when I was a kid in Berkeley, we had a crab apple tree in the front yard: my parents designed and built a deck around it, and it promptly died the next spring. in the interim, I tried making pies with the bitter fruit. the baked good looked pretty and tasted nasty! still, it started me thinking about cooking, and especially pies! I haven't tried reinventing my original crab apple pie recipe lately, but as fall descends upon us, I do notice how enticing the little fruits are: so cute! the birds seem to really go for them.