Apple Season

This year’s apple harvest was small, but unlike last year’s, it ripened on the tree instead of being blown off before it was ready, so the quality is good, even if the volume isn’t.

Truthfully, I’m thankful there aren’t too many apples to deal with. We’ve run out of canning jars and freezer space, so I’m not sure what I’d do with them if I had more.

So I’ve been considering how to process the fruits to encourage us to eat a lot of apples.

Naturally, apple pie is near the top of my list. Last year, with vast quantities of apples, I came across a particularly nice apple pie recipe that allows you to pack more fruit into a pie by pre-cooking the apples slightly. The recipe indicated it was a good way to avoid the empty space between fruit and upper crust that’s so common in apple pie, but I took it as an invitation to add more apples. And who could resist a thick, dense apple pie? Maybe with a little whipped cream?

Here’s the recipe, paraphrased from the 1997 edition of Joy of Cooking:

Make your favourite pie crust–enough for a double crust pie.

Roll out half the dough and fit it into a 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan. Roll out the other half of the dough. Refrigerate both until you’re ready to use them.

Peel, core and slice 3 pounds (about 1.5 kg) of apples. The recipe says you want 7 cups of slices–go for 8 cups.

Heat 3 tablespoons (40 g) unsalted butter in a wide skillet until sizzling. Add the apples and toss until glazed with butter. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft on the outside, but still slightly crunchy (5-7 minutes).

Stir in 3/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt.

Increase the heat to high and cook until the juices become thick and syrupy (about 3 minutes). Spread the apples on a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.

When cool, pour the apples into the bottom crust, add the top crust, cut steam vents, and bake 40-50 minutes at 425°F (220°C). Cool completely before serving.

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