Every hollow, swale, hill, and roadside in southwest Washington has at least one Gravenstein apple tree. This is the taste of my growing-up years: the apples that came from the really old tree in the back corner of Grampa Rayton’s hayfield, the one you had to cross the creek to get to. The old tree on our place on Newaukum Hill. The ones that Grampa Mueller grafted. No better apple for a pie or sauce; they cook down into a sweet tart mush, which is only made better by cinnamon.
I found some locally, at Tim and Hilary’s place. They planted their tree in 1980, and it was covered with fruit a couple weeks ago. I picked a box and made pies and sauce for the freezer.
To make pocket pies, cut 7″ circles out of pie dough. I run a wet finger around the edge, moistening the entire circle. Peel, core and slice apples. Add a dollop of honey and plenty of cinnamon. Stir until the honey has gotten runny and the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Place a layer of apple slices on one half of a dough circle, leaving space at the edges to pinch together. Fold the top over the apples and pinch in the center. Pick up like a taco, and stuff more apple slices in. When the pie is comfortably full, pinch the moistened edges together and crimp with fingers. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Wrap individually in waxed paper and store in a ziploc bag. When you are ready for pies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen pies on a cookie sheet and bake until fragrant and golden-brown. There will be a little bit of juice leakage.
These pies are also great with peaches and plums. When baked, they travel well in a plastic container for field lunches.