Aside from the shrinking days, I love fall. Big leaf maples so orange they look afire, pumpkins guts smeared on my kitchen table, hot cocoa in the afternoons, and apples. Lots of apples.
One of my favorite events of the year happens each October when Friday Harbor Lab folks load onto a sailboat and head over to the lab’s biological preserve on Shaw Island.
After a gorgeous morning sail–which this year included sightings of porpoises, harbor seals, and great blue herons–we hike up a country lane to a decrepit apple orchard that cranks out more apples than you can even imagine.
I know I’m not really supposed to use the term Apple Raid to describe our adventure. I’ve been told it might upset some or all of the 240 residents of Shaw who also happen to like these apples. If I offend anyone, I apologize, but I really can’t help myself; it just sounds better than calling it the Friday Harbor Labs Apple Picking Event or some other official sounding name. In truth, I’m pretty sure the Shaw islanders actually do view our annual field trip as a raid. This year, as usual, by the time we arrived on the scene, the Shaw folks had already picked their share of apples. To them, I say, enjoy. Some day, maybe we can harvest apples together instead of talking behind each others’ backs about who really deserves these apples.
If you have spare apples and freezer space, make a few pucks. You won’t feel sorry you did.
Apple Pie Pucks
Scale your favorite apple pie recipe to fill as many pie dishes as you can get your hands on. Carefully spoon filling into zip lock bags and nestle them down into your pie dishes. Freeze overnight. Pop frozen pucks out of the pie dishes and return to freezer.
To bake, make a double-crust pie recipe. Fill pie dish with bottom crust, insert frozen puck, and cover with top crust. Crimp and flute edges. Slash the top decoratively to create steam vents. Bake on a cookie sheet at 400° F for 50 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake until juices bubbly thickly through the vents, 40 to 60 minutes more.