It’s that time of year! Where I grab my buckets and a sweet hoe/rake combo that I acquired somewhere, and head out to the various apple trees I have met in the past ten years. I am much less zealous than I ever have been, because I have been brought down by too much fruit in the past. There’s just so many apples you can eat, you know? I just avert my gaze now when I see trees full with fruit that people are neglecting.
All I make these days with apples is applesauce and lots of it. I wouldn’t make so much if it weren’t for my son, who loves it. This year I added some pears to my applesauce, and my son declared it the best applesauce I’ve ever made. (Honestly, I think he’s realized that complimenting my food makes me happy, so he does it a lot now, which is, of course, very charming.) It’s also a good thing to have on hand if you want to make this chocolate applesauce cake, because don’t you want to make that? I do!
If you are setting out to make an apple pie, however, do you cook your apples first? I’ve always made apple pies with uncooked apples. Always. When I was a teenager I worked in a restaurant that did catering, and we made billions of pies. It’s how we did it there, and it was how I learned apple pie at my mother’s side. However, I think I may have just changed gears. The other day when my son turned seven, he requested an apple pie instead of cake. I had read about the precooked apple idea recently, I forget where, and thought: I should try that. More than not, I’m disappointed by a high risen top crust and a liquid-y apple mixture. It seems like it was always hit or miss. Always tasty, but somewhat aesthetically off, in my opinion.
For those of you that can apple pie filling this time of year, you are probably shaking your head at me with pity. I never liked the idea of pre-made pie filling, but I really do see its benefits for throwing together a quick pie. It has just never been my thing. Maybe now I’ll change my ways. What I did this time was to gently sauté the apples in some butter and sugar, adding cornstarch at the end. I followed along with this recipe from the Times. It was probably the best apple pie I’ve ever made, and you know, I’ve made some pies in my life.
What do you make with your apples? Brandied apple rings? Candied pickled apples? Apple tomato chutney? Apple vinegar? Apple pectin stock? Let me know!