It’s the confusing time when we long for summer and berries to stay, but also are getting super excited about pumpkin and apples. Mixed feelings over here! Week 36: Gravenstein Apple Pie
Some mark the transition to fall with the changing color of the leaves, or cooling off of the weather. Others mark it by the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (no judgement). Since I live in the Bay Area, the lack of visible change in the seasons means that I have to rely on my farmer’s markets and baking blogs to indicate when it’s time to pull out the warm, comforting ingredients of fall. Gotta go stock up on pumpkin ya’ll!
I’ve already jumped on the apple train, as you can see from this post. My family went up to Sebastopol to get a lug of Gravenstein apples. Heaven. The majority of them are going into applesauce but a few stragglers get thrown into pies and crumbles galore.
Typically for pies, Granny Smith apples are best. This is the cardinal rule of a classic apple pie. They are tart (so you can add a mess of sugar and not die of sweetness) and they hold their structure well (so you don’t end up with mush instead of apple filling.) But if you have fresh Gravenstein apples, you don’t say no. This is my way of saying that the apple chunks in my filling were not as sturdy as they could have been. Still delicious, trust me.
This is my grandma’s recipe for both pie crust and apple filling, so it’s only appropriate for me to use her pie dish (thank you Mom for letting me raid your kitchen utensils again!)
As I chopped, I made sure to float the pieces in lemon water to keep them from oxidizing. Nobody got time for brown apples. There are tons of ways to halt the browning process, and all of the ones I know involve blocking the oxygen from making contact. I used lemon water, but after reading through some different advice articles about methods to use, I think I’ll use a saltwater bath next time!
Staying true to her recipe was hard from the get-go, since I like butter crusts. Her recipe calls for shortening instead of butter. I know it makes it more flaky! But I love the butter taste, you know? They serve the same purpose though, so I’ll stop complaining now. Side note: since it was so hot out while I was baking, it was a bonus to use the shortening instead of butter – I spent more time baking and less time waiting for the crust to chill in the fridge!
My ice water also kept melting. This is what I get for trying to be autumn-y during a record-breaking heatwave. It’s super important to use ice water for the crust though! Just another barrier to melting fat and sad crust.
Lifting this crust was a little nerve-wracking – it was so flaky it didn’t want to be cohesive. But have no fear, the rolling-it-over-the-rolling-pin trick worked as always.
I’m used to shrinking butter crusts so I pushed mine up over the top a tiny bit. It didn’t make a bit of difference, in case you were wondering.
I should call this carmel apple pie, because the filling is essentially a thinner carmel poured over apple chunks. YUM. I managed to burn my first cube of butter due to distraction (sigh) but the next one melted beautifully and I moved on with life.
Crust #2. There are so many options for crust design, but I stuck with a classic loose lattice and attempted to shape an apple on top. It turned out more like a pumpkin but I think a little crust leaf would have helped out with that. Hindsight is 20/20, my friends.
Pre-sauna. As you can see, the crust is more crumbly than malleable. Still worked out though! I’ll try my cinnamon butter crust next time and see the difference between the two.
Ta-daa! Excellent for breakfast and dessert, a la mode.
When I have some time this week (and feel like sharing), I’ll type up the recipe for both and add it to the bottom of this post. Or I’ll keep it a family secret. You’ll just have to wait and see. Happy munching!