Midwest Apple Picking + My Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

This year, fall seemed to be even better than I remembered—unusually warm temps and mild weather, gorgeous changing colors of leaves, and LOTS of delicious apples from the orchard.  Erika Mattingly Photography met me at Garwood Orchards in my hometown of LaPorte, Indiana for an afternoon of apple picking…and my dear Mama (and baking partner-in-crime) came along for the fun! Also, scroll down for my favorite flaky pie crust recipe…turns out perfect EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients

12 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

⅓ cup very cold vegetable shortening

6-8 tablespoons ice water (about ½ cup)

Instructions

Dice the butter and shortening into 1/2 inch pieces. Store in the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse a few times to mix. Take the cold butter/shortening pieces and in batches pulse it together with the flour until it resembles coarse peas. With the machine running on low, gradually add the ice cold water. When the dough starts to come together, dump out onto a lightly floured surface. Form a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for 30 min until ready to use. Can also be stored for up to 3 days if wrapped well. Makes two single pie crusts.

With my handy apple picking basket from Williams Sonoma, I was able to carry more than enough apples to make some pies.

Mama and I enjoyed an impromptu orchard picnic—a mug of cold Garwood’s apple cider, buttery homemade caramels, and mini apple pie pops.

I’m thankful for my wonderful Mama. Always by my side…

I wrapped mini apple pies with scraps of gingham fabric. A lovely little gift or favor!

These homemade caramels are seriously ADDICTING. I can easily eat 10 in one sitting. I love to package these up in jars as gifts—complete with a white satin ribbon.

I call this my Apple & Caramel Gift Basket—a jar of yummy caramels, fresh-picked mini Garwood Orchards apple, and a bar of Hannah Jane apple soap…all packaged in a mini bushel basket.