Every year, my parents rent a cabin in Sedona. For those of you who do not live in Arizona, Sedona is like the land of milk and honey. It’s gorgeous, it’s small town enough to be adorable but big town enough to be artsy, it has a nice mix of town and nature, and the temperature is pretty mild all year long. It’s cooler than Phoenix but warmer than Flagstaff, where I live. It’s leaves go all manner of striking colors in the fall, and the red rocks serve as inspiration for artists all over the country. It’s a bit mythical, if we’re being honest. And also mystical. Sedona is where you find the crystals to put under your pillow to bring you healing dreams.
It is also my apple-picking spot. Unlike back east, where apparently apples orchards are as numerous as corn is in the Midwest, Arizona has a few scattered orchards here and there, and finding them is kind of a challenge. Fortunately, at the quaint little grouping of houses and cabins to rent, they have their own set of several apple trees and are generous about letting their customers pick as many as they want. It all started a few years ago when I would pick one to munch on, and they suggested I pick enough to make a pie. I did! It was a terrible pie, but I did it. And since then, my October ritual is making all the apple products from my Sedona haul.
It is just so pretty there. Here is some photographic evidence, also with a picture of my and my then-boyfriend-now-husband and my adventurous parents!
Anyway, here are my apple recipes.
Apple Pie with Crumble Topping
I use Smitten Kitchen’s easy, flaky pie crust, but I am very open to suggestion. My pie crust tends to get very hard and I need some pie crust help.
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, very cold, cut into small cubes
- At least one cup of ice water
Recently, I began doing this in a food processor. I recommend it for getting easier, more even pieces of your butter/flour mixture. Put all your dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Add your cold, diced butter, and blend until the butter looks about the size of peas. Then, turn it out into a mixing bowl. Add water until it comes together. It should not be shaggy but it also should be easy to keep together, not super crumbly. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to three days.
- Several cups of cut up apples (I cut up what I have and then make pastry to fit it)
- 4-5 tablespoons sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons bourbon
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- pinch of salt
Cut up the apples and put them in a big bowl. Add all the rest of the ingredients and stir. Add more of any spice to taste, and let sit while you roll out your pie crust. Roll out your pie crust, put it in the tin, then scoop the filling in. Top with crumble topping:
- 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
To make the crumble topping, stir the dry ingredients together and then cut the butter in with your fingers or a pastry blender. Personally, I liked the finger method. But then again, I always like getting my fingers in my baking.
Once you’ve put the crumble topping on, put in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. Make sure to check on it after half an hour to put some foil on the top if need be.
*Note: for hand pies, simply leave off the topping and spoon the apple pie mixture into small round cutouts of the pie crust. I think I used a big biscuit cutter to make them. Coat with a little egg wash, sprinkle a little turbinado sugar over the top, and make sure to cut a little slit in the top to release some pressure (otherwise they’ll explode!) and cook like a regular pie. They are extremely delicious and addicting. Watch out.
Apple Cobbler, Cake Style
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 to 4 cups apple slices (I prepared them with essentially the same recipe as above, but you could simply coat them with a simple syrup)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 9 square pan.
- Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Beat together the eggs and a cup of the sugar.
- Add the butter and milk.
- Add the flour mixture.
- Toss the apples with the concoction from the first recipe OR simmer together a half a cup of sugar with a half a cup of bourbon of sherry for 3-4 minutes, then coat the apples with the simple syrup.
- Pour the apples into the pan, then pour the batter over top of it.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy thoroughly.