Picnics are one of my favorite activities. I think it’s because it involves two of my favorites…food and the outdoors. When my boyfriend asks what I want to do on any given free day, I suggest a picnic! He doesn’t complain, because who doesn’t love eating food. But just because fall is here, doesn’t mean we have to stop picnicking. In fact, it’s even more of a reason to go!
There are lots of things to love about fall picnics. The weather is cooler, the trees are starting to change, there are generally less people in the parks, and you can pack different kinds of foods. Usually during summer picnics, it’s nice to pack cold salads and seasonal fruit like watermelon and berries, but during fall you can pack things like local in season apples, soups, pumpkin muffins or scones, your favorite tea in a thermos…really almost anything that you can make transportable.
Also don’t let anything stop you from going out and having a picnic. My family recently moved and we were exhausted after days of moving and unpacking. My mind was like lets go for a picnic, but my body was like there is no way we are hauling all this food to the park. So, we had a picnic in the backyard of our new house!
I heard something about picnics recently that really stuck with me, “Planning a picnic is just like planning a small, transportable party”. And it is quite true, if you are planning a party, you are likely to plan ahead. So usually the day before I am planning to have a picnic, I plan out a menu. Then either the night before or the morning of I start preparing the food.
This picnic menu included: a simple carrot soup, toasted cracked wheat sourdough bread, apples & strawberries, and homemade baby portable apple pies. The secret to packing soup, is to either heat it up in mason jars right before you leave (if you are close to your picnic location and plan to eat it soon after arriving) or put it in a thermos and bring some mason jars to serve it in.
The baby portable apple pies that I made are quite similar to this post, except I used a different pie crust recipe. I must say, that this new pie crust recipe is much better. I asked for my grandma’s pie crust recipe and then just altered it slightly. My mom and her both told me to remember these numbers: 2, 1, 1/2, & 1. Those for numbers stand for four ingredients…2 cups of flour, 1 cup of fat, 1/2 cup of liquid, and 1 teaspoon of salt. My grandma has traditionally used shortening, and milk, while my brother prefers butter and milk. He eventually converted her to making it with butter. However, that still doesn’t work for me, since I am allergic to dairy. So I use coconut oil as the fat and almond milk for the liquid.
A quick note on using coconut oil: Coconut oil has a lower water content than butter, so you need less of it compared to butter. This is important to keep in mind while baking, because if you substitute the exact amount it can leave you with a very oily baked good.
Makes enough crust for 1 pie or 8 little pies
- 2 cups white flour
- 3/4 cup coconut oil (cold)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 apple
- Cinnamon and sugar to taste
- 1 teaspoon of thickener (flour, arrowroot powder, corn starch…)
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking tray with a silpat or baking parchment
- Peel and chop an apple into small pieces, mix with cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
- Mix salt and flour in a bowl.
- Making sure you start with cold hard coconut oil, cut the oil into the flour mixture until the pieces of coconut oil are smaller than a pea.
- Add in the milk and begin mixing with your hands until it forms into a dough.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a circle.
- Roll out the dough to about a 1/4″ and cut circles out.
- Lay the circles out on a baking tray and fill with the apple mixture, making sure to leave space around the edges to crimp the two pieces of dough together.
- Before placing the top on, brush the edges with water to help them stick together and flatten the top circle out some more to help it cover the mound of apple mixture.
- After placing the top on, use a fork to crimp around the edges and a knife to cut little X-shaped vent holes.
- Place in the oven for 20-30min until golden brown.
- Allow to cool