This apple pie is dedicated to my family who were together this weekend at my parent’s house in Eastern Washington for the annual “harvest weekend.” My mom created harvest weekend as a way to get my brothers and I home as we moved off to university, got jobs in Seattle and were rarely seen besides the holidays. Although fun in its early years, it has become even more entertaining as the group has expanded to include two amazing sister-in-laws and now two nieces and one nephew. Next year, Mr. Italicano will be making his first appearance and I will be making a return after 6 years of missing this memorable event. Some of our neighbors, who happen to be some of our best friends, also come over to take part in this activity that buzzes with energy, fun and laughter :: risate.
Harvest weekend is a greatly anticipated event for all of us, as it’s a full weekend of work :: lavoro and togetherness. It takes place every October, and if the weather is not acting strange, we can expect a crisp Autumn day with glorious sunshine.
We typically spend the weekend dressed in flannel shirts :: camicie di flanellaand old sneakers picking apples, plums and pears from my parents small orchard. We huddle around a box of apples cutting them in half then throwing them into a pile where my dad and one of my older brothers turns the hand crank to make fresh apple cider.
The men carry on the apple cider :: sidro di mele pressing while the women usually head inside with a box of apples to make dried apples for an afternoon snack, apple grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and apple pie for the evening dessert. My sister-in-law Jordan also invented what she calls a “plumple pie” that consists of a mix of juicy plums and crisp apples. I still can remember the delicious taste…
After a much needed rest and some nourishing food, everyone heads back outside again to carry on the pressing and to start picking vegetables from the garden that will be stored away in the root cellar for the winter. And, of course to prepare the boxes of vegetables that will be taken home by everyone who came to help. Trading a little manual labor for a big box of home grown vegetables that really taste like vegetables is worth it any day. The weekend reminds me a little of Italy’s tradition to harvest homegrown tomatoes and to make passata :: tomato purée
Apple pie is a classic American dessert that is full of flavor and spices :: spezie and cannot be missing from our holiday gatherings. Although it is full of fruit, the classic recipe calls for loads of butter, sugar and all-purpose flour. Without compromising the delicious taste, I’ve eliminated these three ingredients to create an apple pie without refined flour and sugar and butter.
The crust is made from whole wheat flour from ancient grains, extra virgin olive oil, honey, baking powder and water. The filling utilizes pure maple syrup and sweet molasses, two natural sweeteners, along with a variety of spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger :: zenzero. The result is a rich and penetrating taste that warms your taste buds, giving you the same sense of comfort like you have while wearing a warm flannel shirt on a crisp Autumn day.
- 1¾ cups (235g) whole wheat flour from ancient grains, like whole wheat Kamut ® flour
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup cold extra virgin olive oil (put in the freezer for 5 minutes)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼-1/2 cup cold water
- 3 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chunked
- 3 large red delicious apples, peeled, cored and chunked
- 1 small lemon, juiced
- ¼ (35g) whole wheat flour from ancient grains, like whole wheat Kamut® flour
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup sweet molasses
- 1 teaspoon (2g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (1g) ground nutmeg
- 5 cloves
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) grated ginger
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- For the crust, use a food processor to combine the flour, salt, baking soda and extra virgin olive oil until coarse (or use your fingers). Add the honey and ¼ cup water and mix as little as possible. If needed add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms into a ball. Divide the ball in two, pat into small discs and wrap in plastic. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Peel, core and cut the apples into chunks. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice and flour.
- In a small saucepan add the maple syrup, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Heat over low while stirring occasionally until bubbles form around the edges and the mixture is slightly warm. Pour over the apples, mix well and set aside.
- Generously flour a working space and roll one piece of dough into a circle that is large enough to cover a 9’’(22cm) or 11’’(28cm) pie plate with an inch of crust hanging over the edge. (Have a bit more overhang than my photos which was not enough and made it more difficult to seal the crust.) Using a fork, poke the bottom of the dough with holes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Re-flour your surface and roll out the second pie crust, using cookie cutters to make designs in the crust, if desired. Pour the apple filling into the chilled pie pan and top with the second pie crust. Tuck the top crust behind the bottom crust and crimp together like this video. Lightly brush with extra virgin olive oil. If you didn’t use any cookie cutters, make 2-3 incisions with a knife on the top of the pie.
- Bake for 20 minutes then cover lightly with aluminum foil and bake for another 25-35 minutes. Let cool in order for the juices to set. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
- Crust adapted from Organic Authority Filling inspired by Naturally Ella