A Foolproof Secret to Fall Success 1

Before I proceed with my so-called parting thoughts, I have an assignment for you: set a ½ cup of butter on the counter and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Just trust me.

I am terrible at planning Halloween costumes, have yet to host Thanksgiving dinner and anything that involves the phrase back-to-school stresses me out. In spite of all these things, I continue to look forward to fall with great anticipation, and I think it’s because I’ve got one solid trick up my sleeve: I make a mean apple pie.

By “mean,” I mean, “award-winning.” And by “award-winning,” I mean, my friends and I occasionally throw themed food parties in which we judge pre-determined food or beverages. A few falls ago, we judged pies, and I WON because my apple pie is THAT good.

Here’s the thing that’s so amazing about this pie that shoots it to the top of my “must make multiple times a season” list: it is so easy. So easy, you can make it too!

In full disclosure, I should say that this is my Aunt Nanette’s recipe and I failed to get her permission before sharing her recipe with the Draper community at large. But, she lives in Ohio, so I figure I’ll take my chances on her finding out.

So without further adieu and with great autumnal ceremony, I now share with you,

Aunt Nanette’s AWARD-WINNING Apple Pie recipe.

First, make the bottom crust. Combine 1 ½ cups flour; 1 ½ teaspoon sugar; 1 teaspoon salt; ½ cup oil; and 2 tablespoons of milk. Combine until well-blended, then pat in the bottom and sides of a nine inch pan. Do not roll it out! Because rolling out sucks, and this recipe is easy. If your rolling pin feels lonely, perhaps incorporate it into a Halloween costume.

Second, prepare the apples. This is the only place where this recipe could be described as even slightly tricky, although all trickiness is avoided if you own an apple corer. If you are not familiar with an apple corer, it is a hand-cranking, suction cup device with a few dangerously sharp edges that seems to hail from the days of yore. I am a firm believer in not owning any single-use kitchen appliances–likely a side effect of having taken residence in a New York City shoebox years ago–but my apple corer is one of those rare exceptions. If you don’t own one, I recommend buying or borrowing one. Alternatively, you can hand slice the apples by removing the core and outer layer, then thinly slicing the apple.

You will need four cups of sliced apples, which usually takes between four and six apples, depending on the size of the apples. Set the four cups of apples aside.

Next, make the filling. Add ½ cup sugar; 2 tablespoons flour; ½ teaspoon nutmeg; and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Combine ingredients and toss lightly with apples. Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust.

Lastly, make the topping. This is probably my favorite part of the pie because it’s a crumble top. (Read: SO EASY.) Combine ½ cup flour; ½ cup brown sugar; and that ½ cup butter that is sitting on your counter and should be close to room temperature by now. Combine ingredients then crumble with your fingers. Add ¼ cup more flour if mixture seems too sticky. Sprinkle over the pie.

Before putting the pie in the oven, place it in a plastic cooking bag and cut a few slits, or slide it into a brown paper grocery bag and loosely fold the openings together. Bake the pie at 350 degrees for about an hour and let it cool before slicing and serving.

And voilà! You need never feel fall conscious again. Serve this pie to family, friends, teachers or coworkers… insert any fall scenario and this apple crispy gooey goodness will fit right in. Throw some vanilla ice cream on top, and you will literally blow their minds. I guarantee everyone that tastes this award-winning number will think to themselves, “Wow. That gal, right there, she’s got fall figured out.” And you will silently thank someone named Aunt Nanette.