My absolute favorite thing to do every fall is to make an apple pie, or really just about anything with apples. After having fun apple picking, I get to put the fruits of my labor (pun intended) to good use. Over the years, I have perfected my apple pie recipe to the point where I don’t even need to look up the instructions. It is just muscle memory.
This didn’t happen all at once. It was truly a process. Years ago, I worked with an elderly woman who had Parkinson’s. I was in college and took a part-time job as her companion. It was fantastic. I spent my Saturdays taking her grocery shopping, helping her with odd projects around the house, and baking. She taught me her secret to the flakiest pie crust I have ever had. It is the only recipe I will use now for pie crust.
I took hints and tips from my mother, grandmother, and even Betty Crocker. Each year, I would make an apple pie and tweak it just a little until I knew it was just right. The year I knew it was perfect was my second year of marriage. After dragging my husband apple-picking with me, I planned a day of baking. He went off fishing with a friend while I took over the kitchen.
I decided to make two pies this year, and after a couple of hours of labor, they were cooling on the racks and when I ran out for some errands. When I came home, I was happy to see that my husband was already there. I wasn’t as happy once I walked through the door. Both he and his friend were sitting on the couch, each holding a pie pan and a fork. Both pies were just about completely gone. My husband told me it was good and very graciously offered me a bite. I may have seen red that day. Years later, I can laugh about it and know that that was the day that I knew my recipe was perfect. My husband also learned to only eat one slice at a time!
To me, it is not truly fall until my first apple pie is baking in the oven. My kids’ favorite part is when I roll out the extra pie dough, cover it with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, roll it up like a crescent roll, and bake what we call cinnamon twist-ups. I will admit to making extra pie dough to make sure we have enough to make these each time!
We have lots of healthy apple recipes as well. I love to make homemade apple sauce with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, apple coffee cake that has just a touch of sugar and relies on sweeter apples, caramel apples which may not be healthy but are so delicious, and many more. Come to think of it, at least 50 percent of all of my baking in a year comes in the fall and usually contains apples. I have even learned that you can freeze fresh apples to use in baking later, which is just perfect for a fresh pie at Christmas!
As soon as that first fall bite is in the air, I am pulling out my recipes and planning my baking schedule. I just love this time of year!