Chris started school on Thursday, so I headed to my brother-in-law's to enjoy the beautiful end-of-summer weather with him and my niece. After dinner, as we were running across the lawn flying her kite, I noticed they had an apple tree and it was full of plump red apples. "What kind of apples are these?" I asked. No one seemed to know what kind, only that the tree had fallen into neglect and that the local bunnies, squirrels and groundhogs seemed to like them.
I had a Julia Roberts moment just then, as most women my age have had at some point. Mine (this particular time, anyway) was inspired by Sleeping With the Enemy. It is after Julia's character has escaped her cruel husband and set up house in a small Iowa town. She is strolling through the neighborhood and spies an apple tree. Surreptitiously, she picks some apples, gathering them in the folds of her peasant skirt, when the owner of said apple tree catches her and jokingly accuses her of stealing. All she wanted to do was bake a pie, she insists. He loves pie, he says, flirtatiously. Hesitant and distrustful, she drops the apples on the ground and flees. Next scene - he is at her screen door, apologetic, apples in hand, inviting her to dinner and encouraging her to bake, and bring, the pie. And thus, in Hollywood style, boy meets (and saves) girl. I digress.
And we lived happily ever after...just like in the movies...
Topping mixture is prepped.
Apples wait in pie crust.
Butter, sugar, flour, spices, vanilla, and water to pour over the apples.
Ready for the topping.
Baked, cooled and ready to be eaten.
For the topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the pie:
6-7 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 stick unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon apple pie spice
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425. In a medium bowl, mix the ingredients for the topping so that coarse crumbs form, then set aside. Press the uncooked pie crust into a 9'' pie plate and fill with the diced apples; set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the stick of butter. over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and apple pie spice and cook about a minute until it starts to thicken. Add the white and brown sugar and stir until smooth. Stir in the water and the vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Pour the mixture evenly over the apples inside the pie crust. Spread the crumbly topping over the top of the apples. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and continue to bake another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.