This weekend, I did a fall activity I've been talking about every year since I moved here. That's right; I went apple picking. In previous years, apple season has eluded me. It's surprisingly short, you know. There's a fine line between un-ripe and completely picked over. And it's funny how popular picking your own fruit can be. I don't know why they don't have places to reap and grind your own wheat, too. Actually, they probably do somewhere.
My friends and I drove a good hour and a half into the Hudson Valley in search of the elusive organic orchard. This was done to appease my friend with a social conscience (for the record, I'm pro-organic too!), but had the dual perk of making it possible for us to eat apples directly off the trees without fear of pesticide poisoning. I wish I had pictures of the beautiful trees and us picking delicious fruit from them, but unfortunately they're stuck on my camera. I lost my cord a while ago, and these pictures ended up on my camera's internal memory. Did you know you can't buy a camera cord without contacting the manufacturer? I didn't until today! But that's really neither here nor there. Suffice is to say, you'll just have to use your imagination.
Naturally, the joy of apple picking is that you return from a day of basking in the crisp fall weather with several bushels of apples. The curse of apple picking is also that you return with several bushels of apples. Once divided amongst all of us, the apples were a more manageable quantity. Still, it's far too many apples for me to eat just for snacking (I go through apples at the doctor approved one per diem), without risking losing some. The solution of course was to start baking. My first apple project was a pie. I was careful to make sure this pie ended up on my memory card. Behold:It's vegan, made without refined sugar, and made with apples from an organic orchard. I'm ready for my New Age foodie badge now.
For those interested in the recipe, I got the crust recipe from my roommate's sister-in-law.
Vegan Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 cup margarine/vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 tsp salt
1 T vinegar
5-8 T water (give or take)
Put everything, minus the water, in the food processor and pulse to achieve course crumbs. Then slowly add water until mixture forms a ball. In my food processor this is also accompanied by a loud noise and shaking. My food processor is kind of old, I think. Refrigerate in a ball until ready to roll out. Makes two crusts.
For the actual pie, I used the recipe for "Amazing Apple Pie" from my roommate's vegan cookbook (she's the actual vegan; I just very occasionally moonlight). Specifically: How It All Vegan!.
6-8 large baking apples (I used a mix of about 5 species pulled from my grab bag. I would be hard pressed to tell you which ones)
3/4 c maple syrup (I used a mix of maple syrup and agave syrup because I ran out of maple)
1-2 T lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 T corn starch or arrowroot powder
First, you peel, core, and dice the apples. Then boil them in water for about 8 minutes. Drain them, but set aside 1/4 cup of the "apple water." Mix the apples with the syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Then heat on medium the 1/4 cup apple water with the corn starch until it becomes thick (if you use arrowroot powder, as I did, it forms a sort of gel). Add the thickened mixture to the apples. Pour everything into your crust. Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.
If you perform all of these steps correctly, you should end up with an apple pie. I know I did.