Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Classic Apple Pie...and a magical night in Vermont



Note:  
Amazing!  In the Babble food blog voting you all have moved me from #197 to #28.  We are in the last weeks of voting.  If you enjoy "Snippets" will you   Click here or on the side link to the right.



 Thank You!












If I need a reason to fall in love with my husband all over again, I just have to watch his face crinkle in smiles as he deftly removes one of his "famous" apple pies from the oven.





In each location where we have lived, my husband seems to amass a bevy of admirers who swoon over  the indelible mark left after  sampling a wedge of his apple pie.






A woman can pull pie after pie out of the oven and stand there proudly anticipating a glory of praises.  A man pulls a pie out of the  oven and... angels begin to sing on high...women bat their lashes alluringly...strangers fawn with unabashed eulogy.






This swooning and fawning over my 'better's half's' pie making culinary feats was particularly evident when we lived in Japan.


It is quite customary there to bring a gift or token of appreciation when visiting others.  In fact, there are entire shops brimming with bundled packages of various whatnots to purchase just for these social occasions. 




Often, we were at  loss for what to bring to our new friends.  It seemed that most everything one could find in the U.S. could be found in Japan.


So, Patrick thought a bonafide American stamped homemade "apple pie" would be a nice gesture ~ offering something of our culture when we went visiting.  





Upon arriving at the houses of our newly acquainted Japanese friends, the scene repeated itself over and over...


I was cast aside stood in the shadow of my husband.  He, with his coying smirk crinkled grin, twinkling eyes, and rosy cheeks...apple pie in hand~ filling a room with its heady aromas of cinnamon, apples, and various spices~ basked in the  blandishments, accolades, and outright drooling that commenced.  


I believe I could have waved the crowds over to our car and theatrically deftly changed a flat tire within minutes.  Or... shrewdly unwired a faulty electrical socket and skillfully rewired it within seconds...and ...hardly an eyelash would have batted.  


Hardly an eye would have twinkled or an "oooooh" would wax lyrical upon my unorthodox female deportment. {...said with a french accent...deeya-port-mon}


My husband, after initial apple pie deliveries, was stalked sought after the bulk of our time living in Japan, I tell you.  His pies were anticipated at every gathering we attended.  I was but his mere shadow fading into the background who simply documented the followers that he amassed like birds fluttering to a feeder.


Who knows if they even liked the classic spices and flavors of our apple pie.  Finding cinnamon anywhere in Japan is a feat!  In addition, he was  asked on several occasions to demonstrate pie crust making to a small audience of eager groupees learners.  


Put a pie in a man's hands and watch the processions of admirers follow!


Now it may seem that I am the jealous type.  I might possibly just have slightly given that accurate vague impression of myself.  Truly, it must be transparent how green with envy proud I am of my husband's culinary pie-making abilities?  Hmmmm?


So, right before the Thanksgiving festivities, I endowed him with the honor of holiday pie making.  He was to stay home and make pie crusts and fillings tirelessly in the kitchen while M. and I flew off to New England to galavant  all over the incredibly bucolic landscapes of 


...Vermont.  


"What!?" you say.  "Phfft..." I respond.   I didn't think it terribly harsh.   After all, I didn't have any fans guests to please.  Thanksgiving would fall mere days after our college road trip.  Someone had to keep the pie eating crowds happy.




Someone had to do the dirty work of dragging one's high school senior from one college campus to another.  Oh, and dirty work indeed it was!  Tee hee...


Vermont!  We laboriously drove up and down over the country roads that linked one campus to another until we found the campuses on her college list that resided in the state of Vermont.





We managed to bear the sights of sweeping vistas of fall foliage, old rickety barns oozing with the charm of bygone days, and a riveting moonscape that required stopping alongside the road and forcing ourselves to marvel at its luminous sight.




We had read about Vermont "sugar shacks" but had never had the occasion to actually  see one.  However, we chanced upon this field {above} and were later told  that this was indeed a 'sugar shack'.  It is right up close to the woods so that the maple sap can be easily carried to the shack for boiling.





As night fell on the lovely hills of Vermont, we drove further and further north.  Heavy pillows of clouds blanketed the peaks, softening the landscape and creating a very ethereal effect.





















I just knew the hours of highway driving from one enchanting little New England town to another was going to be a delightful physical challenge for me.  I figured we would get road weary at some point on this trip.


So, before departing on our whirlwind  college trip, I turned to my trusted travel guide, Karen Brown, for a recommendation of a respite, a refuge, in this sylvan landscape of Vermont.  

