I’m pretending like fall isn’t happening. Sure the passage of time, which seems to move way too quickly, alone is enough for me to dread the coming of a new season, but fall brings with it so many other things I’m just not a fan of. I suppose I should simply be thankful I didn’t have to go back to school last week. And I am very thankful, very, very thankful, but that’s not stopping me from wishing I could rewind the clock to about May and enjoy the summer all over again.
The weather has cooled slightly, reminding me of what is possibly to come. Freezing cold temperatures that leave me unsure of whether I want to step foot outside the house at all. They put an end to my daily walks around the neighborhood and force me to turn on the heat, drying out my skin despite my constant application of Vaseline. Then there’s the snow and ice that can accompany said temperatures. I don’t think snow’s pretty; it only brings with it the threat to ruin plans and days. People keep saying they like their fall clothes better. That’s all well and fine, but by the time I’m wearing those clothes, I’m also wearing my coat which covers my clothes nearly all of the time. While I like my coat, I don’t like it that much.
The flowers will be gone before long. Their stunning colors and bountiful blooms being traded in for dirt, brown grass, and leafless trees. When trees change colors it is beautiful, no doubt about it, but I’d trade that change for their leaves staying on to provide even the smallest bit of evidence of life in the middle of winter. The days grow painfully shorter and the sun seems to make fewer appearances during those short days. All the yummy fruits and vegetables start quickly disappearing from stores with no warning.
Don’t even get me started on the growing threat of contagious illnesses as children return to school and we all spend our lives cooped up inside. Life just seems sadder in fall and winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad.
Fall brings Thanksgiving soon to be followed by Christmas, excuses to bake, eat, and shop, three of my favorite things in life. It also brings stores full of Halloween and Christmas candy, and you know how I love candy. Fall TV shows return filling more of my time than I might like to admit. It brings that feeling of just wanting to curl up on the sofa and watch a movie. Apples, pears, and pumpkins start to show up in the markets. And it makes us appreciative when spring and summer roll back around next year.
I set a goal of having moved to California by this winter, but barring some insane, yet welcome, miracle, that’s not going to happen because it seems it’s much more difficult for dreams to come true than I thought. But the goal just gets moved to next year with hopes I’ll have better luck in making it come true. Until then I’ll hope for another mild winter.
No matter where I live, or what time of year it is, really, I’ll always love baking with the flavors of fall. My first recipe for this fall is Apple Pie Cake. I’ve been wanting to make it for awhile and finally got around to it. It’s not that hard to put together and looks and smells just like fall. A cakey crust surrounds tons of apples and raisins with a bunch of cinnamon. I’ve never really had anything like it with the unique exterior that kind of reminded Mom and me of a biscuit or cobbler. This recipe is certainly a crowd pleaser and is definitely best served warm, but it wasn’t my favorite because I don’t like biscuits or cobbler and that wasn’t what I was expecting. I really liked it, more than I thought I would, actually, and I think you will too, especially since I’ve never met anyone else with my aversion to biscuits. So celebrate whatever parts of fall you like by easing yourself into it with this pie cake.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Juice of ½ orange
- 3 ¼ - 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 10-12 small to medium apples (I used Macintosh, Honeycrisp, and Gala)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Juice of ½ orange
- 1 cup raisins
- ½ - ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Make the dough. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar using a hand mixer on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. This may alternatively be done with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and beat until once again light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add baking powder and salt, mixing just to combine. Add lemon and orange juices and mix to combine. Slowly add 3 ¼ cups flour, mixing until just incorporated and scraping down the bowl if necessary. You should have a mixture that resembles a dough more than a batter. If it is too thin, add the remaining ¼ cup flour. I did not add any more flour.
- Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- After the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and make the apples. In a large bowl, combine juice of lemon and orange, sugar and cinnamon. Peel, core, and slice the apples into ¼ inch slices. As you slice them, put them into the bowl and stir occasionally to coat them and help prevent browning, but if they brown it is okay. Once all the apples are added, add the raisins and mix to combine. Taste an apple to see if you want to add more sugar, cinnamon, or citrus. I had to add more sugar.
- Generously butter a 9 by 13 inch pan and place it on a foil lined baking sheet. Get half of the dough out of the refrigerator and piece it into the pan. I did this by pulling off a piece, flattening it with my fingers and placing it in the pan. Then you can press the pieces together and fill in any holes, going up the sides of the pan a little. It should be about a ¼ inch thick.
- Pour the apple filling onto the dough and spread into an even layer. Retrieve other half of dough from refrigerator and piece together to cover the apple layer completely, tucking some of the dough down the sides of the pan. Make sure there are as few holes as possible, but it doesn’t have to be perfect (and it won’t be). Cut 8 slits in the top of the pie cake. Bake for 65 to 80 minutes (mine took 65), rotating halfway through if necessary (I did not rotate), until the top is golden brown and the juices from the apples are bubbling around the edges and possibly in the slits. Cool at room temperature for at least 1 to 2 hours; it is best served warm. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.