I had the most wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday.
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!