Since we had such a great time picking apples last year, we went back to Applewood Farm Winery in Stouffeville, Ontario last weekend. This time, we brought the dog!! It was a totally different vibe this year, too. First and foremost, there were different apples available at the farm. Last year, we went on the first wekeend in October, and it was all Honey Crisp all the time! This year, although we went on the same weekend in October, the Spartans and Spencers were in season. [We also managed to pick up some of the last of the Cortlands for our pies.] The weather was absolutely balmy, too. We were coatless by lunch. This made for a pleasant lunch out among the apple boughs – with hotdogs and fries from the new-and-improved food truck there at the farm. The pick-your-own raspberries were an added bonus!
The Cortland apples we picked made for fantastic Thanksgiving Day pies!
Here’s our recipe….with pictures of our apple-picking adventures below.
2.5 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1.5 sticks/12 tbs cold unsalted butter, cubed
.5 c cold vegetable shortening, cubed
.25 c vodka
.25 c ice-cold water
In a food processor, pulse 1.5 c flour, salt and sugar until combined.
Add the butter and shortening and process until the dough becomes clumpy.
Add the other 1 c flour and pulse until mixture is combined but still clumpy.
Add the vodka 1 tbs at a time, pulsing sparingly.
Add the ice-cold water 1 tbs at a time, pulsing sparingly, until the dough just sticks together.
Divide the dough in half.
Flatten each half into a disk.
Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling and baking.
Apple Pickin’ Pie Filling
4-5 c peeled, cored, thick sliced apples – we used about 5-6 very large cortlands
brown and/or white sugar
We don’t use flour or starch or other thickeners – but, then, it’s your pie! Feel free to add what you like.
As you slice your apples, add sugar by the tablespoon and cinnamon by the 1/4 teaspoon to taste.
Stir this mixture as you go so that the apples are coated in a lovely sweet syrup.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
Roll each crust into a flat round circle.
[I find that rolling the dough between two pieces of gently floured waxed paper works most effectively.]
Place one crust in the pie plate, leaving the edges of the disc hanging about 1 inch over the edges.
[Optional] Place a ceramic pie vent (bird) in the center of the pie.
Fill the pie with the apple mixture as high as you like. [Just don't cover the top of your pie vent]
Scatter the cubes of butter over the top of the apple mixture.
[Optional] Slice an “x” or a small circle in the center of the top crust if you are using a pie vent.
Place the crust over the top of your pile of apples [accomodating the tip of your pie vent if you are using one].
Pinch the edges of the crust together, trim them, and crimp them to your taste [i.e. fork, fingers freestyle].
[Optional] Brush the crust with a beaten egg yolk.
[Optional] Cover the edges of the pie with a metal pie rim or with tin foil if you so choose.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 F.
Bake for an additional 20-40 minutes, until the apples look baked/you can slice through them fairly easily.
It’s pie, people. Eat it as soon as you can bite into it without burning your tongue. And then eat the rest for breakfast.
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October 1, 2011
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve thought about going apple picking. This year, we finally did it.
We made the effort to reserve a car a month in advance, and we spent a bit of time asking our friends about their favourite places (thanks everyone!) and tooling around the web to investigate orchards outside of Toronto.
We wanted to travel to a place that would prove the Goldilocks-equivalent of “just right,” a pick-your-own orchard and pumpkin patch without too much of a circus or amusement-park vibe.
On the coldest-yet Saturday of the Fall (about 9 Celsius for the high), we got out our coats, hats, and gloves and set out on a 40 minute drive to Applewood Farm Winery in Stouffeville, Ontario.
We got there nice and early, a bit before 10am, parking just outside the entrance to the farm. (It got crowded an hour later, so we were glad we arrived when we did!)
After we paid the minimal entrance fee, the kids tackled the giant “hay bale” in the quaint, compact play area.
Tobes braved the ramp as we waited for the tractor to arrive to cart us out to the orchards.
Bliss! Their “petting zoo” consisted of a pen with three engaging sheep!
As the tractor pulled up, Bea grabbed a 20lb bag to “pick her own.”
After an exciting tractor pull [Sorry, we don't flash and ride!], the kids got right to work on their “twist and pull” technique.
Of course, they had to sample the Honey Golds before they picked them.
A few of the Honey Golds were still wearing their “Leafs Hats,” as Tobes said.
After working so well with the Honey Golds, Tobes gets the Honey Crisp -off down to a science.
Here!! Have one! Don’t you want to try a Honey Crisp, too?
Still crunching and picking simultaneously! The tart, red Empire apple is the favourite of the day.
When you rub the Empire apples on your coat, they go from cloudy purple to shiny red!
And, oh, look! Someone lost her already-loose tooth in one!
Skipping down between the Honey Crisps and Empires while singing the Star Wars theme.
Bea delves into the depths of the larger Cortland trees for some pie apples.
It’s the Cortland Double Trouble! Shall we put it in our October 1oth Thanksgiving pies?
No, No! Tobes says. Let’s get all Empires. Then, they can be Star Wars Thanksgiving pies!
Engulfed in Cortland branches, but eating only Empires, now.
Spartan? Who are you calling a Spartan?
Who are you calling a Spartan, fuzzball? [The photographer [moi] was wearing her leopard coat!]
After we packed up the trunk with apples, we took a detour through the easy-to-tackle corn maze.
Then, off to the pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for our Thanksgiving [and, hopefully, Halloween] decorations.
[OOPS! Too busy pumpkin-lifting to snap any snaps in the pumpkin patch!]
Then, fresh from pumpkin picking, Tobes leads the way back through the corn maze to the playground.
A quick hello from the little green playhouse.
And a how-do-you-do apple pickers from the tiny blue barn.
Finally, a few “opening strategies” on the giant chess board before hitting the road.
The apples are in the basement “cooler,” now. But, have a look at these beauties on our front steps!
Thanks Applewood, we had a fabulous time!
But…..Oh no! We totally forgot to hit the apple Winery before we left!
Weren’t the kids asking to “go back again next year,” anyway?
“Or how about next weekend?”