I wandered out to the studio today to write a post about a lovely summer recipe, but something was different today – the crisp morning air felt like fall, not mid-July in the usually hot interior valley of Los Angeles, and I am wearing a sweater – so, today it’s all about Anna, the apple tree, and being present in the moment.
My gardens have always included an Anna apple tree, extending back to the days when I resided in my beloved “white house” where I lovingly planted an espaliered fence of Anna apple trees that served as a pool enclosure on the steeply terraced property. At that time, during a very brief chat with Martha Stewart at a book signing, I mentioned my Anna trees – this prompted her to ask me if I would be interested in possibly being an LA editor for a new magazine she was launching – Martha Stewart Living. I did not get the position – rightly so, I had no editorial experience, but I received a very nice signed letter from her thanking me for my submission. I observed some things about her – she is present, she listens and acts – valuable lessons. She autographed my copy of her book, For Lynn “For the Future.” I always remember this when I speak about Anna apple trees.
When this current phase of my odyssey landed me in this little Spanish bungalow, I immediately planted an Anna apple tree. Putting down roots. They produce a bumper crop of beautiful apples, even in the hot Southern California climate and are a semi-dwarf variety so they can be planted in even the smallest of gardens. I ordered my trees from Trees of Antiquity (formerly Sonoma Antique Apple Nursery) where you may read the details about the variety.
Being present in this crisp fall-like morning, listening to the garden and then acting, I baked my favorite, simple apple pie using my bounty of Anna apples. This recipe is really a morph of two recipes, Martha’s Old-fashioned Bottom-Crust Apple Pie, which I have made for many years, and then began including a buttery cinnamon-sugar topping from Ina’s Apple Crostata, dubbing it the Open-Faced Apple Pie. The name fits: it’s really just about rolling out the dough (yes, I have used ready-made dough when it’s an apple pie emergency), pile the apples in the middle, add the topping, fold up the edges and bake. That’s why this laidback pie is a Bijouxs of a recipe from my kitchen.
Plant an Anna apple tree and enjoy.