This post wasn’t originally supposed to have anything to do with apple pie or The World Series. But, there was an apple pie on my counter, and as I began writing, Game 7 of the World Series had just gone into “extra innings” (note: I didn’t say overtime, thanks dad…) so apple pie and The World Series it is. Sort of.
The pie was destined for a World Series Party earlier in the evening. Actually ‘World Series Party‘ is a bit of a misnomer. The “party”goers were three tired parents and four young children ages 1, 2, 3, and 5. The party location was our backyard. The party food consisted of store bought hotdogs roasted over a bonfire, a store bought veggie tray, two bags of chips, a bag of shelled peanuts, some apple juice, and more than a few pieces of Halloween candy. I think we mentioned the game once and checked the score twice on a cell phone. Not a sip of alcohol was consumed. My. Kind. Of. Party.
The adults huddled close to the warm fire and the kids bounded through the yard with amazing grace considering their only source of light was the fire. We conversed with intermittent parenting exclamations that sounded something like this:
“I can’t believe you’re moving so *GET OFF OF THAT!* soon.”
“I know! Everything just happened *WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT KNIFE?!* really fast”
“It sounds like you *ANNABELLE, IT’S 39 DEGREES WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS?!* found a really nice place though.”
The kids ran around our home and filled their lungs with brisk November air, a historic World Series was being played, and an apple pie was baking in the oven. It may not have looked like much, but for us, it was a home run kind of night.
After the little ones grew weary enough to notice their icy cold fingers, we packed up our no-fuss meal and headed inside to the unmistakable aroma of apple pie baking in the oven–my only homemade contribution to the evening’s festivities. The bedtime meltdown ensued before the pie was cool enough to eat so we said our good byes and vowed to get together again soon to enjoy each others company. And pie.
I tossed Annabelle and Evelyn into the bath to scrub the ash, dirt, and unidentifiable sticky stuff from every square inch of their little bodies. Annabelle and I summoned our best falsetto singing voices to sing The National Anthem and Take Me Out To The Ball Game (…ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE CUUUUUBIES…) on loop for the duration of bath time. Evelyn laughed so hard she tipped over. Annabelle laughed so hard she farted. I laughed so hard I cried.
After my squeaky clean girls were tucked snugly in to their beds, I sat down and checked the score of the World Series for what I thought would be the last time before I went to bed. Despite having spent several years of my youth living in Chicago…okay a suburb of Chicago…I’ve never been a
big baseball enthusiast. But from 9:00-11:00 last night, I sat staring at a computer generated baseball player standing just off home plate with a bat over his shoulder waiting for his next pitch, completely captivated, heart nearly leaping out of my chest. Since we don’t currently have a functional television or internet streaming capabilities I think I gave myself Carpal tunnel syndrome clicking refresh on my computer every second for almost two hours. I’ll never be a diehard sports fan, but last night I finally understood what Billy Beane meant when he said, “It’s hard not to be romantic about baseball.” That game was really something else.
I pray it’s not 108 years before I host another World Series “Party” with store bought hotdogs, but if it is, it’ll be worth the wait.
The World Series Pie was a last minute addition to the menu which is why we didn’t get around to eating the magmalike thing before bedtime became the priority. I was just going to slice a few apples and let the kids dip them in some homemade caramel that I had leftover in the refrigerator. But, I opened the freezer to get boo-boo bunny for Evelyn after (another) head bump and while I was rummaging around for boo-boo, I found an ancient pie crust wrapped in plastic and decided to make caramel apple pie (inspired by this recipe) instead. The frozen dough was only enough for a single crust but I rolled it extra thin to make two. The crust tasted fine, but it looked a little…you know.
If you don’t have a tried and true recipe for pie crust, this one is always a winner or this one if you want a really amazing tutorial. If you use ancient freezer dough or even <spoken in a whisper> store bought crusts, I won’t judge. The filling speaks for itself. If you don’t use the spiced caramel that the recipe calls for (adapted from this recipe which was adapted from my all time favorite cookbook Date Night In by Ashley Rodriguez), add a couple extra tablespoons of brown sugar, another teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg to the apple filling.
The lattice top is completely optional, but I like how it looks. If you want to save some time and forego the lattice, just be sure to cut slits in the top piece of dough to let the steam out. Lastly, the recipe calls for 8-10 medium sized apples. I say 8-10 because “medium” means different things to different people. Use your best judgement. The apples should be heaped significantly above the pie pan. Serve each slice of pie with a drizzle of leftover caramel if desired. “In baseball as in life, all the most important things happen at home.” -Unknown
- 2 pie crusts, unbaked
- 8-10 Medium sized baking apples
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 1 Vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise, seeds removed (2 teaspoons good quality vanilla extract can be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons / 25 g Dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons / 25 g Course sugar (demerara or raw)
- 2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Tapioca flour or cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon Water
- 2 tablespoons Course sugar for sprinkling
- Caramel sauce (recipe follows)
- ¼ cup / 60 mL Water
- ½ cup / 100 g Sugar
- ½ cup / 120 mL Heavy whipping cream
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Ground nutmeg (fresh is best)
- Begin by making the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Cover the pan with a lid and set over medium-high heat for exactly 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, remove the lid and continue cooking for exactly 4 more minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally but DO NOT stir. After the second 4 minutes are up, immediately remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. The sugar will harden into an unsightly blob. Return the pan to low heat and keep whisking until the clump turns into a beautifully smooth caramel, about 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, whisk to combine. Set aside to cool.
- Roll out the pie crusts and place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Move oven rack to bottom third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Slice each quarter into equally sized thirds (each apple should yield 12 slices), and place them in a large mixing bowl. Toss the apples with the lemon juice.
- In a smaller bowl, rub the brown sugar and vanilla seeds together with your fingers making sure they're evenly distributed throughout the brown sugar. Add the course sugar, cinnamon, tapioca flour, and salt. Mix to combine and the sprinkle over the apples. Use two large spoons to toss the apples and spice mixture until each apple slice is evenly coated.
- Line a standard pie plate with one of the crusts letting the edges hang over the sides of the pan.
- Pour enough of the cooled caramel into the crust to completely cover the bottom (about 3-4 tablespoons).
- Pour spiced apple mixture over the caramel and dot the apples with the butter.
- Cut the second piece of dough into strips if you plan to make a lattice top or just drape the whole piece over the apples.
- Fold the edges of the top piece(s) of dough under the edges of the bottom piece, crimping to seal the pie shut. Cut slits in the top if you're not using the lattice method.
- In a small bowl mix together the egg and the water. Brush over top and edges of the crust. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue cooking for about 45 minutes more. The crust should be quite brown.
- Cool for at least an hour or two before serving.