It's Pie Day - We're Making Apple Pie from Scratch!!

First - please notice the tabs above.  'Making Crust' has everything you need to master the art of flaky pie crust.  'SL' is your shopping list - everything you need for making pie crust from scratch.  
(The rest are my portfolio, farm and book information etc.)
If you are here for the pie...start with the 'Making Crust' tab, then come back here (the homepage) for your filling.

By the first week of September, I'm so ready for fall.

The apples are starting to ripen (but not on my farm) so we hit a local country u-pick.

we picked our own apples - mostly gala this time of year - and made some new friends

 If you can find an apple orchard near you, take the time to go picking.
It's way more fun than grabbing a bag from the grocer.

Classic Apple Pie Filling Recipe
I've tried every kind of apple pie recipe out there, but am never happy with the finished product.  It's not the crust - NEVER the crust - it's the filling.  The apples aren't cooked in the middle - they are still crunchy and raw.  I cook the pie longer, in attempt to cook the apples, but the crust gets burnt. 

But I've figured it out...cook the filling slightly, then bake it.
Perfect Delicious Apple Pie

Ingredients for Classic Apple Pie
6-7 apples - I used Gala Apples and they were a good size - not too small
1/2 cup (120ml) apple juice
1/2 cup (100 grams) of light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) of granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peel, core and chop your apples into about 1/2 inch slices.

 Place them in a pot with the 1/2 cup of apple juice and bring the juice to a boil.
Reduce the heat and let them simmer, stirring often, for ten minutes.  They will give off extra juice and almost steam themselves to a slightly soft, yet still crunchy stage

Remove from heat - gently stir in your sugars, flour, salt and cinnamon.
You need to cool the filling right down so it doesn't melt your crust.
Either place it in the fridge, or make the filling ahead of time and let it cool while you make your crust.

Once the crust bottom is made (from the 'Making Crust Tab), and the filling is cool, pour it into your shell.
Add the three tablespoons of butter to the top - drop little bits here and there.
Roll out your top layer of dough.
You may want to pop over to the 'Making Crust' tab to see how to finish off the top of the pie with slits for steam release plus cream and sugar sprinkles.  It also covers how to prepare the top layer if you are unsure.
Bake at 425F for 13 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F for 25 - 30 minutes.
Let cool before eating so the filling has time to set up.

For the Spiced Version...
 The recipe stays the same, with the addition of a few extra spices

6-7 apples - I used Gala Apples and they were a good size - not too small but not overly huge
1/2 cup (120ml) apple juice
1/2 cup (100 grams) of light brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) of granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Thursday September 18th, learn to make pie from scratch...

Have you always wanted to make a pie from scratch, but were afraid/intimidated by the crust?

Welcome to A Year of Pie!
with a lot of help from Janis Nicolay (who shot this video) I've created a step by step tutorial on how to make that perfect flaky pie crust.
Once you've mastered how to make crust, you can add any filling you want.  Each month, I'll be posting pie filling recipes and new fun tips for making pies.


Watch this video to be inspired, then come back Thursday September 18th to make...

Classic Straight up Apple Pie 
(with a spiced version too)

Gulf Islands...

Enjoyed 7 days in the Gulf Islands with perfect weather.
BC is beautiful.

Food in Jars...

I've finally dealt with the last of the honey figs.

I've eaten at least 7 a day..

...made three batches of strawberry fig jam...

..and today, put the last of them in brandy.

Of course, as I put the last lid on, I noticed that the tree outside this window is now loaded with brown turkey figs.  
Did I mention we have two of those!?!!!

Figs in Brandy Recipe

I made five 500ml jars
sterilize your jars and lids ahead in a boiling bath of water.
10 minutes for jars
five minutes for seals

cut off the top of each honey fig
Sliced them in half
placed them in the sterilized jars without squishing them
in a large pot combine 2 cups brandy (not the most expensive, but not the cheapest) 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar.  Heat and stir till sugar dissolves and mixture is very hot.
carefully pour hot mixture over the figs till you are 1/4 inch from the top of your jar.
use a knife to remove any air bubbles you see in the jar.
wipe rims so they are clean
add your lid and finger tighten.

Process in a hot water boiling bath for 10 minutes.

Honey Figs...

The honey fig tree is spectacular this year.

But I'm really excited for the strawberry fig jam!

Five by Five...

My life seems entirely wrapped up in squares these days.
So to instagram recap the week:
figs are ready
chickens enjoy a stroll
shooting very pretty bedding on the farm
chicken photo bombed pretty photo of bedding on the farm
sunsets and sunshine
the bees got a new level and lid for their hive

It's all five by five...which is good.

Sunshine Share...

It's raining cats and dogs I thought I'd share some sunshine.
I'm actually glad to see some rain.

Cheater Pie...

It's all about playdates these days.
And of course blueberries.

I had that annoying clump of pastry dough left after you make a full pie and trim the edges off.
I rolled it out and used a drinking glass to cut out some round tops.

If you don't have one of these handy sets, just use 125 ml canning jars on a cookie sheet.
I had 2 cups of blueberries, added 2 tablespoons of flour and just under 1/2 cup of sugar.
Mash half the berries and stir well. Divide between cups - I only got five cups.
Place the tops on and with a knife, cut a small slit.

I brush the tops of my pastry with cream and sprinkle on some sugar.
My daughter had a friend over, so I thought I'd personalize the pies.

Pick a bouquet of sweet peas while they cook... more blueberries...

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.

Maybe I get a little competitive with the whole snack thing.

But they loved it.


Shooting has been fantastic this week.
From the ultra pretty for Prairie Country to the super sweet honey for Canadian Living.

Out of Whack...

Do you ever feel like life is off balance.
Like something is shifting far beyond our control...
Clearly my chicken is feeling this too.

But today, I think it's levelling out.
Look at this sweet tiny face just learning to fly.

Blue Berries...

I don't remember seeing 'blue' berries in June on our farm!
Green yes, blue no.