss the apples in the sugar mixture until well coated.
- Pile the apples in the pie pan.
- Dot with butter.
- Cover the pie with another sheet of pastry dough. Crimp the edges and cut vents in the top. (I usually cut in a pattern or design; I did cherries this time in honor of the apple sender.)
- Bake 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake about 30-40 minutes longer or until the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer and the crust is browned.
If you’re using a “deep dish” pie crust/pan, you’ll probably need more apples.
Here’s what the finished product looks like. I’m not sure about this Pillsbury pie crust — it almost looks as if it melted over the apples. I’ll try Marie Callender next. And maybe some phyllo dough after that for a more strudel-like result.
After all, there are a lot of apples in my fridge and garage. I figured I’d just make apple pie every time we ran out it, until we ran out of apples.