I  fingered one of her recommendations in Vermont and booked a stay at "The Whitford House Inn".






It was inky black when our tires crunched up the country road leading to The Whitford House Inn.  Swirls of light snow settled into wisps of light mist as we neared the inn.


We could see nothing except a soft hazy glow of lights through the cold velvety night.  Pumpkins dotted the walkway to the inn.  Tiny crystals of sleet blanketed our hats and coats.





One step inside of The Whitford House Inn and we breathed a sigh of contentment at the warm cozy scene in front of us.  A crackling fire was dancing away in the rustic stone fireplace.


Molly, the dog, and Smiley, the cat,  peered at us quizzically but were completely contented to remain lazily basking near the warming fireplace and comfortable chairs of the family room.


We were greeted by sweet Cindy who kindly asked if we wanted a tray of cheese and crackers and perhaps some hot apple cider.  That sounded just perfect to us...yes, indeed.


We munched on a sampling of delicious Vermont cheeses and sipped on hot spiced apple cider while relaxing in front of the fire.  All of the stresses of driving for hours through the velvety blackness of Vermont's narrow country roads just melted away.  We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Cindy and hearing all about her life in Vermont.









The lodgings at Whitford House are generous, comfortable, and rustic with delightful touches of the owner's worldly travels.


A guest house connects to the main house and we were treated to a private oasis of comfort and charm.  In the bathroom, a beautiful claw foot bathtub beckoned me to relax away the evening.


On the side table next to the bed was a bowl of delightfully rustic spiced cookies.  Deliciously crunchy and light!


By the time we were settled in for the night, rain pattered the roof overhead and gently lulled us to sleep.  


I couldn't wait until the morning.  I knew it was going to be a treat.  I just couldn't wait to wake up early and peer outside.





M. slept away but as soon as a glow of light softly brushed in the morning, I pulled on some warm clothes and boots and slipped out onto the porch that led to the fields surrounding the inn.


Everything about the scene in front of me was soft, hazy, and alluring.




The quiet that pervaded the surrounding fields and country road was so hushed and profound.  All I could hear were my boots as they crunched on the gravelly country lane.




The air was shining and shivering with small wisps of ice and water droplets that clung to the branches, berries, and leaves like little jewels embellishing the outdoors.







I walked along slowly for awhile trying to bring life to a full stop so I could engage with this beautiful landscape.  I wanted to soak in the scenery, the horses in the field, the barns in the distance, and the mist that serenely graced the openness.






A flock of geese honked noisily overhead as they flew right across the morning moonscape.  How beautiful it was.


I knew the morning would need to roll forward.  I was grateful for the gentle scenery, fresh crisp air, and enveloping quiet that I enjoyed.


Back at the guest house, while waiting for M. to get ready, I sipped on a lovely cup of tea layed out for guests in the well equipped kitchen.  




What can I say about the breakfast in the main house at Whitford Inn?  Just walking in the kitchen door, our senses were delighted with so many aromas.  Fires crackled in the fireplaces of several rooms of the house.  Soft music gently entertained us at the table.


The granola laid out was truly the best we've ever tasted.  Hot mulled fruit scented the table.  Warm thick slices of banana bread (M's favorite!) was tucked into a sweet little basket.  


Thick slices of maple flavored Vermont bacon was such a treat and the spinach quiche was  the caveat that completed this spectacular breakfast.  



Saying goodbye to Cindy, her husband, and their baby, Izze, was bittersweet.  I can attach to people in minutes.  Their effortless charm and relaxed nature was appreciated and admired.


My apple pie-making-husband could have fit right into the large but cozy kitchen at Whitford House Inn.  I do hope to return there with him in the future so he can experience the beautiful surroundings, wonderful hospitality,  and delicious food offered to us.  


Next time, his devoted crowds will just have to wait, because his number one fan will firmly claim all of his adoring qualities - that fan being - me!



Patrick's "Infamous" Apple Pie


Pie Crust
1 cup flour
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons or 4 oz)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water


Pie Filling
5-7 apples (P. likes Honeycrisp) depending on size
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons (yes, indeed...two) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch


Pie Crumble Topping
1 1/2 cups of white flour
1/2 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks of butter (at room temperature)


Peel the apples and slice thinly.  Place the apple slices in a mixing bowl with sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch.  Take a separate bowl and continuously transfer the apple from one to the other in order to get the ingredients mixed thoroughly and the apples coated.


Meanwhile, make the pie crust dough, roll it out between two pieces of plastic wrap, and line a pie plate with the dough.


