By Amy Bronee

The first thing I learned how to make when I moved out on my own at 19 was apple pie. When that first one came out of the oven all hot and flaky I couldn’t believe my eyes; I had made that golden, gooey perfection with my own two hands. With plenty of roommates in our big old Ottawa house it didn’t last long, and so I developed a routine of making apple pies on a regular basis. The house smelled great, my roommates were well-fed and I discovered within myself a love of being in the kitchen.

The first time I decorated a pie was for a clothes shopping party my mom was hosting. I covered the top in pastry shirts and pastry pants. I think there may have also been a pastry sock or two. Suddenly decorated pies became my thing, and I’d bring them to all sorts of potlucks and housewarmings, decorated especially for the occasion.

My all-time favourite pie top is a tree, like this one with beautiful fall leaves. It’s cute and special and people love it. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s too beautiful to eat. No pie is too beautiful to eat.

Light and Flaky Fall Apple Pie, Courtesy of Amy Bronee, familyfeedbag.com, Victoria, BC

This beautifully decorated pie made with delicious flaky pastry will surely have all your friends and family begging for the recipe.

888-Fall Apple Pie Great Canadian Cookbook

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Cool Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

Pastry:
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable shortening, cubed
1 egg
1 Tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cold water

Filling:
5 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

Finishing:
Food colourings in fall colours
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.
2. To make the pastry, add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening To musing a hand pastry blender, or two knives working across each other, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, vinegar and water. Add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork to bring the dough together. Divide into two balls, wrapping one in plastic wrap and setting aside. Roll out the other ball on a well-floured surface into a circle big enough to line a 9-inch pie plate (about 10-inches across). Transfer to the pie plate and set aside.
3. To make the filling, add the apple slices to a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Toss with the apples to coat. Pour into the pie shell. Arrange the apples to fill the shell evenly, ensuring the surface is relatively flat.
4. Roll out the other ball of dough into a circle that is at least 10-inches across. Before transferring to the pie, use a knife to cut out the shape of a tree trunk with a few branches. Transfer the pie top to cover the filling. Trim off the excess pastry edges (you will need this dough for the leaves). Crimp the edges of the pie.
5. Divide the leftover dough into three balls. Mix each ball with a couple drops of food colouring (yellow, orange and green make nice choices). With small amounts of coloured dough, use your fingers to form small flat diamonds. Position the diamonds on the pie like leaves on branches. Use the dull edge of a knife to press leaf details into the diamonds.
6. To finish, sprinkle the pie top with sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake on the bottom rack for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F/180°C and move the pie to the middle rack. Bake for another 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.
7. Allow to cool for at least half an hour before serving to allow the filling to set.

Family Feedbag Amy Bronee is the writer and photographer behind the award-winning home cooking blog FamilyFeedbag.com. Her bestselling cookbook The Canning Kitchen: 101 Simple Small Batch Recipes was published by Penguin Canada in June 2015. Amy’s favourite place in the world is her cozy family kitchen in Victoria, where she enjoys an island lifestyle with her husband and two young sons.