When I was in Vermont, I never had apple pie. But the name just sounds autumnal, doesn’t it?

When I was in Vermont, I never had apple pie. But the name just sounds autumnal, doesn’t it?

You can cheat and buy a package of two 9-inch pre-made piecrusts. But given time, it’s a feeling of deep satisfaction to make your own.

3 cups plain flour
1½ tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup Crisco (from experience, I learned to not substitute a store brand for the real thing when dealing with shortening)
1/3 cup ice water

Toss the flour, salt and sugar to mix. Cut it together using a wire pastry blender or two knives until it “looks like coarse meal.” (I had no idea what that meant, but all the recipes say to do it. It means to make it chunky.)

Sprinkle with some water. Start gathering it together with a fork, then give up, stick your hands in, and work it into smooth dough. (Make sure you wash your hands first, though.)

Divide the dough into two balls, one slightly bigger than the other one. Roll it out between two sheets of floured wax paper.

2½-3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
½ to 2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with the larger of the two crusts you rolled out. I found it easier to position the crust if it is on the bottom sheet of wax paper, which you invert and then peel off.

Mix the sliced apples with the sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour. Pour it into the pie shell and dot with slices of butter.

Cover with the top piecrust. Trim off the excess dough, and then pinch the edges together. Poke vent holes in the top. (Mom always made the letter “A” for apple. I assume it was apple, anyway.)

To make the pie festive, make autumn leaves and arrange on top. Mix in a bit of yellow food coloring in half the remaining dough and some red coloring in the other. The only practical way of doing so is with your hands. Be prepared to have yellow and red fingers for two days.

Using leaf-shaped cookie cutters or a sharp knife, cut out several red and yellow leaves and arrange them on top of the pie. Mix the remaining bits of red and yellow dough together to make orange dough and repeat. Draw “veins” in the leaves with the sharp knife.

You can also make an egg wash (some egg mixed with a bit of water) and paint it over the pie. That’ll give it a nice shine when it’s done baking.

Bake about 45 minutes. Halfway through, cover the edges with aluminum foil so they don’t burn.