Welcome, welcome, welcome, to a new year! Some of you are new, and some of you have returned, and we are so glad you are all here! Fall is such a magical time. The air is fresh, the foliage is ablaze with warm colors, and there is a sense of possibility surrounding us. To me, fall always feels like the beginning.

Orchard school has real panache when it comes to kicking off the school year and creating a welcoming atmosphere. There are the apple trees at the campus entrances, gracing us with bushels and bushels of perfect fruit. There are the get to know you, reconnecting events like the kinder family meet and greet day and of course the all-school ice cream social, marking the end of summer. But it doesn’t stop there!

On October 2nd (from 3pm-4pm) we have the Harvest Festival, and it’s as good if not better than it sounds! The kids harvest the food they lovingly cultivated the year before in the Orchard garden and spend the better part of two days in their classes preparing the feast. They use math to calculate measurements and language arts to read recipes and learn histories and traditions. After school on the appointed day, family and friends fill the field (their zero waste place servings brought from home along with picnic blankets) and are served by their student connection. The feast is shared and enjoyed with gratitude and excitement!

No fall is complete without a Halloween get down. Orchard does not disappoint: singing, dancing, a “haunted willows” walk, various skits and a finger food potluck (also zero waste), not to mention the teachers, parents and kids decked out in costume regalia. October 25th. Mark. Your. Calendar. Looking forward to seeing everyone at these wonderful events and just around campus!

Oh fall how I love thee. I also love vegan apple pie and in the spirit of Orchard’s theme this year of “Earth Day, Every Day, “ I thought what better time than to share the recipe. Maybe someone wants to make one for the Halloween potluck? No pressure. But I really want it. 

Vegan Apple Pie from Erin McKennas cookbook “Babycakes”

1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1 inch cubes

1 pound pink Lady apples, peeled, cored, and diced into 1 inch cubes

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, toss together the apples, cinnamon, agave nectar, and lemon juice until the apples are completely coated. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet. Bake the apples on the center rack for 35 minutes rotating the sheet 180° after 20 minutes. The apples will be soft. Let the apple stand for 30 minutes or until completely cooled.

PIE CRUST

3 cups flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons coconut oil, plus more for brushing

1/2 cup 2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus more for brushing

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons cold water

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add 7 tablespoons oil and that agave nectar and vanilla to the dry ingredients and stir for 20 seconds, or until the dry and wet ingredients are completely combined. Slowly add the cold water to the mixture and continue mixing for an additional 20 seconds, or until a slightly moist dough is formed.

Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and sprinkle it with flour. Dump the dough onto the plastic wrap and shape it into a 3 inch thick disc. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil a 9-inch pie pan.

Cover your work surface with parchment paper and sprinkle it heavily with flour. Dredge the dough through the flour until it is completely covered. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to an even quarter inch thickness. Brush off the excess flour. Lift the crust and fit it into the prepared pie pan, allowing the excess dough to hang over the rim.

Fill the pie shell with the roasted apples and spread evenly. Fold the excess dough back over the apples, folding and pleating to create a rustic looking pie. Brush the dough lightly with the oil. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack for 20 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and brush the crust with agave nectar. Return to the oven and bake for 11 minutes longer, until browned.

Let the pie stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Store the pie, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days.

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