Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple pie

There is a new vendor at Purple Porch.  Gene, or Pa as he is known to most, brought in fall produce from his garden, appropriately named Pa's Patch.  He has some fantastic hot peppers that I used in a big pot of chili last week.  Gene isn't certified organic, but I know him, and he uses old fashioned methods on his crops.  I trust that his fruits and vegetables are pretty much chemical free.  It's hard to raise worm-free apples in the Midwest without the use of chemical sprays.  I asked him how he managed to get apples with no worm holes.  Was he spraying?  He said no he wasn't, then added, "Well, yes I do spray, but not with chemicals, no bug killers."

"So what do you spray them with, Pa?" I asked.  He replied that he used a combination of mouth wash and apple cider.  Okay, not sure about the mouth wash, but we do put it in our mouths with no ill effects (at least no immediate ones), so I went with it and bought a bag.

I like a crisp apple or two in the fall, but I'm not all that nuts about them.  So I've been looking at the remaining seven apples and wondering why I bought them.  The dogs won't eat them.  The cows won't eat them.  The chickens would, but I know I feed them too many treats already - they will gorge on them and ignore their nutritionally balanced organic chick starter feed.

I rooted around in the freezer and found a frozen round of homemade pie crust.  I incorporated a little fresh butter into it and rolled it out.  There was enough crust left over to make a bit of decoration on the top, but not enough for a top crust.  Okay, what to do.  Then I remembered an apple pie recipe with a crumbly topping I had created when I had a restaurant.  It also had sour cream in the filling, and there is a container of sour cream that is due to be used in my fridge.  (Do you know how many creative recipes are made when the chef stands in the cooler and looks over the stuff that is going to expire tomorrow?  Some time I'll post my puff pastry creation.  It's one of those "use it or lose it" recipes.) 

So it was off to the races!  Just enough to generously fill the crust with thin sliced crisp apple slices that had been tossed with the requisite sugar and flour, plus cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, a sprinkle of salt and LOTS of sour cream!  Then for some flour, butter, brown sugar and walnuts - a quick whirl in the food processor to combine them - sprinkled over the top of the apples.  For the final touch, I made an apple with a stem and a twig and a couple of apple leaves out of the last bit of crust.  One does NOT throw away excess crust.

It's baking away in the convection oven right now.  I checked it a couple of minutes ago, and it is beginning to brown nicely.  There is a quart of cream in the fridge, and I'm debating on whether I need to make that into some vanilla ice cream, or will that be overkill?  What to do, what to do . . .

Okay, pie's out of the oven.  I am not waiting for ice cream.  Maybe tomorrow.


  1. mmmmmmmm!!! Looks absolutely delicious :) I for one adore apples...AND apple pie. And no way, a la mode is NOT overkill ;) I'm waiting with a cup of coffee....

    ps...we're making mascarpone over at Forging Fromage this month :)

  2. Some day I'll have to tell you the story of courting my wife while also starting my business. She'd have had a long day at work and not had time to hit the grocery store. I'd come home exhausted and plop myself onto her couch too tired to even pull a cork from a bottle of wine. I'd inquire about any plans we might have for nourishment for the evening. She'd reply that we'd HAVE to go out because, "the refrigerator and cupboards are empty." Being too tired to leave the house again and in need of a transitional diversion from the work day back to sanity anyways, I would challenge myself to somehow come-up with an entire meal using whatever I could find in the kitchen. This became our ritual for a year or more. Some of the most memorable meals we ever had. The challenge of creating those meals apparently gave me a chance to use the parts of my mind that had NOT been on overdrive all day and it really cleared my head and got me away from the pressures of the work day. Never would have thought that cooking unplanned and unprepared would actually turn-into relaxation...

  3. Hey, Heather, I'll visit Forging Fromage. Have never made mascarpone, can you believe? Soon . . .

  4. Mark, do you ever watch Chopped on the food channel? It is interesting to watch what these cooks do when they open a basket with some really unusual combinations of food and are told that they must make a main course, dessert or appetizer using all of them. Some funny results! So tell us about the best of your unplanned meals. I'm listening!