Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Gift and Apple Pie - Good Cook Style

I had the most wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday.

A gift.

From the heart.

Is there anything better?

It was actually three gifts.

A beautiful handmade shopping bag (right up my Green Alley)

My daughter-in-law makes and sells these bags. How perfect is this for apple picking and fall shopping?

and two hand written thank you notes from my grandlittles. Click on the image below to read their message:

All three are instant heirlooms of my life. Keepers. Treasures. Something to smile about every time they are taken out for viewing or use. I put the thank-you notes in my special little photo album, right next to their pictures that I took while babysitting for them.

Sometimes the smallest things make our days the very best.

This is the apple pie I baked for my son, DIL and littles during my visit. You already have the ultimate pie crust recipe - now here's the ultimate filling.

Harvest Apple Pie*: (makes 1 big delicious pie)

Fresh apple pie with dried cherries and brown sugar streusel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a heavy, rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven.

3 pounds apples. Your choice - granny smith, macintosh or whatever you have picked yourself (the best choice!) peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges, then 1/2 inch cubes. (about 7 cups)

1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (this is optional, but oh so good)

1 cup flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (quick oats are okay)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and salt. Using a fork or your fingers blend the butter into the mixture. It will be very moist. Set aside.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the sugar mixture to the apples and toss well. Stir in the cherries.
Mound the filling in the pie crust. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the apple mixture, pressing the streusel between your fingers into small lumps. Put the pie on the preheated rack. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, rotating the pie half way through baking. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before cutting. The pie can be stored at room temp. for up to 2 days.

* Adapted from Fine Cooking. Oct/Nov 2009 issue.

A Cook's Notes: Pears work extremely well in place of the apples and make for a nice change. I am making this pie to take to a dinner party on Friday night. The guests of honor are from Scotland and I thought a slice of Americana would be appropriate!


  1. Enjoy your gifts and your Scottish guests! I am curious to try your pie recipe with pears... I've never used pears in a pie before :)

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  3. Kathy B - I like the pear pie better than the apple - but you know, American as Apple Pie!

    Phoebe - I just recently found your blog. Seems we are like minded about food and food issues. Welcome!

  4. What a beautiful gift!!!!

  5. Did you place the second note next to a picture of the locked bathroom door?
    When I read that initial post it made me so thankful that we have a keys on top of a couple of the interior doors here. As my daughter gets older she may be able to lock us out, but she won't keep us out! Until your post I had never even thought about that.
    And how sweet for them to give you such lovely gifts. It's a reminder that heartfelt thank you's are much more touching than store bought gifts.

  6. Yaya - it really is beautiful isn't it? AND functional. My DIL knows I strive to be green!

    Whitney Lee - My DIL has since told me where they keep the key. LOL.. I'll be prepared next time that little pulls a locked door on me. I wasn't born yesterday ...

  7. Arghhhh, I loved the notes, what an amazing thing to keep hold of.

  8. Good recipe... Michigan swims in cider and bobs for apples this time of year!

  9. What a fantastic post! I adored how you opened this up. The notes and the bag you received in the mail are fantastic and definitely deserving of that special spot in your photo album.

    Thank you for this.

  10. This apple pie sounds wonderful and the streusel topping is a perfect finish. Beautiful apple bag and sweet notes from the grand littles, too.

  11. Jeve - I have to make two pies today. One for dinner tonight (family) and one for dinner tomorrow (guests)...

    Eternally - The notes are my newest treasure item. I'm not one for bling, but give me from the heart and I go to pieces.

    Buffalo - freshly picked apples and apple cider. Does it get any better than that?

    Mayhem - thank you for your kind words and welcome!

    Marguerite - the streusle topping is crunchy, thick and sweet. A really nice change from a 2 crust pie.

  12. I like the bag. We are green when it comes to bags, too. I carry a roll-up bag in my purse and we have several for the grocery store. There really isn't any reason to get plastic, or paper bags when you shop, in my opinion.

    The pie sounds wonderful, and anything hand written from grandchildren is a treasure!

  13. That bag is great!

    I love that you call them grandlittles.

  14. Nancy - I am so with you on the bags. The stores around here actually give you a rebate for every bag you use of your own. How smart is that?

    Unknown - When they get a little older they will be grandmiddles. When they were first born they were my petite grandbabees. Confusing? Not to me!

  15. Hi Cook

    your apple back would make a nice market bag for the farmers' markets...

    Happy days


Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I love feedback... what with being a cook and all. I will respond to your comments via email (if you do not have a "noreply" address or here, below your comment) As always, Bon Appetite!

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