Sweet Suprises and Apple Pie
There is much to be said for what discomforts a change of scenery can ease. And because I have been nursing a cold with a sore throat that only tom yum soup, apple cider, and hot tea could make feel better, we went apple picking.
It was 80 degrees, and the pumpkins and hay bales looked completely out of place in the hot sun. Sebastian and I piled into a wagon filled with children and their parents and rode into an orchard where rows and rows of Piñata apples were––literally!––ripe for the picking. It was so pretty there, with tiny apple blossoms and lush, glossy leaves on the trees, dark green grass below our feet and a big blue sky above. We wandered between trees to the Empires, then the Golden Delicious, and finally the Suncrisps. Later, with our modest five-pound haul, we walked back to the orchard entrance and bought some cider donuts, still hot in their white paper bag. We shared a cold bottle of cider and sat in a shady spot in the grass. I wondered what had taken me so long to do what has long been on my fall fun list.
Colds lead to thick, murky thoughts and minutes lost to staring off into the distance. And so Sebastian had to figure out what to make with all those apples. Wouldn’t you know that the rookie would come out of the gates with a grand slam? My mom makes the simplest of apple pies: just peeled wedges, sugar, cinnamon, and dots of butter. What Sebastian baked was ultra-rich, and bubbled over with a caramel-like sauce. It might have been the best slice of apple pie I’ve ever had. We shared a single slice hot from the oven late last night and pronounced it a victory. (But I’m still partial to tarte tatin.)
I didn’t intend for this post to be about Sebastian’s triumph in the kitchen or to tell you about the killer apple pie recipe he found. Both were just serendipity! I set out just to recount this kind of magic moment in the weekend where even with an aching throat there was something so sweet about wandering, foggy-headed, through an orchard in the sunshine. Why did something so simple feel so utterly divine?
We play this game in our house from time to time, “what was your favorite moment?” And the surprising thing is that it’s never the fancy dinners or big to-dos we planned for, spent money on. It’s always something unassuming and random, like a nice walk, or seeing some hilarious dog, or reaching up into an apple tree, grabbing a piece of ripe fruit, and biting right into it.
Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie (now known in our house as Sebastian’s Apple Pie)
1 recipe pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.