Over the hill from my boyhood home, in the middle of a long cornfield bordered by a dirt road filled with gripping mud in the winter and white dust in the summer, arched an apple tree of such girth and spread that now fifty years later it remains the largest I’ve ever seen.
I couldn’t begin to guess what sort of apple it was, but the fruit when ripe was small and crisp, faintly streaked, blushing red, and speckled from insects, winds, and sun. When green, the apples were so taut you could barely dent them with the tip of your thumb. Those were the apples my mother used to bake apple pies. I never knew her to use any other; she said “store” apples would “make a mush”. Now that better apples have come on the market, Honey Crisps in season or Granny Smiths will do.
Combine 4 cups apples, cored, peeled, and cut into chunks with a cup of sugar, juice of half a lemon, a half teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into an unbaked shell, top with a few pats of butter, and a (slitted/unbaked) crust. Bake at 350 on a middle rack until brown and bubby-ish.