Last year, our apple picking excursion was just us three.
This year, we decided to make it a party.
We headed to Dr. Davie’s Farm Stand in Congers, N.Y. with a whole bunch of friends, and spent the afternoon using those big wooden things that I’ve never seen before in my life (because I grew up in New York City where where such things aren’t particularly useful) to pull apples off of the very highest branches. I have to say, I still love Warwick’s orchards – they’re huge, and right next to them are things like wine tasting places and petting zoos – but for a quick day trip to get pie-making supplies and hang out in the sun with friends, this was perfect.
Oh – and afterwards, we headed to this crazy BBQ place called Rick’s Club American with enormous faux animals hung all over the walls of the “Zoo Room”. If you’re in the area (and especially if you have kids): must-see.
P.S. If you want to do an apple orchard trip, go now. Like, this weekend. Once October hits, the trees are pretty much picked over.)
Best for eating: McIntosh, Pink Lady, Fuji, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Cortland
Best for baking: Empire, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, Braeburn, Cortland, Winesap (I usually combine a mix of several varieties in a single pie; it makes for more interesting flavor and texture)
What you need:
4-5 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I use a variety of kinds plucked from my list of the best apples for baking)
3/4 cup sugar (1/2 white, 1/2 brown)
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
2 unbaked deep-dish pie crusts, defrosted
What You Do:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the sugar, flour, and spices lightly through the apples.
3. Place the apple mixture into one deep-dish pie shell, and dot the butter in a few spots over the top.
4. Gently use your fingers to separate the second pie crust from the aluminum pan. Place gently over the top of the first pie crust and apples, so that it forms a top crust. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork to secure, gently removing any excess crust.
5. Cut a hole in the top of the pie (or stab it a few times with a fork), and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until golden brown.