**Disclaimer: This blog post is about as old as the hills. I wrote it last year but didn't add any pictures, and then I absolutely forgot about it. But since it's sitting here all ready to go, I don't see any reason not to share it with the world! Hopefully I'll get my act together to start writing more timely posts soon.
One of the lovely things about Montreal in autumn is the changing of the leaves. Fall on the west coast looks very much the same as winter - wet -, but farther east, there's a definite changing of the seasons. The light shining through the living room window has a golden cast, there's a nip in the air, and the trees are aflame with different shades of red, orange and yellow. I absolutely love it. It's gotten cold enough at this point that I've had to upgrade my coat, though I haven't pulled out the heavy duty winter coat and boots yet (that's another stage entirely), and I'm getting a lot of use out of my drawer full of pashmina scarves. Autumn, in my opinion, is the greatest season for fashion. Also for food.
Last week I did something that seems as quintessentially fall-ish as jumping in a leaf pile, yet being from the west coast, I had never done before. The school that I work at organizes all kinds of interesting activities for the students at the end of sessions and last Friday, we went apple picking. I'm sure I was the most excited person on the trip, and I must have looked like a very giddy (and nerdy) little kid bouncing around in the front of the bus as we prepared to leave. We drove about an hour out of Montreal to a place called Les Fromages du Verger (french for Cheese Orchard) in St-Joseph-du-Lac and, after a short tractor ride, were set free in the orchard. We wandered about in a dreamy autumn haze, happily picking to our hearts content and filling our bags to the brim with Spartan, Empire and Cortland apples. About two hours later, we got back on the bus feeling very satisfied with ourselves and headed home.
So then I found myself with a huge bag of crisp, ruddy apples and I thought, "What else is there to do, really?" So I made an apple pie.
Now, first of all, I don't really like apple pie. There's just something about the texture of cooked apples that I can't handle. My husband thinks I'm a crazy person, and maybe he's right. But when one finds oneself with a bumper crop of perfect apples, so eager to be cuddled up in pastry with a bit of cinnamon and sugar, well...let's just say, I didn't feel I had a choice.
Also, I had just found this apple pie recipe in the newspaper that called specifically for Cortland, the very variety I had stocked up on that day. Now, do you call that providence or what?
as seen in the Gazette, Wednesday October 3rd, 2012
For the pie:
6 cups of thinly sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 T heavy cream
1 recipe single-crust pie
**I made my pie crust, which I always think tastes better, but I'm sure it would be just fine if you use a store bought crust. Just make sure it's fresh and not freezerburnt! Nothin' worse than a freezerburnt crust.
For the crumble:
1 cup oats (not the minute kind)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the apples, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl and set aside to marinate for a few minutes. In another bowl, combine the crumble ingredients and blend, using a fork, a pastry cutter, or your fingers. Fill the pie crust with the apples. (The apples will shrink while they bake, so put in more than you think you need. Pile 'em high!) Sprinkle the crumble mix on the top and drizzle cream all over it. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is a nice golden brown. For optimum results, let sit for an hour or so until the juices have firmed up.
I have to say, for a non apple pie lover, this baby was pretty good. I actually ate an entire slice and enjoyed it, which is really saying something for me. Top it off with a spot of whipped cream and you've got yourself a pie to be proud of!