Schatzi: Portland has been beautifully autumnal this past week, with crisp, sunny days and cold nights, and most surprisingly, no rain! Capitalizing on the perfect weather, I made an apple pie last week. It’s not the prettiest of pictures–maybe I should have styled it–but it tasted damn fine. Unfortunately for you, I can’t share the recipe, as Maiya was sworn to secrecy, but I have a few things to say about it.
I used some of my heirloom apples, Cox’s Orange Pippins, to be specific, and if you can find them, I urge you to use them. Or to try any one or a melange of heirloom varieties, because the apples in this pie were the finest pie apples I or Eli have ever tasted. They were firm, kept their shape, and had a perfect bite, and also had amazing apple flavor which was not masked by sugar and spices. Cox’s Orange Pippin is by far my all-time favorite apple. Martha Stewart Living also has an heirloom apple pie recipe this month, check it out.
As per Maiya’s recipe, I used a patty-pan crust. These are great for me, since I no longer have a rolling pin, and am actually short of flat surfaces in my apartment–other than the floors. There is no shame in patty-pan crusts; they’re quick and tasty, and you can find several in both The Joy of Cooking and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Rather than a top crust, this pie has a crumble topping evocative of other simple desserts like Apple Brown Betty. I also used brown sugar instead of white for superior caramel flavor, and dashes of both ginger and allspice–not just cinnamon and nutmeg. Though the Cox’s Orange Pippin apples have no need of heavy spicing to augment their already delicious taste, a little extra spice is always nice.