Friday, September 03, 2010

Apple Time

Image from Magpie Tales #30


It’s apple time, and that makes me think of Mama and how the kitchen smelled of warm apples and cinnamon on late autumn afternoons. She was a wizard with pie crust and fruit, turning out luscious pies that never lasted past one dinnertime. My father would sing to her, "Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?" only he'd substitute apple as that was his favorite.

If there was an abundance of apples, Mama sauced some of them. Then she would make a second batch of pastry, roll it thin, trace the shape of a saucer in the dough with a sharp knife, and fold it over a generous spoonful of applesauce. She would let me dip a fork in the flour and crimp the edges. I happily sprinkled cinnamon and sugar over each turnover and could hardly wait until they were baked. Cooled and in hand, they were my favorite snack.

It’s been years since my mother and I worked together in the kitchen but it’s apple time, and in memory of her I am baking a pie. I’ve fetched her old paring knife from the drawer, taken my bowl of apples outside and pared a dozen of them while sitting on the dreaming bench in the late afternoon sunshine.

I’ve taken her old china bowl from the cupboard, the largest yellow one, and tossed the apple slices with flour and sugar and cinnamon. I’ve rolled the crust with her old green-handled wooden rolling pin, remembering the shape of her hands as she worked, and the look of her face as she blew a stray hair from her eyes.

The pie sits on the counter, redolent and delicately browned, steam spiraling from the vents cut in the top crust. It looks just like the pie in the “Billy Boy” song illustration. It looks just like a pie my mother might have made… and I have just burned my tongue.

The dreaming bench

20 comments:

Linda said...

I can taste the pie. Two of my aunts made the greatest apple pies ever. Both a little different, but the best I'd ever eaten. Thanks for the memory.

Reflections said...

I can smell the baking pie, and taste the cinamon sprinkled on the crust... Thank you for the slice.

Molly said...

My mother and mother-in-law, both, baked the best apple pies in the world! I can still remember watching my mother expertly peel each apple in one long unbroken ribbon of apple peel.....Mmmmmm! I can smell the pie baking from your description

Brian Miller said...

my mom used to stew apples and your post brings that smell to me right now...nice magpie!

Helen said...

OK ~~~ if you must burn your tongue, let it be from an apple pie just like the one your mother used to make. This Magpie is sweet!

signed...bkm said...

Wonderful - I can taste that pie....I have burnt my tongue too on apple pie...the smell is all encompassing...bkm

Marilyn said...

Wonderful, I enjoyed reading your memories of apple pie making.

Marion said...

I believe it's time to make an apple pie! What awesome descriptions...I can taste and smell it, honestly. Is there anything more comforting than an apple pie?

I remember my first ex's mother teaching me how to make pie, and how excited I was when I actually made one on my very own. I recall I used too much cinnamon, never realizing too much can sometimes taste bitter.

razzamadazzle said...

This has me really wanting to make a pie or share a moment with my mother. Lovely story.

Teresa

Claudia said...

oh how i enjoyed reading about your sweet childhood memories - and i loved that your dad sang to your mom…that was a pleasure to read

here's my magpie

kathew said...

what a lovely succulant post...I bet we all run into our kitchens and make a pie!

Pauline said...

Linda - apple pie is one of my favorite fall foods. I just tried a recipe that called for maple syrup as sweetener - not my mother's pie but still so good!

reflections - thanks for stopping by to read!

Molly - its all gone now. Guess I'll have to make another one :)

Brian - mmmmmmm!

Helen - I have no patience when it comes to pie tasting ;)

BKM - on of my top ten scents :)

Thanks for coming by, Marilyn

Marion - just a sprinkle of cinnamon mixed with sugar on the crust - mmmmmmmmmmmm

Razz - go do both!

Claudia - my dad and mom were happy people

kathew - if you make one call me, I've eaten all mine!

Barbara said...

I'm sure that pie would make your mother proud to know you are carrying on her legacy. My mother had a knack for pastry too.

deb said...

the image of her blowing away stray hair...
oh that got me.

willow said...

This reminded me of how much I enjoyed watching my dear grandmother make apples pies. Lovely Magpie.

Jingle said...

sweet and fun take...
love freshly baked apple pies.


My Magpie

Tumblewords: said...

A delicious slice of life!

Susannah said...

Oh that was beautiful, I saw it all. Wonderful.

Susannah
http://panopticulated.blogspot.com/2010/09/too-late-magpie-tales-30.html

Lydia said...

Glorious! I was swept away immediately by your recollection of the song... that my mother used to sing.

I now use her knives, her pottery and china now as you use your mother's kitchen ware. Sometimes as I am working I see her hands, though not in my own because I didn't inherit her long fingers.

Your dreaming bench is so sweet and situated in the most beautiful place.

Sky said...

we just brought in the last loads of apples from our tree yesterday afternoon and will be working on them this week. i can hardly wait to make the spiced applesauce, not fully mashed but with tiny bits of apples running through it.

i remembered my grandmother's apple turnovers as i read your blog. they were so beautifully browned and delicious. it was impossible to wait until they cooled enough to pop them in our mouths!