Our garden had an orchard of sorts. There was a cherry tree, a big Bradford Pear tree, several peach trees and apple trees. Some of the apples were Winesap, but I don’t really know what the other kinds were. At least one of them was an early bearing variety and a green apple. Mom used to make pies with them, of course, but she also canned applesauce. I remember coming home from school in the fall and finding my dad helping Mom deal with apples or peaches when they were in season. They had to be processed before they spoiled. It wasn’t fun to peel them in years when there were lots of bugs. My parents would plan to be sure and spray the trees next season so they didn’t have to deal with it again.
My husband Al likes to get new fresh apples in the fall. Our daughter has an apple tree, so when the year is good, we are happy to take some of them off her hands. We have a mechanical apple peeler, so that helps a lot. Al generally prepares pie apples for the freezer with the sugar, flour and spices already in it. That way we have apple pies any time of the year.
What I find odd about this recipe is that is calls for freshly cooked or canned apple slices. Well, I guess I’ve bought apple pie filling before and it was cooked. However, some of the apples I’ve gotten would actually turn mushy if pre-cooked. I guess that would be an applesauce pie, huh?
Line a 9-inch pie plate with your favorite pastry. The filling requires these ingredients:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
5 cups freshly cooked or canned apple slices
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
Blend sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Arrange apple slices and sugar mixture in alternate layers in pastry shell, sprinkling top with lemon juice. Dot with butter. Cover with pastry; make slits for steam to escape. Bake in a 425-degree oven 45 to 50 minutes.
For a shiny crust, brush top with milk before baking. Variations: sprinkle a little cinnamon over apples; allspice and cardamom also lend elegance to the pie; as soon as pie is removed from oven, sprinkle with grated cheese.
How do you decorate your top layer of pastry? Do you just cut slits in it like this recipe indicates? My Mom taught me to decorate it before putting on the top crust. We use a butter knife to cut two curved stems. On each side of the stem we use the tip of the butter knife to press indentions looking like leaves up and down each side of the stems. So pretty! If I don’t put that on my pie, I just feel like I’ve done something wrong!