I made an apple pie the other day strictly for medicinal purposes. I know, many people will probably find that an odd excuse to make this tasty dessert but I needed a little food for the soul, if you will, and I knew an apple pie would fit the bill. Another reason why I needed an apple pie is because of the anticipation I feel every fall when I visit my good friend, Jim Kudek, who sells apples, mostly on Saturdays, at his little stand in Lake Tomahawk. In my opinion, this man is the guru of all apple varieties. He knows the sweet from the tart, the bakers from the saucers and for certain the best pie types.
I have found over the years that the best apple pies include a variety of apple types. For example, I like a good tart apple in a pie mixed in with a couple of sweeter varieties. Sometimes I add a good sauce apple for a creamier texture or every once in a while I like the flavor of an heirloom variety like the Wolf River.
Of course, my friend, Jim, always guides me in the right direction when I announce my intentions. And if I have any doubts on what a certain apple variety might taste like, Jim extracts a small knife and pares off samples so I can taste for myself the varieties he has for sale.
For me, the process of just seeing my friend and purchasing his apples is good for the soul. This fall I delighted in traveling the back roads on little apple road trips, reveling in the beautiful fall color we have had. That alone is an uplifting experience.
Once I chose just the right apples to use I peeled them carefully and then blended the rest of the ingredients. I carefully constructed my pie and then waited for another part half of my “therapy” -the aroma of it baking. When the pie was finished I placed it on my counter and then stood over it, inhaling deeply. It was just what I needed.
I can remember making my first apple pie. I was in eighth grade and thought this endeavor to be a complicated one indeed and so enlisted the help of my grandma, who was a superb pie baker. However, she wasn’t much for measuring. I got a lot of responses like, “oh just a pinch,” or “about a handful” or “a little more than a cup should do” to my ingredient questions, which was exasperating for a newbie.
But today that’s how I make my pies. And while they almost always never turn out the same, they are all declared delicious whenever I share them with family or friends.
This week I included my “recipe” for apple pie as it was taught to me but you can adjust it as you see fit. A lot depends on the apple types you choose to use which you can learn about if you visit Jim in Lake Tomahawk.
And you might want to think about doing that because, you wouldn’t believe what an apple pie can do for your spirit. And I’m speaking medicinally of course.
6 to 8 apples, peeled, cored and diced
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 to 3 tsp. cinnamon
2 to 3 Tbs. maple syrup or molasses
1/2 stick cold butter
2 prepared pie crusts
Prepare apples and place in a bowl. Add additional ingredients except butter and mix well. Spread apple mixture in one pie crust that has been placed in a 9-inch pie plate. Slice the butter thinly and dot over apple mixture. Top with the other pie crust and pinch edges together. Cut slits in crust for venting. Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over top crust. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake pie for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.