This past weekend we bundled up and drove out to “The Fruit Loop” outside of Hood River with new friends. We’ve found ourselves in Hood River numerous times since moving to Portland- there’s just so much to see and do. This time our goal was to explore the fruit orchards.
As the colors have began to change, Chris and I find ourselves reminiscing of Apple Hill off Hwy 50 on the way to Tahoe. Memories of taking the youth on orchard scavenger hunts, scouting out the best deal for “seconds” for pie baking, tasting fudge, visiting new wineries, admiring the views, and of course sweating- seeing that we usually were up there at the first sight of fall- busting out our new scarfs and boots, but later regretting it because it was still 80 degrees. Oh Sacramento...
Well there was no sweating on the Fruit Loop, it rained the whole time, but we embraced it, as the spoils were worth the weather!
|Chris had enough fruit loop and was ready for pie time!|
We came home with a lovely collection of treasures. They were so pretty, I didn’t want to eat them… OK that’s a lie. While Chris was away at class, I decided to embark on an apple pie. Outside of directing our students in mass production for a pie sale to raise money last year, this was my first individual Apple Pie experience.
There are a few ladies I would like to dedicate this blog to, first of all- Grandma Alyce Ratcliff: Chris’ late mom’s mother. She has become a dear family member to me and I’m always watching her in the kitchen. She knows her stuff. It’s her recipe that I’m choosing to share. But she gives the crumble top’s credit to Chris’ mother Pat, who was also known as a baker extraordinaire. I mean the woman would make cakes in a crock pot!
Alyce's Apple Pie with Pat's Crumble Top:
3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on tartness of apples)
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
6 to 7 cups sliced pared apples ( that is about 6-8 apples)
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 tbs. butter
2/3 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
Heat oven to 425.
I don't have a fancy peeler, but I used my carrot peeler and it worked just fine. I then added the lemon juice as I went to keep the apples from browning and staying fresh.
Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour in a separate bowl. I always think of my Grandmother Shirley from Great Falls, Montana, because she put nutmeg and a little hand grinder in my stocking one year. I'm still chiseling away at it- I think I may have a life supply of those nuts! They are so beautiful though! Look at the inside! Thanks Grandma!
Now remember, I'm a novice, and baking is not usually my thing... so I cheated. Here's to Pillsbury! I'll add one more shout out to Elisabeth Sisson who has supplied me with several little take home dishes thanks to her impeccable garage sale skills!
I like to go for the ever-so-imperfect look on the crust. It's more homey that way. :-)
Mix the dried goods lightly through apples. Heap mixture in pastry-lined pie pan. Dot with butter.
Combine flour, brown sugar and butter and beat or fork until in crumbly balls of goodness. Add to top of pie evenly.
Cover edges with strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 50-60 min, or until crust is nicely browned & apples are cooked through (test with fork). Grandma later emailed me to say she thought the 425 sounded a bit high and would turn it down to 350 after 20 min, but mine turned out great- and Chris likes a bit of a crunch on top!
Always serve with Grandma's gift pie server. I think she gave it to me on the first Christmas we spent at her house. It's very special. Nostalgia is always good when baking. Makes for a sweet experience.