We need to begin fall with a good attitude.
Ok, not a fan of autumn. Yes, I do like textured tights and sleek leather boots, but waking up at six thirty in the morning and finding that the window thermometer reads 40 degrees is like a dive into depression land.
Hate (HATE) cold weather.
But we have apples – red, green, yellow, mixed, tart and sweet, crisp and tender.
So I take a breath, hiss ‘autumn, can’t stand you’, but start gathering flour, sugar, sweet butter and cinnamon.
Because I do love an honest All-American, golden, flaky, juicy, magnificent Apple Pie.
The heck with the food processor (and all its sharp parts to wash), just a sturdy bowl and my hands. Cut up that cool butter, ice the water, then mix it all up with the flour, feel the dry mass become moist under your fingers, emerge as a ball of soft dough; flatten it into a thick disc and chill. A few minutes, really, and you have what will become the most lovely pie crust. You don’t need those supermarket mixes, my friends, just four basic ingredients and magic happens. You’re in charge, you’re the boss, control your dough, it won’t fight back for long.
Roll it out with your favorite rolling pin (yes, I have a small collection and am proud of it, baking nerd that I am), watch with amazement as the humble ball of dough stretches into a cloth-like sheet, delicate yet manageable, thin and pliable, cascading in gentle folds from your hands. Lay it carefully in your pie pan, even it out, shape it, fold it, trim it, pinch it.
Pour in an abundance of golden, sugary, spiced apple chunks, dot it with those fresh unsalted butter pieces, check the oven, it should be at 400 degrees, to start the golden heat on your simple masterpiece.
Apple Pie for all, the glory of the most traditional American baking, the one up there, beloved, with Mom and our glorious flag.
Long live the All-American Apple Pie, high and juicy, proudly homemade!
Sure, I can deal with the shorter days of autumn: just give me apples.
Happy fall to you all, dear readers.
(I do have a recipe on this site, but only in Italian – for my readers across the pond. But just pick up any old cookbook, and the joy of an All-American apple Pie will surely smile on you.)