Apple of my pie

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Jack-o-lantern in-waiting

Maybe it was the perfect backlight created by the afternoon sun. Or maybe it was the fact that I actually got to leave work on time. Whatever the reason, the trees in my neighbourhood last Monday seemed aflame with the most vivid autumn colours I’ve seen all season. My drive home from work was splashed with crimson reds, burnt oranges and citrusy yellows. This was a welcome surprise, considering that the fall palate is usually muted by late in October. Now, one week later, most of the trees have shed their fall coats. I think the fleeting beauty is one of the things I like best about the fall.

Ripe for the picking!

Over the past couple of weekends, I’ve had the opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite fall activities: visiting local family-run farms. Now, some people may have grown out of hayrides and pumpkin patches. But I do not happen to be one of those people. I can’t think of a better way to spend a crisp autumn day than bopping on a bail of hay behind a John Deere, and perusing quaint stands of farm fresh vegetables and baked goods.

This year, my boyfriend and I visited Round the Bend Farm in Kettleby, Ontario. I give this fine family establishment two very enthusiastic thumbs-up. Robust selection of pumpkins. Fresh and cheap produce, including broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. Tempting pies, loaf cakes and cupcakes for the kids. And most importantly, the best turkey sausages I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. These sausages are made from turkeys raised on the farm. Food that’s local and mouth-watering – what more can a girl want?

 

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Me among the apples at Country Apple Orchard Farm

We also made a stop at Country Apple Orchard Farm, so I could pick up some Cortland and Northern Spy apples for a pie. Even though we were late in the season, there was no shortage of apples. After filling three bags, and picking up a freshly baked pumpkin pie, we headed home.
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On the hunt for Cortlands

I opted for a classic apple pie recipe from Martha. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I did not make the crust from scratch. I figured that Pillsbury would do, since I picked, peeled, cored and spiced the apples myself. The recipe is pretty easy, at least once you’ve finished peeling what seemed like a million apples. I wanted to make four pies, but had to stop at two, only because I couldn’t bear to peel another pesky apple.

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Freshly spiced, and flecked with butter bits!

I was pretty pleased with the finished pie. I’m a fan of tart apple pies, which is exactly what this recipe yields. If you want something sweeter, just reduce the amount of lemon, and increase the amount of sugar. But Martha’s proportions were just right for me!

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Just out of the oven

Classic Apple Pie

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Premade pie crust, such as Pillsbury
  • 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for pie top
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Follow pre-made crust instructions. Place in pie pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, and cover with remaining pastry circle. Cut several steam vents across top. Seal by crimping edges as desired. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional sugar.
  3. Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.
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Add ice cream and serve!

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