My grandiose springtime schemes regarding intense and methodical orchard spraying barely manifested as multiple squirts. So much for idle boasting. Well, even though I wrought a mere fraction of my intended insecticidal and fungicidal mayhem, I did have the best year growing apples I’ve ever had. Which isn’t saying much! But I have some edible fruit from multiple trees, and have faith that were I to actually competently manage my orchard, for a change, I could do a lot better. A teensy bit of effort paid off at least a teensy bit, and I’ve got a pretty good-tasting pie to show for it. So I’m encouraged.
It’s interesting how my cooking habits change, when I know that I’m pretty much the only person who will be willing to actually eat the thing. When it’s just me, I leave the peels on and don’t do a lattice crust. It’s more rustic, less effete. Someday, I’ll have my woodsman cottage/man cave, and will disappear for days at a time, occasionally making myself pies like this with nobody around to witness it, in a wood-fired oven that chars the top crust. And I’ll eat spit-roasted rabbits, drink my own hard cider, write with a real pen on real paper (instead of this ghastly plastic doodad), and care not a fig for your world of electricity and obligations and polite conversation. Someday!
This pie, I added a bit of sugar, just on the off chance that my kids decide that they don’t mind the extra protein that my apples feature and brave a bite. Yes, sugar is a sneaky trick, to make them like my pie more. I nearly added cinnamon, because Forrest claims to prefer it that way, but then I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I want to taste my backyard, here, and not the local flora of Sri Lanka. Or lemons from California, even though they keep the color lighter. It’s bad enough that I had to import my flour, butter, and sugar from out of state. (I should have used my neighbor's honey. Next time.)
The flavor was really good—stronger than usual, maybe because of the peels. (Or perhaps the curculio....) I used a combination of varieties, but mostly Jonathan and Lady. Maybe a Northern Spy. I wasn’t keeping track. And I wasn’t being calculating, here, balancing varieties and flavors. Beggars can’t be choosers, so I just popped in whatever actually seemed ripe and not so riddled with battle scars that there was still some relatively unscathed flesh to use. I’m pleased that my namesake tree is my best producer. Believe in yourself, that’s what I always say.
The chickens will enjoy the nasty apple bits I pared off.