The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far

25 Jan

The Haas apple stand photo:Natalie Burdick

A while back, while I was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” I had a bona fide epiphany. Kingsolver writes about the complete lack of seasons in our current grocery store landscape. I realized for the first time in my life that I had no clue when things were naturally supposed to grow. I’d never even thought about it. I’d never grown any food, ever. We had a lawn, not a garden. No one I knew had a garden, we had never visited a working farm. I imagine then that my friends and I grew up eating produce from all over the world, all year round. Eating melons and berries in winter? Why wouldn’t we? The grocery store has a whole kiosk full of them, all the time. I decided that I ought to try to make an effort to eat the way people used to eat — dependent on what food was able to grow in their area seasonally and naturally instead of what was shipped in from another country.

That being said, my winter fruit selection admittedly only consists of one fruit, apples. I can never really tell when a persimmon is ripe (don’t lie, neither can you) and pomegranates are just kind of a lot of work, no? OK, just my opinion. Fortunately for me, I like every kind of apple. I love getting them from the farmers’ market and I even love driving out to the apple growing region in SoCal, Oak Glen, once a year to grab several sacks to get turned into applesauce and to get fresh apple donuts at Snow Line Orchard. But who can argue when I say the best destiny for an apple is in mom’s apple pie? And like my mom, I think winter weather, especially the crummy kind we’ve had the past week, is best spent baking. Well, I missed said pie this year when I didn’t make it home for the holidays and now feel compelled to convince you all to bake it up and tell me it’s not heaven in edible form. I won’t pretend that it’s in any way healthy, but it is damn good.

Candied Walnut Apple Pie

1 completed pie crust recipe-use your favorite recipe or use a frozen “deep dish” pie shell and defrost; either way, make sure you have enough for a BIG pie

1 ½ cups sour cream
1 egg
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
6 large peeled and sliced baking apples

1 whole stick of butter (and use the real deal) cut into small pieces
½ cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

• Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
• Press finished pie crust into sturdy deep dish pie pan
• Combine sour cream, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and salt in a large bowl
• Add sliced apples to bowl, stirring to coat
• Pour contents into pie pan and place in oven
• Bake 10 minutes
• Reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake another 35-40 minutes
• For topping blend together butter, flour, sugars, salt and nuts
• After pie is baked, remove from oven and stir filling gently but thoroughly
• Place topping mixture all over top of pie-heat from the pie will soften the topping
• Return the pie to 350 degree oven for another 15 minutes
• Cool completely before slicing
• Stuff your face; call your mom and tell her you love her


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