After trying to deny it for months, I'm finally declaring, "I have a problem".
I can't stop baking.
Ryan and I are visiting our families in Colorado for the holidays. We've been staying with my parents, and last night my mom and dad hosted a beautiful Christmas dinner. After years of being too sick to cook or bake, my mom was thrilled to take over again. She spent weeks in preparation, and last night we sat down to one of the most appetizing and beautiful holiday meals.
"I want you to relax," she told me. "Don't worry about bread or dessert. You deserve a break." And I nodded my head because I have been tired...I have felt like I needed a rest. So I ordered rolls from Great Harvest Bread Company. I made pie dough and gave the discs to my younger sister to do with them what she liked. "I"m going to sit back and relax," I told myself. But come Christmas Eve, my body went into panic.
"How can we have Christmas without apple pie?" I wondered. "How can we not bite into one of those sweet wheat rolls?"
I paced around the kitchen, asking my family for their opinions...but deep down, I already knew the answer. I needed to bake.
So despite my intentions, I rolled up my sleeves and poured myself into pies, cookies, rolls, and breads. I found myself laughing more, smiling wider, and beaming like a proud parent when I pulled my creations out of the oven.
"I just can't help myself," I told my family when the table was finally arrayed with all my baked creations. They all looked at each other and laughed...and then we all dug in.
This pie is simple. Granny Smith apples are thinly sliced and adorned with just a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. The apples are placed into an all-butter pastry and then covered with a spice-filled crumb topping.
The pie presents beautifully, but it tastes even better. The crunch from the nuts in the topping pairs well with the soft apples and the flaky crust. The spice from the cinnamon and the cloves adds just the right amount of flavor to balance the sweetness. I had to fiercely guard the last slices of this pie so that I could be sure to capture these pictures. After taking my shots, both slices were claimed and are now gone.
I hope you all are enjoying time with your friends and your family. I am sipping on coffee and waiting to go to lunch with my mom and sisters. I miss Colorado more than I realized, and I'm beginning to dread going home. Austin is special, but it isn't family. I hope that I can keep my spirits up come Thursday morning!
1 disc of pie pastry
6 cups of thinly sliced Granny Smith Apples (about 3-4 large)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP flour
3 TBSP butter (cold and cut into small squares)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1. Preheat your oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pie dough to fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Carefully transfer dough to your pan. Press dough into pan and flute the edges. Using a fork, poke holes into the bottom and the sides of your pie pastry (this will prevent it from puffing while in the oven).
2. Combine your sliced apples, granulated sugar, lemon juice and flour in a large bowl. Stir to combine, being careful to not break your apple slices. Pour your apples into your prepared pie crust.
3. In a small bowl, cut your butter into your brown sugar and flour until small crumbs form (you can use two forks, a pastry cutter or my preferred method--your fingers). After mixture is crumbly, stir in toasted pecans. Generously sprinkle topping over your apples.
4. Place pie on a baking sheet and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an addition 25 minutes or until crust is lightly golden and the apples are done.
5. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores