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Saturday: Hey! It’s Apple Picking Season

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Ran across this purported image of Rep. Jason Chaffetz’ business card in my Twitter timeline. Huh…has the GOP-led Congress cut funding to Congress’ information technology so tightly that they’ve outsourced email services to Google and didn’t even buy a domain which might appear to be something other than Gmail?

It’s apple picking season here, though after our first frost and snow this week in my neighborhood I’ll be doing less picking than buying. I’m going to make some baked apples, apple crisp, and the Impossible French Apple Pie recipe below. What about you — do you harvest anything special like apples or other autumn fruits and vegetables of the season?

Impossible French Apple Pie
Serves 6

Ingredients:

Pie filling:
3-4 cups sliced peeled apples (3-4 large)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 TBSP butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Streusel:
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cold

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325ºF.
Grease well a 9-inch glass pie plate.
In medium bowl, mix apples, cinnamon and nutmeg; place in pie plate.
In medium bowl, stir remaining filling ingredients until well blended.
Pour over apple mixture in pie plate.
In small bowl, mix all streusel ingredients with pastry cutter or fork and knife until crumbly; sprinkle over filling.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Store in refrigerator.

Cook’s notes:
— Firm, tart apples give the best results. Not so much Macintosh or Jonamacs which tend to be soft.
— I use half-and-half white and brown sugar instead of all white. The result is moister and more flavorful.
— I prefer chopped walnuts, but use any you’d prefer, or omit altogether.
— Try substituting an equal measure of pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon and nutmeg for a slightly different twist.
— Butter is best versus margarine; if you must use margarine, use one with higher oil content for best results.
— VANILLA. The real thing is best here. May be omitted.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
16 replies
    • Rayne says:

      Huh. I didn’t think of apple beer! We have quite a few cider makers around here, comes to mind more quickly. Apple beer would be perfect for those not-so-pretty apples at the very end of the season. Thanks for the recipe!

  1. P J Evans says:

    My mother would slice apples and saute them, then they were used as a topping for waffles. It was “applesauce”, sorta. (Actual cooked-to-mush applesauce is fine on waffles, too. Finger food!)

    • Rayne says:

      I do that, too, works best with firm apples. Saute them in butter, add a splash of vanilla and a tablespoon or two of brown sugar toward the end. Cinnamon optional. Served over French toast here — delicious.

  2. TomVet says:

    You didn’t include the pie crust instructions. Do you make from scratch or use store-bought?

    I’m reminded of my mother who could not for the life of her make a pie crust. Although her mother and sisters who all used the same recipe were aces at pie baking, Mom could never master it. I don’t know to this day what her hang-up was with that one thing.

    • Rayne says:

      This pie doesn’t have a crust. The batter holds it together. It’s closer to a clafoutis than a traditional pie baked in a crust.

      I make crust — it’s just that nobody in my family particularly likes it, and the eldest can’t even eat this version because of the gluten in the baking mix. I end up making this in a gluten-free version, or apple crisp with gluten-free oats, almond meal, and chopped nuts.

      When I was a young girl my mom hadn’t yet mastered pie crust. Her mother had died too early to demonstrate the right technique. Wasn’t until an older female friend showed my mom the “secrets” of crust making that she got it right: 1) COLD water — like ice water cold; 2) COLD surface for rolling; 3) not too much flour, just enough or it will be brittle during handling; 4) let the dough rest in refrigerator after mixing it, or it will be tough; 5) handle during rolling as little as possible.

      And I’ve found the fat used makes an enormous difference. I prefer a 50/50 mixture of butter and shortening. Never margarine.

      Damn it, now I’ll have to make an apple pie in a crust just because. LOL

      • P J Evans says:

        Replace half the ice-water with vodka, and it’s even closer to never-fail. Gluten doesn’t form chains in alcohol, and that’s what makes the crust tough.

        (Even with someone around who knows how, it’s still a bit tricky sometimes. I remember my sister’s first tries.)

        • Rayne says:

          I’ve heard that, but I hate to ‘waste’ vodka on something like pie crust. If I were entering a pie in a competition, sure, I’d invest the vodka. But making a pie some family member won’t eat because gluten or cousins may inhale without noting the extra flakiness of the crust? LOL

          I’ll just save the vodka to get hammered on after eating the pie by myself.

          Thanks for the pointer, though, PJ. Maybe I should try it next summer for the county fair and enter my peach streusel pie made with vodka-crust.

  3. martin says:

    “Damn it, now I’ll have to make an apple pie in a crust just because. LOL”\

    ,,,,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!.Fresh homemade. apple pie..in a crust. Damn Rayne..you’re torturing me. The only thing better is a shot of vodka afterwords.

  4. martin says:

    Ok ok ok. When I was just a kid, my grandma made what I was told was a “cobbler”.  Didn’t matter the season,  apple, peach, cherry’s, blackberry, apricot,…you name it. Once a month.  A big pot of fresh fruit of the month, usually picked off her orchard of so many fruit trees it’s one of my best memories.  With sugar, and whatever, with the best homemade biscuits on top, browned to perfection… mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. fuck. I’d kill for a nice hot bowl of bubbling hot cobbler, on a snowy, cold Sunday afternoon.  god. That was 70 yrs ago. Haven’t found anyone yet that could make it the way she did.

  5. martin says:

    Oh…I forgot. In the summer.. a big scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top.  fuck.  You can’t buy perfection. Only grandmas can make it.

    • Rayne says:

      Best pie and best ice cream I ever had: neighbor mom made Concord Grape pie, served with vanilla custard ice cream her husband made in a couple big cans using chipped block ice and rock salt.

      It’s among the top ten best ever food experiences of my lifetime, like a distillation of the last week of August in Ohio circa 1970.

  6. bloopie2 says:

    How about those Cleveland Indians?  50+ years of loving my city in bad times and bad, and now it’s all there.  God bless America. YES !!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. bloopie2 says:

    My Mom, born to immigrant parents in 1919, cooked and baked so well, so much, that I can’t remember if her apple pies were special—though I’m sure they were. Did I know the difference between pie and cobbler? Not at all. She was just great—meat and potatoes and one or two vegetables for dinner, then always dessert. The last few years she was in a nursing home, not herself at all. If I work at it, I can make myself remember her as the cook, not as the invalid. So much better that way. Mom, I love you. You were the best.

    • Rayne says:

      That’s how I try to remember my great-grandmother. Not as the frail thing who couldn’t remember anybody at the end, but as the matriarch with 11 kids who taught how to make hard rolls by feel and whose cinnamon rolls would put Cinnabon out of business.

      I think she lived as long as she did and survived raising half her kids alone because of her nightly ‘medicine’ — a shot of blackberry brandy. I may have to adopt this preemptive therapy.

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