What is it with boys and apples? I have a tradition in my household that started so long ago that I can’t even remember how it came to be. I’m not a huge fan of “things” or “stuff” so way back when, I told my kids that for their birthdays they could pick any dessert they wanted, and I’d make it. It didn’t matter how difficult or time consuming, or how hard it was to find the ingredients, or how complicated the process was. They loved it back then, and they love it today. That first year, one of my girls picked a 7-layer toasted coconut cream cake, another one picked strawberry pie, and the third picked pumpkin pie. (Yay for her! I could make that in my sleep!) My sons both picked homemade apple pie.
As the years went on, the girls varied all over the map – everything from cinnamon rolls to chocolate cake to baked Alaska. The boys??? Homemade apple pie. (Maybe it’s an Adam and Eve forbidden fruit kind of thing…) And to this day, even though the girls will opt for pretty much anything (brownies, pineapple upside down cake, sundae bars…), the boys stick with homemade apple pie. I’m not sure if it’s due to a lack of imagination or simply sticking to a good thing, but one thing is for sure, every single year since I implemented my I’m-not-buying-you-stuff-but-I’ll-spend-hours-in-the-kitchen-making-something-to-show-my-love birthday tradition, my boys have insisted on my homemade apple pie.
And who can blame them, really? It’s classic, fresh, a little sweet, a little tart, a little spicy, and bursting with flavor. I started baking homemade apple pies back when I lived in Minnesota. There’s nothing quite like heading out to the apple orchard on a sunny crisp fall day and coming home with a freshly picked basket of apples! Yum! I knew I needed to come up with a recipe that truly celebrated the apple. I didn’t want a squishy, overly sweet, cloying type of pie. I wanted something bright, light, and a little crisp. Something that screamed APPLES! A combination of tart Granny Smith, bake-able Gala, and sweet Honey Crisp (developed in Minnesota!) thinly sliced, with a light sugar, cinnamon, buttery coating did the trick! You can certainly use store bought pie crust, but I highly recommend making my homemade pie crust. It’s quite easy, and has never failed me!
Even though this homemade apple pie does take a fair amount of time to prepare, seeing the smiles on the boys’ faces and the way their eyes light up every time I bring it (full of glowing birthday candles) to the table makes it worth it every time! The boys do love their apples.