Fall, what’s not to love? Two weekends ago I rented a house with close friends in the Hudson Valley, about two hours away from New York City. It was a weekend of fall-themed fun. In addition to taking home some great memories, I also took home some delicious apples from an apple orchard visit. Given my renewed interest in cooking, I decided to use the apples to bake an apple pie for the first time with surprisingly successful results for a novice baker. Here is the super simple recipe:

Pie Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup lard (I used butter instead)

1/3 cup cold water

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

1. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together water, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Stir into flour mixture and knead dough briefly, just until smooth. Allow to rest 15 minutes before rolling out. Pastry is easier to work with when chilled. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Apple Pie:

Original Recipe 1 - 9 inch pie

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (packed just means to pack it in the cup)

8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced (I used Mutsu apples)

Option: Cinammin (I used this with the apple mixture) 

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (I cooked at 350 degrees F the entire time per some suggestions). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.

2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust (Google how to lattice a pie for easy instructions on how to do this—I found that it is easy when the dough for the strips are thicker, and hence, you want more dough for this part). Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust (I did not pour over the crust but put it in prior to doing the lattice work). Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft (I basted the lattice top crust with beaten egg prior to cooking and sprinkled sugar and cinammin on the crust when there was 15 minutes left of baking).

As an aside, I also fell in love with the Hudson Valley (more on that in future posts) and will share a few treasures I found up there!