For as long as I can remember, when I was a child, my grandma would take me to Bayfield’s Apple Fest every fall. If you have had the pleasure of attending, you already know the feelings associated with the very words “apple fest,” but if you haven’t, let me indulge you for just a moment.
Let’s talk location first. Bayfield, WI is quite the quaint little town, nestled right on Lake Superior’s southern shore. You not only get the small town charm of tiny antique shops, local coffeehouses with homemade pastries, & diners that serve freshly caught fish, but also the gorgeousness of the lake, roaming coast, apple orchards, & pristine beaches. Pair all that with the fall color display & you kinda feel like you’re on the pages of National Geographic or an REI catalog.
Bayfield is the perfect little getaway because even though it is a tiny town, it’s far from dull. John & I even spent the first couple nights after our wedding in Bayfield because I knew it would be just what we needed: rest & relaxation after a crazy long weekend wedding. I always leave Bayfield feeling refreshed & inspired. Before I got married, there had been many a trip to Bayfield when I needed a little time to renew my soul (doesn’t that sound intense?!)
Besides the location, the Apple Fest offers all sorts of unique art for sale. Here you will find perfectly sculpted mugs, delicate jewelry made from everything from local gems to recycled materials, homemade organic soaps & lotions, & my personal favorite, tiny hand knit animal finger puppets. We bought a handmade wooden spatula that we use almost daily & I’ve loved the knit hats that I’ve collected throughout the years.
I remember roaming the booths with my grandma, usually patiently waiting for the most incredible gift that she would purchase for me. My grandma had a way of finding the perfect choice because she knew me so well. She would shower me with all sorts of little trinkets & artsy fartsy treasures. Overall, she was quite the lady. My grandma was loud, both in volume & personality & it’s one of my most favorite things about her. It was normal for her to wear a huge wooden giraffe necklace on any given day. She had enormous turquoise rings on every finger. She dyed her hair a shocking, glamorous silver. She’s still my inspiration, even though she’s been gone for many years. She helped me learn how to appreciate this fest for what it really is.
And of course with every fest comes the food. Think of something you love to eat & it will probably be at the Apple Fest slathered in apples. Applesauce, cider, donuts, & crepes are everywhere. You can buy apple butter, wine, tea, candies, ice creams, & pies. You can even slather your apple brat with apple mustard (sensational!). Let’s just say that the Apple Fest is not a place for skinny jeans. Give me my stretchy pants & a whole lotta cash, please!
Because of my deep appreciation & sincere love for the Apple Fest, I can’t help but think of it when fall creeps up. Although the fest has passed this year without a Haas siting, (it is the first weekend in October) that doesn’t mean that we can’t savor bits & pieces of the fest without having to travel to Bayfield. I have officially decided that when I need a bit of the refreshing that Bayfield brings, I will now bake this ginger apple pie. Although it’s not as serene as the shores of Lake Superior, it does have more immediate gratification, since it takes less time to bake this pie than it does to drive to Bayfield. That & we’ll get out Ruby’s thousand sets of animal finger puppets, because obviously she has a growing collection of these treasures.
If you couldn’t already tell, I am a total advocate for picking your own local apples. They not only are much fresher than your typical store-bought apples, they are pretty much the most tasty thing ever. This year we’ve gone to a few orchards to pick apples, but my favorite was Eckers. Their apple crisps were out of this world amazing & seriously the size of softballs. I think I literally ate 3 apples while we were there & got quite the tummy ache, but that’s besides the point.
Recently we picked 17 pounds of apples, & then bought an additional 50 pounds of “seconds” (the apples with some imperfections) for making applesauce. Besides the sauce, I really like to peel & slice a dozen or so pounds of apples for making apple pies all throughout the winter. Apple pie is one of my husband’s favorite desserts, so when the daylight is sacred & short & the cruel winter nights are bitterly long, I like to treat us to a pie every now & again.
This ginger apple pie will be one of the pies that I will serve as a finale at our Thanksgiving meal (right along side of my maple ginger pumpkin pie). I will associate each spicey, sweet, buttery bite with my fond memories of the Apple Fest, my grandma, & the mysteries of autumn & all will be well.
- 2 piecrusts
- *2 1/2 pounds apples (5 medium), peeled, & thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup demerara sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
Set an oven rack in the lowest position & preheat the oven to 375.
In a large bowl, toss the apples, ginger, cinnamon, salt, & sugar until well combined. Pour this mixture into your pie crust. Cut the stick of butter into tbsp-sized pads & place on top of the apple mixture in the crust.
You can either make a lattice crust to top or cover the entire pie with crust. If you top the entire thing, make sure that you poke a few slits in the center to let the steam escape. The easiest way to make a lattice crust is to roll out the dough very thinly & use a pizza cutter to make long pieces. Weave all of the pieces together, paying attention to pinching the ends of the dough together. I also added a braided crust to the edges to cover up the ends of the lattice.
Cover the pie with a square-shaped piece aluminum foil with a hole cut out of the center. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil (to prevent slipping). Bake the pie for 40 minutes & then remove the foil on top of the pie. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
*If you happen to use frozen apple slices, thaw them in the fridge for 24 hours before you plan to bake your pie. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the apples before mixing them to the spices or your apple mixture will be too mushy.
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