September is my birthday month. This one was significant not so much because my new age sports a zero, but for the many reminders that I am loved. During the past few weeks, I have been inundated with cute cards, unexpected gifts, and well wishes from family members and friends of all ages. My siblings even flew in from two different states to help me usher in this new decade. (Thanks, Dave, for arranging that).
I believe birthdays are one of God’s ways to remind us that relationships are important. The times we have spent with people in the past influence their likelihood to connect with us in the present. He created us to live in fellowship with others, and to enjoy this life as best we can.
These reminders also serve as a guiding light for the future. The way I interact with my grandson will affect his future, not only with me but with everyone he meets throughout life. The example I set for him today will serve to mold his outlook on the world, and more importantly, on his relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s all about bringing glory to God.
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6
It’s an important calling, this grandparent thing. But I’m loving it every step of the way. And that is one timely reminder.
One of the family traditions I’ve carried through the years is making late-summer apple slices. They’re as simple as making apple pie, except this treat is baked in a jelly-roll pan instead of a pie pan. That does mean double everything, which is always a win with my family. Here’s how to do it:
Bottom Crust: Mix up dough for a Standard 10” pie crust (enough for top and bottom crust). Use your favorite recipe, or try this one: 2-⅔ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup shortening 7 to 8 tablespoons of ice water Measure flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add half of the shortening and pulse. Add the remaining shortening and pulse until mixture forms a mealy consistency. Sprinkle water one tablespoon at a time into the mix through the feed tube until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Cut a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than the size of a jelly roll pan and lightly dust the surface. Flour the surface of your rolling pin and roll the dough on the parchment to an even consistency, large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the pan with a little left over to crimp. Slide the parchment with the crust onto the pan. Use scrap pieces of dough to patch any holes. Pretty doesn’t matter; the bottom crust will not be seen. Set aside.
Filling: 16 cups thinly sliced, peeled, and pared tart apples 2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons nutmeg ⅔ cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cinnamon ½ teaspoon salt Mix it all together and spread it onto the bottom crust in the jelly roll pan. Dot the surface with 6 tablespoons of butter.
Top Crust: Repeat what you did to make dough for the bottom crust. When it’s ready, either place the entire sheet of dough on top of the apple mixture (poke holes in the crust to allow steam to escape), or cut the dough into strips to make a lattice top. I like the lattice route. It looks pretty and is easier for me to achieve. Plus, you get enough leftover dough to make an extra pie shell. Pinch the edges around the perimeter to pretty it up.
Trim away any excess parchment paper that might be sticking out around the sides of the pan. Slide the entire jelly roll pan onto the middle rack of a preheated 425 degree oven and slide a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below it to catch any wayward drips. Give it about 40 to 50 minutes to bubble up and turn toasty brown. Cool on a baking rack.
Icing: To top it off, stir together 2 cups of confectioners sugar, a dash of salt, 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla and just enough milk (about 4 to 6 tablespoons) to make a runny icing; add milk one tablespoon at a time until you like what you see. Drizzle this mixture onto the apple slices and step aside to save yourself from getting run over by a stampede of hungry humans. Maybe while they’re fighting over the corner pieces you can score some vanilla or cinnamon ice cream to make the deal even sweeter than it already is.
Enjoy! And be sure to let me know how your Apple Slices turn out.