picking my apples before the bear did

One of the most spectacular things about our farm are all of the apple trees. One of the scariest things about our farm are all of the apple trees! Beautiful, abundantly blossomed apple trees are spectacular in the spring, exciting over the summer as you anticipate all of the lovely apples you will be able to pick, and then it’s time to harvest. Sounds romantic until you head out into the orchard and find a great big old bear having a snooze under your most prized tree! Along with bear, our apple trees attract deer and coyote.

Some of our trees are over 100 years old and have not been pruned in many years. Our plan is to rescue four a year until we have them all back to great health. It’s clear that the wild life on the farm are very appreciative~

Despite the bear, we were able to harvest bushels of apples. Ralph and I spent an entire weekend peeling, slicing and freezing our own apples. We loved it! Nothing makes a home smell better than an apple pie baking in the oven. I know pie pastry can be intimidating but this recipe is from the back of the Tenderflake Lard box and it is tried and true! Some of my instruction may seem contrary to other pastry making techniques that you have read or tried. This is my mother-in-law’s technique and she has been making gorgeous pies for 60 years.

rolling out pie pastry

makes enough pastry for 2 – nine-inch pies
5 1/2 cups all – purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb lard, room temperature  first thing that may seem weird
1 egg
1 tablespoon white vinegar
cold water
Divide pastry into 4 equal parts…wrap any pastry that you are not using in plastic and freeze.*Flour a clean surface and roll the pastry out so that the circle is slightly wider than your pie plate.Place a portion of pastry on the floured surface and press it lightly to form a circle. Place your rolling-pin in the centre of the circle and roll to the outside edge. Then roll in the opposite direction. Rotate the dough to allow you to do this in all directions until you have a circle. Add more flour if the pastry is sticking.  Make sure that you are applying even pressure on your rolling-pin so that your pastry is able to bake evenly!
Roll the pastry loosely around your rolling-pin and place in pie plate
6 tart apples, peeled and sliced evenly
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
Mix the sugars with the flour then add the apples…pour into prepared pastry lined pie plate. Spread the apples out as evenly as possible with a slight mound in the centre. Dot the top of the apples with little bits of the butter.Roll out the pastry for the top of the pie using the same technique as described above.Using a pastry brush or a new paint brush dampen the edge of the bottom crust to create a “glue” for the top crust. Gently drape the top pastry over the apples making sure that it covers evenly.Gently press the outside edge together in a couple of spots to hold the top and bottom together securing the crusts
Pick the pie up in one hand and using a large sharp knife mine might be a little over-kill! cut the excess pastry off by slashing and turning the pie towards yourself.

applying the "glue"

Make 4 slashes in the top crust to act as a vent for your pie.
Paint an egg wash of 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of whipping cream over the top crust.
Sprinkle with clear sanding sugar**
Bake in a preheated 450*F for 15 minutes
Reduce oven temperature to 350*F and continue to bake for 45 minutes.
*Pie pastry freezes perfectly up to 6 months as long as it is well wrapped. If freezing allow pastry to thaw overnight in your refrigerator
** available in specialty food shops

serious knife


use a light touch


egg wash


sanding sugar makes the pie look magical


ready for the oven


for a teddy bear's picnic!