Put the apple slices in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes.  Pour the warmed apples (with the liquid) into the prepared pie plate.


Heat oven to 375˚F


For the crumble topping:
Pour all of the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, and cinnamon) into a large bowl and mix.  Add the butter to the mixture and combine thoroughly with your fingers.  Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture evenly over the pie.


Place the pie in the oven at 375˚ for 40 minutes.  BE SURE to put trays underneath the pie because it may bubble over.



20 comments:

  1. While there's no shortage of things to love and comment on re: this post, I have to say that your husband has clearly got apple pie figured out, because he combines NOT ONLY a crumb topping BUT ALSO extra pieces of crust with those perfect leaf and acorn cut-outs. Best of both worlds!

    Crumb and crust: What has the world done to deserve this man's apple pie?!?

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  2. Please send hubs Patrick to Ohio for a day of pie baking. I promise to return him safe and sound! lol...

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  3. What a charming place! I bet the trip was exhausting and it must have been nice to come back to a home full of apple pie smell.

    Thanks for your nice words in your comment. It is hard to move and make friends everytime but you are right, I am cherishing all the old ones more now.

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  4. OK first of all.... That pie is beyond perfect!!!!
    Your husband did a great job, the crumb topping, the crust and of-course those lovely crust cut out.... You are one lucky girl.
    Also the pictures from the trip are amazing,those berries with water and dew, the horse, the tea cup....
    Lovely!!! Trust me your blog makes me very happy, I must have said this earlier and here I go again....
    I LOVE YOUR BLOG....

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  5. delicious, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
    seriously in awe of your photos.
    i would buy one to hang on my wall :)

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  6. This is beautiful. That's one mean looking pie. I just love Vermont. I try to make it there at least once a year. Looks like a wonderful bed and breakfast you stayed in. Those types of places are my favorite. I love the character of them and the quaint feeling they have. As always, gorgeous photography!

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  7. Sarah I gave you an award today---check it out on my blog! This post is a great example of why I love your blog so much, have a wonderful week.

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  8. That pie looks amazing! It looks as good as my mother-in-laws which is saying a lot - I love apple pie and hers is my favorite! The pictures of Vermont are beautiful!

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  9. Goodness, I can see why that pie would be infamous, it looks amazing! Any suggestions on how I get my husband to make me that pie? ;-)

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  10. First time visiting your blog (via The View From Great Island) and loving your photos and intertwined story. So glad we both got the Liebster award so I could find you :)

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  11. Vermont is truly magical..perhaps my favorite place on earth!!! I always hoped one of my kids would go to college there..but it never quite happened. Your imagery - absolutely stunning! And the story about your husband's pie making - made me smile..and wish for a husband who might perform such magic in the kitchen himself!! Wonderful post!

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  12. Wow makes me wanna run away from London and rest in Vermont...for a long time! - the pie is amazing, my hubby needs to take some tips from yours!

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  13. Ha!! So funny and so true. Men are so well praised for baking and cooking. The pie looks incredible.

    Love the pics!

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  14. What a wonderful post, sarah! Funny and full of inspirational pics 'as always'- Love the 'Infamous' Husband apple Pie. Looks deliciously great :) I wish you a Merry Christmas- with lots of love and happy thoughts! All the best to you and your loved ones.

    HUGS <3

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  15. What a wonderful post! I was laughing quite a bit at your story of your husband's apple pies and his adoring fans! Your photos are just beautiful and really convey how magical this trip to Vermont was. And the pie looks delicious. Have a great holiday!

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  16. What a wonderful post and to see that the streak of clever clunary talent seems to grace all family member, Sarah :) I am well accustomed with Asian customs living all those years in Singapore so what a treat it must be when you showed up with an true blue American Apple pie at the doorstep! Love your traditions, your pics, you blog.

    Happy Holidays Dearie :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  17. Your photos are simply stunning, and the pie looks delicious! I live outside of Boston, but don't visit Vermont nearly as often as I'd like. It is gorgeous there.

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  18. nice idea, thanks for sharing

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    very welcome to see us

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  19. One of the most, memorable, beautiful days, of my life. was in Vermont. Those pictures brought back sweet memories. My husband and I were young and madly in love. It was a beautiful autumn day, the trees were so vivid, peach, rust, red, bright orange. We were in my husband's classic MG convertible, the top down, whizzing over the hillsides, our future bright, his hand on my knee, me looking at him, cherishing the moment, forever......

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  20. What a treat to read about your beautiful trip to Vermont. I'm making a note of the inn for my next trip there!

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