Apples

Jonagold Apple Video 2012

Our Washington organic apple grower has plenty of Jonagold apples this season. The sample of apples he sent made Jonagold apples the new favorite in our office! It’s crispy, sweet – but not too sweet, and it has a great flavor. Apples of this caliber could hardly be bought at a regular grocery store!

Place your order here.

Apple Pie

I remember when I first learned how to make a pie. I was probably about 7 years old, and my family had a huge rhubarb plant in our garden. I always loved to bake things in the kitchen, and my mom showed me how to make a rhubarb pie using this crust recipe. Well, I was only 7 years old, and it was my first pie, so you can imagine that the first crust didn’t turn out quite as beautifully as my mom’s. But with a little practice, I mastered the techniques.

With so many good apples available right now, I wanted to share this pie recipe recipe with you. I wrote the directions based on a unique technique my mom made up – grating the butter using a hand-held cheese grater. It seems to work great every time, so if you’ve had trouble making flaky pies before, give this recipe a chance. You can also watch a video of me making the crust if you want a visual of what I’m talking about in this recipe. Click here to see the video.

For the filling:

about 6 medium-sized apples – 6 cups total or as much as you need to make a nice, full pie (We like the tartness of  Rome, Ida Red, Granny Smith, and  Jonathan, but any apple you have on hand will be fine. Just don’t use Red Delicious.) 
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup rapadura (or sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

For the crust:

2 cups unbleached white flour
2/3 cup cold, salted butter
very cold water

 

For the Apple Filling

Peel, core, and slice the apples. In a large bowl, toss them together with the flour, sugar and cinnamon.

 

For the Crust:

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Take the butter directly out of the refrigerator and carefully grate it into the flour using a cheese grater (use a hand-held grater for this, NOT an electric grater). Each time you grate the stick of butter, roll it in the flour so it is always coated with flour. When all the butter is grated, mix it into the flour slightly. DURING THIS STEP, YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVER-MIX. IF YOU OVER-MIX THE CRUST, IT WILL BECOME TOUGH.

Fill a small pitcher with water, and add an ice cube to make it extra cold. The cold water will help the butter to stay cold during this step, resulting in a nice, flaky crust. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the water into the flour/butter mixture. Stir the water in with two or three strokes. Again, make sure you don’t over-mix, or you’ll have tough crust. Keep adding water until you have a dough that sticks together nicely but is not so wet that it sticks to your hands. Don’t knead it; press it together gently, adding more water if needed.

Break the dough into two equal sections. Set one half aside while you roll the first one out for the bottom crust. Flour the counter well, or the crust will stick. To be sure that the crust is the right size, place the pie plate you plan on using over the circle you have rolled out. The crust should be about 1 1/2 inches bigger than your pie plate on all sides. If your crust is a little bigger, don’t worry – you’ll just trim it down a little when you have it in the pie plate.

Place the rolled out crust into the bottom of your pie plate. This can be a tricky step, because… well, how do you pick up a large circle of delicate crust and put it into your pie pan without breaking it? So I found a way to make it easier. Fold the crust in half – make sure it’s dusted with flour on the top – then fold it in half again, so your crust is just 1/4 the size of a circle, and then place it in the pie plate. Unfold it, and… you have a beautiful pie crust that’s NOT torn!

Pour the apple mixture into your crust. Roll out the top crust and place it over the pie. (You can use the same method of getting it onto the pie as you did with the bottom crust.) You should have about 1/2 to 3/4 inches of crust hanging over the edge of your pie. If you have more than this, just cut it off with a scissors or a sharp knife. Tuck the overhanging crust under the edge of the bottom crust, and crimp the pie with your fingers. Cut a few vents in the top. Then bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

The last step: ENJOY! This pie is best served hot.

Wow! Check out all of those beautiful flakes! They were all formed by the really cold little flakes of grated butter, and they were preserved by mixing the dough as little as possible.

How do you make pie crust? Do you have any techniques that result in a really flaky crust? Has anyone ever made a pie in a brown paper bag? (That’s Mom’s next pie project.)

Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Muffins

Some muffin recipes call for milk to make up most of the liquid. And that’s fine for those recipes. But this one is all about flavor since the apples themselves make up almost all of the liquid. If you use freshly ground soft white wheat flour, the muffins turn out light and soft, and baked in preheated stoneware pans, they’re heavenly.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

Soft White Wheat Flour With Cinnamon and Rapadura

Ingredients

3 or 4 fresh apples, or you can substitute 2-3 cups of applesauce
1/3 c. melted butter
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. soft white wheat flour (use freshly ground flour if possible)1/2 c.
Rapadura (whole organic cane sugar)
1 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 c. chopped walnuts

Apple Muffins in Stoneware Pans

Directions

  • In a blender (or you can do this by hand), blend together the bananas, melted butter, egg, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, rapadura, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and chopped walnuts.
  • Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and spoon into buttered muffin cups.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Variation: Apple Blueberry Muffins
Prepare as above except use 2 c. of applesauce instead of the bananas, and 1 c. blueberries instead of the nuts.

Over-ripe Mutsu Apples

Christine’s Apple Pie Filling

Canned apple pie filling:  the ultimate last-minute dessert for unexpected company or chilly winter evenings when you’d rather be sitting beside the woodstove than slaving on pies in the kitchen.  If you’d rather, you can freeze this pie filling in quart freezer bags. Enjoy.

4 – 6 quarts peeled and sliced firm apples, like Winesap, Rome, Ida Red or Jonathan (reserved)

4 1/2 cups sugar or rapadura

1 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder

4 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

3 tablespoons lemon juice

10 cups water

In a large pot, cook all the ingredients, except the apples, until thick and bubbly, stirring often.  Remove from heat.

Add as many apples to the sugar sauce as you can, keeping the mixture plenty juicy.

Place the apples into prepared quart jars and process 25 minutes in a hot water bath.   Makes 4 – 6 quarts.