My dear friends Frank and Evelyn moved from San Francisco to Seattle several years ago. Both had lived and worked in the Bay Area for more than a decade but actually grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so their return to the Emerald City was a homecoming of sorts.
I try to visit them at least once a year and on my most recent trip up north I requested we go apple picking. Honeycrisp apples in particular, known for being sweet, slightly tart and definitely crisp. Washington state produces the majority of the apples grown in the US and apple picking is a time honored fall tradition.
We drove about 45 minutes outside of Seattle and headed to The Farm at Swan's Trail. The weather couldn't have been better and because it was the beginning of the season there was an abundance of fruit just ripe for the picking. Forty five minutes and about fifty pounds of apples later we went home thoroughly satisfied.
I ended up bringing about ten pounds of apples back to San Francisco (in my checked luggage!) and was determined to bake something with them. Up until now I hadn't had much success with apple pies, but when I did a google search for Honeycrisp recipes I came upon this one from epicurious.com claiming it was their "favorite apple pie."
The filling was super easy to pull together, but rather than using the included crust recipe I instead used Cook's Illustrated's foolproof one. It's the most buttery, flaky crust I've ever tasted, owing to the use of vodka, and knew it would be fantastic for my pie.
Golden brown and bubbling from the oven, the pie smelled heavenly. But the real test would be once it was cooled. Would the filling be soupy and mushy, similar to previous pies I'd made? The verdict: NOT AT ALL!
One bite of the cinnamon and nutmeg infused apple filling and I was hooked. Epicurious was spot on, Honeycrisp apples were the perfect variety to use for pie baking - sweet and tart but still able to hold their shape. I think I've found my very own foolproof apple pie recipe!