In Western New York, the apple reigns supreme in the fall season.
I’m serious. There is something about fall that just gets everyone here excited for apples.
I mean, we grow really tasty apples. That could be a reason, if not the only reason.
There are dozens of “pick your own” apple orchards in Erie and Niagara county.
I’m sure there are countless more in the surrounding counties that I haven’t had the pleasure of raiding yet.
Yes…I said raiding.
Because I don’t know what self-control is or how it feels to practice it.
I pick apples by the bushel and it’s way too many for two people.
I make apple butter, applesauce, apple chutney, apple bread. We have an apple at least once a day, usually in our lunches. I make apple crumble and apple pie.
Apple pie. Nothing more American, right? Except I put candied ginger in mine. (Whaaaaat?!)
Don’t knock it until you try it.
(Recipe at bottom.)
The only thing I can’t do is make crust. My sister, Frankie, is a expert crust maker. She obviously inherited that trait from Grandma Sophie, not me. I beat the thing to death so the butter gets all warm, the whole thing gets warm, and then it gets all hard and doughy and stupid.
Doughy and stupid.
But today, I tried again. Frankie lives in Iowa right now, finishing out her last year of college. As an exercise science major and someone who is really health conscious, I am surprised by how buttery and awesome her crust is. She is just phenomenal and making crust. Today, I used a simple recipe I found here.
(In fact, I love her whole blog. You should read it.)
Frankie said “it’s a good recipe…literally impossible to f*ck up.”
I don’t think I did. I mean, I kept everything really cold. I even went so far as to freeze my butter slightly.
My water was insanely cold. My tablespoon measure is a really cute little one from Anthropologie so when I went to grab it from my water cup, I had to dig with my hands. Very cold water. Very cold.
I pulsed it just enough to where it formed a ball.
I rolled it lightly and fast so I didn’t warm up the butter flecks in the dough.
I chose to chill it in the pie pan as opposed to before rolling, just like the recipe said.
I have no opinion yet on whether that was a better or worse decision.
Because I don’t ever make crust.
The pie is in the oven right now. And it smells great.
My apple filling. Obviously, it’s made with locally grown apples. So I’m already winning.
I use a little lemon juice, a little brown sugar, Baking Spice from Penzeys, some flour, and a dash of vanilla.
(Trust me on the baking spice. I know it’s weird. You’re like “anise? pshhh…no.” Trust me.)
Because baking spice is a fabulous complement to…CANDIED GINGER!
Yes, seriously. Candied ginger. Finely chop it and sprinkle it over your apples before you bake it.
Candied ginger is a great ingredient in apple bread so why not in apple pie?
You only need a small amount. For a 9″ pie, maybe three tablespoons. I mean it’s good, but it’s strong.
And it makes your house smell ah-mazing.
And I put a pecan-oatmeal crumble on top. Because I can.
And I’m not traditional.
It looks fabulous.
Why it is only six o’clock in the evening?
Dinner is at 7pm and I want to eat it now.
Maybe I will.
Just a small slice though.
Apple Pie with Candied Ginger
-one 9″ pie pan (or in my case, a quiche pan)
-small microwavable bowl
-large mixing bowl
-large spoon, for mixing
-food processor (or in my case, a Ninja…if you are without both, another bowl and a pastry cutter)
-one batch of this crust (really easy, really good…and I know you all have butter on hand.)
-one tbsp brown sugar, for dusting
-one tbsp butter, melted, for brushing
-cinnamon (or baking spice)
-4 or 5 medium apples, peeled and sliced (I used Cortland, but whatever variety you like..except Red Delicious)
-2 tbsp flour
-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1/4 cup dark brown sugar (if you don’t have both, substitute white sugar for whatever you don’t have)
-1/2 tsp baking spice (or cinnamon)
-juice of one lemon
-3 tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped
-dash of vanilla extract
-3 tbsp butter, melted
-handful of chopped pecans (super specific measurement)
-1/3 cup old fashioned oats
-1 tbsp flour
-1/4 light or dark brown sugar
-a dash of bourbon whiskey (I like to drink while I cook so I always throw alcohol into something)
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375
1. Make your crust. Set aside and chill. Leave the overhang on the crust. You will use it later.
2. Make your filling. Peel and slice your apples pretty thinly. Place into large bowl and combine with flour, sugar, baking spice, and vanilla extract. Stir until just combined. Set aside. Try not to snack on apple slices.
3. Make your topping. Combine all topping ingredients together. Stir to combine. Set aside.
4. Take out chilled crust and layer in your apples. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Seriously.
5. Now, take your chopped ginger and sprinkle it evenly all over the apples.
6. Fold your overhanging crust over the apples and make it look like a rustic tart. You can skip this if you really want to but I find it gives a little extra something to the pie, considering it’s not a two-crust pie.
7. Sprinkle your topping over the exposed apple-ginger mixture. Pour yourself some bourbon.
8. Now, melt a tbsp of butter and brush it over the exposed top edges of crust. Dust with sugar and cinnamon.
9. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until crust is golden. It will look more golden because of the cinnamon.
10. While the pie is in the oven, please sit back and enjoy your bourbon. I did.
I think I’ll serve it with some Perry’s french vanilla ice cream. Because life is a bowl of Perry’s.