I have 6 bushels packed away to store for the winter; I've made 10 pints of applesauce and enough filling for 5 apple pies; have given away apples to friends and the local soup kitchen; and I still have 3 or 4 bushels to do what with? Apple-ginger chutney? More pies? Apple clafoutis...definitely yes. And maybe even some apple butter.
Water to cover
Honey, optional ( if your apples are very sweet, you may not need additional sweetener)
1. Core apples, but do not peel (you'll get a lovely pink sauce from red apples). Cut into chunks.
2. Put apples in large pot and add water to just cover the fruit.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer until apples are soft.
4. Put apples through a food mill and discard the peels.
5. Taste applesauce and add a little honey if you think it needs sweetening.
6. Pour into wide-mouthed freezer jars to fill-line and freeze. Enjoy with a roast chicken or turkey this winter.
As Easy as Pie... Not!
The pie crust recipe I like the best is the one with a lattice crust from Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining, by Haley Mason and Bill Staley. I've made a couple of changes, though, substituting palm sugar for maple sugar and lard (yes, lard) for palm shortening. So, just so you should know from the get-go, this pie crust is a pain in the butt to make...and one of the most delicious pie crusts ever, Paleo or no. Probably because I used lard that was room temperature, I had to use a ton of arrowroot, a lot of which ended up on my kitchen counters and floor, and dogs do not clean up spilled arrowroot off the floor the way they clean up say, spilled turkey gravy or ice cream. The dough was not very stiff, so making a lattice top crust was out of the question. The strips I cut looked like a kindergartner had snipped them with plastic scissors. So, I abandoned the lattice and used a cookie cutter to cut out dough flowers for the top, instead. They don't exactly look like flowers, but I think the pie looks kind of rustic. The important thing, though, is that it tastes fabulous. So, come Thanksgiving, I'll roll up my sleeves, do some yoga breathing, and tackle this pie again.
Now, about that easy filling: one of the things I did with our apple bounty was to make enough filling for six pies and then freeze the filling in aluminum pie tins, and then put the filled tins in freezer bags. When it was time to bake the pie, I just popped the frozen filling into the partially-baked crust, no need to defrost it. This is a handy hint from Janet Chadwick's book, The Beginner's Guide to Preserving Food at Home. Of course, you can also make the filling fresh.
Filling (adapted from Country Pies)
1 TBS plus 1 1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
2/3 cup palm (coconut) sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 cups peeled, sliced apples (about 5 large apples), tossed in 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1. Combine arrowroot, palm sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add apples and toss (filling may be frozen at this point if you are not going to use it right away).
Crust (adapted from Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining)
3 cups blanched almond flour
1 1/4 cup arrowroot, plus more for dusting (lots more, trust me)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup palm sugar
1 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 cup lard (I use Fatworks Pure Lard, ordered online. If you don't want to use lard, you can use the same amount of palm shortening. The recipe from Gather calls for melting the shortening, but I would use the lard at room temperature or cold)
2 eggs, whisked
1 egg white for wash on top of the pie
2. Combine almond flour, arrowroot, salt, baking soda and palm sugar in a bowl.
3. Add vanilla and lard and mix in.
4. Add whisked eggs and combine.
5. Make a ball out of the dough and add arrowroot as needed to make it "rollable".
6. Lay out parchment paper and dust with arrowroot. Place dough on paper, dust with more arrowroot and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick.
7. Remove top piece of parchment paper. Place the pie pan upside down on the rolled-out dough and cut around the rim of the pan, leaving half an inch of extra dough. Remove the excess dough and use for topping.
8. Carefully turn over the pan with the dough--it will sink into the pan. If you need to make repairs, you can use some of the excess dough. Crimp the edge of the crust.
9. Prick the dough several times with a fork, and bake crust for 15 minutes.
10. While it is baking, roll out the remaining dough, using the same method as in Step 6, above. Cut shapes out with cookie cutter.
11. Remove crust from oven and fill with fresh or frozen pie filling.
12. Carefully place cut out dough on top of the filling, with pieces overlapping each other (don't worry if they break, you can always roll and cut them out again)
13. Brush top of pie with egg white, put back in the oven, and bake 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Whew! It took me most of the afternoon, including washing the floor and counters. But so, so good. My husband and I ate 1/3 of the pie the first night, and finished it off the next two nights. We did not even share it with the dogs...we were so greedy!