“Don’t forget, it’s the first day of fall,” my sister Melbie tells me on the phone. As I hear her voice, I am sure she is wearing at least one sweater and knows where her boots are. After all, that’s basic survival behavior in the Great State of Maine.
I, too, know that it’s fall, even here in SoFLA: The traffic on I-95 is starting to pick up, the sidewalk cafes in the village are bustling again, and the boutiques are showing pink sweaters with fur trim. And out at the Slice of Heaven 24-Hour Pie Shop and Driving Range, we are on the look out for migrating birds and we’re starting to get orders for apple pie, pumpkin pie, and squash pie. One more month, and the mince-pie people will be showing up.
There are other signs of Fall, too: The ubiquitous football games on every flat screen in every bar, the faux fall leaves in the shop windows, and the Halloween decorations already up in the Winn-Dixie.
As I talk to Melbie, the idea for an “After the Fall” pie pops into my mind: It should have both apples and pomegranates to signify the mixed myths of Adam and Eve, and Persephone. No doubt at all: Pomegranate is a powerful fruit, a particular favorite of the lords of the underworld, which would of course include Satan. I think it’s too bad for the lovely, innocuous apple to take the rap for The Fall of Humankind. Mythologists feel it was much more likely caused by Eve’s consumption of pomegranates — and possibly a whole lot of wine.
Persephone also had a pomegranate problem. If she’d never been tricked into eating those seeds, we’d have summer all year round.
Oh, wait a minute. I live in SoFLA. We do have summer all year round.
I’m still thinking about my After the Fall pie, not sure where to go with it. I take a break and listen to the Pogues singing “If I Should Fall From Grace With God,” and it is so jarring that I can’t listen to the whole song. I’m also thinking about the movie After the Fall, in which Brad Pitt inexplicably never ages, although the rest of the cast appears to be quite gnarly by the end.
After that, I come up with the idea that Eve didn’t just eat an apple. Or a pomegranate. I don’t think it was wine either. No, I’m pretty sure she got into the applejack. Now, if you’ve never sampled applejack, this may not be the time to start. My oh my. Consumed with the right amount of gusto on a crisp fall night, possibly over on the other side of The Swing Barn where Sue Ten has those cute little hard-resin chairs with cup holders, applejack will remove the top of your head and fill your brain with autumn leaves.
So, I’ll just give you a little taste.
After the Fall Pie
First, buy a large bottle of applejack brandy, and prepare your favorite type of unbaked crust with fluted edges. A 9″ pie plate should be just about right.
For the filling:
Peel & slice six tart apples
Soak apple slices in a cup of applejack brandy overnight, and maybe take a sip or two yourself, just to make sure it’s all right.
In the morning, cream 4oz of butter with 8oz of sugar
When the mixture is light and fluffy, strain the apples and fold them in.
A little lemon zest wouldn’t hurt.
How’s that brandy, anyway?
Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Feel free to have another drink while you wait, or go ahead and make the topping.
For the topping:
Cover the hot apple mixture with a layer of thin pomegranate slices
Whip a cup of heavy cream, then blend in 3 to 4 T of sugar and 3 egg yoks
Cover the pomegranate slices with the whipped topping and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Drizzle any remaining applejack over all.
Chances are, the applejack will have disappeared by the time you get to this step.
And just like Adam & Eve, you should probably go put some clothes on, too.