I consider myself lucky to live in the place I do. I'm surrounded by beauty - mountains, rivers, trees and good, generous people. There's an apple orchard not too far down the road, and when I received an invitation to visit, to explore, I knew it was something I couldn't pass up.
Luke at Mountain View Orchards is one of those good people. We stomped around, stepping over the high grass and fallen apples, taking in the last of the days sunlight, shining and glittering around the trees, apples heavy on their branches, their scent perfuming the air. He told me all about the orchard in a way only a man passionate about a place can. Not all fact, but feeling.
He lamented that the old variety of apples, the tasty, imperfect sort, were being passed over for the shiny, flawless-on-the-outside, less flavorful varieties. He told me about his passion for Appalachian culture, and we agreed that this, growing real things in a place they are meant to be grown, is far more interesting and cultural than the new Starbucks in town. All while we snacked on apples, freshly picked. It's a truth universally acknowledged that fruit plucked straight from the tree just tastes better.
Luke sent me off with a basket full of apples we'd picked, and I came home with a plan. A pie plan. As much as I love this place I call home, I also love this community, this microcosm we call the food blogging world. It's full of the same sort of good people. People like Stephanie, Beth and Sarah, who, when I sent out a tweet about needing pie, all understood and excitedly passed emails back and forth about a virtual pie party. Ladies, I cannot wait to sit down and share a slice with you one day.
This pie is bare bones, as simple and stripped down as possible. It’s just apples, sugar, salt, and a bit of brown butter. Not even a dash of cinnamon. These are the sort of apples my autumn daydreams are made of and I wanted them to shine. It's best served up with a side of The Avett Brothers (particularly this track and this one) - their new album has been my constant companion since it's release, and was playing as I baked this up. Be sure to check out Sarah, Beth, and Stephanie's posts for their lovely pies & music picks.
Brown Butter Apple Pie
pie crust (crust recipe from Martha Stewart):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour.
6 medium-large apples, I used granny smith, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of dough into a 12-inch round, 1/8-inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Set aside in the refrigerator.
In a pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and cook until it begins to brown, it will smell nutty and fragrant.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, salt, flour and brown butter. Pour into pie plate, mounding in the center. Roll second disc of dough into a 12-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Wet edges of the crust in the plate, then lay dough on top, pressing at edges to seal. Cut vents into top crust.
Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, until crust is browned at edges. Turn oven down to 350, bake for another 40-50 minutes.