PGM Contributor | Nicole Franzen

TEXT by Celine MacKay | PHOTOGRAPHS by Getting to know Nicole Franzen, PGM contributor, in this post about apple picking and baking apple pie.

An afternoon apple harvest & pie


I am in constant awe of the amazing network of people, friends and talent that contribute to Pure Green Magazine. I feel so utterly thankful to them all, issue after issue, and wish that geographically we could be neighbours so I could properly express my gratitude and wonderment at what is accomplished each time. And so it makes me happy to share a little more of what some of them are up to in their daily lives, such as Nicole Franzen. Volume 4 marks the second issue she has contributed to, this time sharing the studio of Clam Lab and ceramicist Clair Catilaz. In these photos, she visits an apple orchard with a few friends, culminating an afternoon of harvesting and a picnic with a delectable apple pie. Nicole adores food (fitting as our current issue is all about food), and these photos are a testament to how she weaves her passion into her everyday life.


While Nicole embarked on this excursion last week, here in Ontario the apple picking season is over,  however the grocery and market shelves are still packed with Ontario fruit, as they will be for a few more months. As the weather cools down and days grow shorter, the spicy aroma and sweet delicacy of warm, homebaked apple pie will be a welcome treat. Read on for a delicious apple pie recipe created by Nicole's friend Yossy of Apt. 2B Baking Co.



Apple Pie

For the Crust

This crust comes to you from Brandi Henderson of I made that! and The Pantry at Delancey where she teaches a class called "How to be a Pie Ninja" and she is not messing around. This crust is made with a technique called fraisage which creates long sheets of buttery flakes throughout the dough instead of little pockets of butter. 

  • 12 oz pastry flour 
  • 8 oz cold butter 
  • 4 oz ice water 
  • 1t apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/2t salt 

1. Mix the flour and salt together, then pour the whole lot on a large cutting board or countertop.
2. With a bench scraper, cut in half of the butter until it is the size of lima beans, then cut in the 
other half of the butter until it is the size of quarters. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water.
3. Using your fingers, flick the water on to the butter flour mixture and gently fold it in with your 
bench scraper. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough 
and squeeze it together without it falling apart.
4. Then, you smear the butter into the dough. With the heel of your hand push a section of the 
dough down and away from you. Scrape your sheet off of the board and place it in a bowl to 
the side. Repeat until you have worked through all of the dough, pushing it down and away 
from you in sections. Once you've gone through all of the dough gently remove it from the bowl, 
press it together, then split it in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and form into a disk. 
Chill the dough for at least one hour before using. I like to chill mine overnight. 

For the Filling

  • 4-5 large apples (about 3 lbs) I like mutsus, jonathans, and cortlands 
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • zest and juice of one small lemon
  • zest and juice of half of an orange
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Peel the apples and cut them into 1/2 chunks. Place the apples in a large bowl then add lemon and orange juices and zests, stir gently to combine. Add the rest of the filling ingredients (except the butter) and stir gently to combine. 

For the Topping

1 egg, beaten 
A few teaspoons of coarse sugar like turbinado or light demerara

To Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 400º

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a 12’’ circle 1/4''-1/8'' thick and place it into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.

2. Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/4''-1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

3. Fill the prepared pie shell with the apple mixture, dot with the 2 tablespoons butter, and top with the second crust, trim the edges so there is about 1/2’’ of overhang then crimp the edges and cut a few vents in the top.

4. If the crust seems soft or warm, slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15min before you bake it. When you are ready to bake brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.

5. Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 350º and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the crust is deep golden brown and the apple juices bubble. For extra shine, glaze the pie with another coat of egg wash 10 minutes before you take it out of the oven, but keep a close eye on it to prevent