Though it be 7 weeks away, I’m already doing some heavy-duty planning for Samhain. Each year, I have a thousand ideas to turn our suburban farmhouse into a 3rd century Celtic stone hut. I have yet to attain my vision, but I do put out a mean All Hallow’s Eve spread. Some of my mainstays are spooky lamps, a bat mobile, Halloween wine bottles, and a slew of clever jack-o-lanterns (which, it turns out, had terrifying origins in Ireland).
This year, I’m going to try apothecary bottles, a pentacle wreath, spider web silhouettes, and maybe some lawn ghosts. What will appear at your house this Samhain? Let me know in the comments.
True to season, I made an apple pie this weekend. As promised, here’s the recipe. (Disclaimer: I rarely use all Granny Smith apples, as called for here. You could get all science-y and research starch-sugar content and firmness of apple varieties, or you could just throw in whatever apples you can harvest. That’s what I’ve done in years past, and it always yields a delectable dessert.)
Apple facts: Though not super high in Vitamin C, a single apple has the antioxidant equivalent of 1,500 mg of Vitamin C. That’s 20 times a woman’s recommended daily allowance!
Bonus: An apple cut in half horizontally will reveal a sacred 5-point star. Apples are used in healing, love, and garden magic spells. Apples sliced sideways like this were once offered as a covert symbol to show kindred spirits.
12 ounces all-purpose flour (weigh it out if you can; if you don’ t have a scale, this is about 2 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) frozen butter, chopped into tablespoon-sized chunks and frozen
1 T apple cider vinegar
7 T ice water
1. In a food processor, add flour, salt, and frozen butter. Pulse in 1-second spurts 10 times, until your mixture looks like course bread crumbs.
2. Mix your vinegar and water together in a small bowl.
3. Add half of your vinegar-water mixture, and then pulse in 1-second spurts about 3 times. Add the rest of the vinegar-water mixture, and pulse in 1-second spurts, about 8 times, JUST until the dough starts to stick together. It will look crumbly, and that’s what you want. Just make sure you don’t have any large chunks of butter left. If you do, pulse 1 or 2 more times only.
4. On a floured surface or silicon mat, pat the dough into a round shape. Cut it in half, form each half into a disc, wrap each disc in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 30 minutes (longer is better).
After at least 30 minutes, remove one of the discs. Gently roll it out a little larger than you need. Place it in the bottom of your pie pan (there should be extra raping over the sides). Fill your pie, remove the second crust form the freezer, gently roll it out and place over the top of your pie. Bake immediately.
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
¼ cup flour
1/3 cup water
¾ cup white sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
8 Granny Smith apples (or another firm, tart variety), peeled, cored, and sliced or chopped.
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan.
3. Add flour to water to form a paste.
4. Add flour paste mixture to butter. Stir well.
5. Add both sugars to the butter mixture, and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce temperature and let simmer at least 10 minutes.
7. Add apples, and stir to coat. Simmer 5 more minutes.
8. Place the bottom crust in a pie pan.
9. Fill the crust with the coated apples and mound slightly. Reserve the extra syrup from the apple mixture.
10.Cover the apples with your top crust. Either use a lattice-work crust, or cover with a single crust and cut 6-8 slits in the top crust.
11.Pour the reserved syrup over the top of the crust to coat.
12.Bake for 15 minutes in preheated oven.
13.Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F.
14.Bake for 45 more minutes, until apples are soft.
15.If necessary, cover the rim of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much.
Love and light,