Falling out of fall (with a pie)

Noa Braun, Author

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Most cliché, overused fall and winter-related headline? Check. Relevant? For the most part.

The recent close of fall holds a different meaning for different people. For some it’s the crunchy leaves on the sidewalks, for others the festively flavored lattes at the neighborhood Starbucks. Then there are those of us who, even though we don’t like to admit it, have been looking forward to breaking out the chunky sweaters that have been sitting in the back of our closets ever since December of 2011.

There are also those whose fall-filled nostalgia elicits the thought of Thanksgiving, namely the central Thanksgiving food: pie.

Despite being one of the few people I know who dislikes pie — yes, I’ll give you a minute to get over your shock — I decided (was persuaded), to make an apple pie with my friend, Palo Alto High School junior Emma Abed

Unlike the past two baking experiences I have retold, this one turned out well, in that Emma and I actually managed to make something that was appetizing and aesthetically appealing (for the most part).

The recipe was simple, and this time did not come from the laudable Martha Stewart. Instead, it was a hand-written recipe found on a small post-it note in my family’s abnormally large three-ring binder that contains all the recipes we have ever come across — even if we have only ever used about one third of the recipes in there.

I was expecting the process to be far more tedious and complex than it actually was, but it surprisingly only took 15 minutes (not including cook time).

The recipe first called for peeled, cored and sliced apples, so naturally I got out a mini potato peeler and a knife, bracing myself for the accidental slippage of the peeler that would inevitably cut me. But the second I did this, I was met with disapproving glances from Emma that mimicked those given to iconoclasts, like myself, when we tell others of our disdain for cinnamon and pie.

Little did I know that hidden away in the very depths of one of the cupboards in the Abed residence was a device that cored, peeled, sliced and shined the apple — leaving it just as prized a possession as a Palo Altan’s beloved iPhone.

Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but the point is that the device was impressive, especially given the drab task that it was set out for. Despite my ‘fascination’ with the machine, it resembled enough of a torture mechanism to put me off from helping with the peeling, cutting and coring process.

The rest of the baking went along mostly without a hitch. The only misstep Emma and I made was forgetting to coat the apples with cinnamon and sugar, which, if you ask me, really wasn’t much of a blunder. (Keep in mind that I was the one who secretly cut the amount of cinnamon in half due to its unappealing taste.)

After mixing the ingredients on the stove, a strange process which essentially resulted in a warm cookie batter that was to be placed atop the apples, we were nearly finished.

The only step that remained was to coat the apples with the batter (in the somewhat lopsided way that we did), put the pie in the oven and wait for the glorious sound of the timer to announce the completion of our baking project.

And that was it. Our pie was done, and even though it didn’t look incredibly attractive, it managed to convince me, the pie-loather, that I shouldn’t expel particular foods from my life. All you need is an “amazing” chef like myself or Emma to defy that preconception (unless it’s cinnamon — that is always going to be bad).

The Ingredients:

1. Four to five sliced and peeled apples

2. One tablespoon sugar (to coat apples)

3. One teaspoon cinnamon

4. 3/4 cup melted butter

5. One cup sugar

6. One cup flour

7.  One egg

8. 1/4 teaspoon salt

Steps to Success —  The Recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F

2. Slice and peel enough apples to almost fill the pan.

3. Mix one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon into apples.

4. Heat butter in a non-stick pot, and slowly add the flour, salt, and cup of sugar.

5. Add the egg to the pot and stir rapidly (to avoid scrambled eggs in your pie).

6. Pour dough over apples and bake until golden brown.