Food Friday…er, Saturday: Apple Pie

I want to preface this post with the following:
That being said, I do know how to make a pie from scratch and am a firm believer that all pies should have homemade crust of some kind. I know I will be labeled a pie snob for saying so, but I can’t STAND store bought crust!! I probably have good reason for this, my mom is an incredible pie maker and we never had anything other than homemade crust in our house, therefore you can imagine my shock when I went over to a friend’s house for pie and realized that not everyone really knew how to make a pie from scratch. I realized that I was very lucky…my mom had taught me simply by osmosis how to make a pie  and I am so thankful she did. Even now when we have a little bit of time and all the ingredients, I’ll ask her for a little pie lesson.
So I dedicate this post to my baby girl, Evelyn. Evy, if I am not able to be around when you are a little older and therefore unable to teach you how to make a pie from scratch, please read this post and LEARN. You will be so happy you did. You don’t have to be a professional pie maker, but your family will love you for it, and even more importantly than that, you will feel so good to know that you are making something that will be so loved and appreciated because EVERYONE loves a homemade pie!!  I love you baby girl!!
Ok, so with those preliminaries out of the way, I have to warn you this is a very long post!! If you have made a pie scratch you will know it is a very involved thing…so many apologies, course I’ve been such a bad blogger lately that I don’t even think anyone reads this blog anymore! ha. So if that’s the case…we’re good!! :)
The recipe I use is actually passed on from my Great Aunt Luella. She was my Nannie’s sister {my dad’s mother}. Nannie and Luella were 100% German, their mother was an immigrant to America in the mid-late 1800′s. The story goes that Nannie’s mother was an exceptional cook and would make pies all the time as well as homemade pasta noodles that she would drape over the kitchen chairs to dry and my dad would nibble on them by crawling on the floor under the chairs! I’m sure she made many other wonderful things besides pies and pasta but apparently those two things were my Dad’s fave because that’s pretty much all my dad mentions when he refers to her food! ha.
Anyway,  I guess my Nannie wasn’t really interested in pies as much as she was in baking, but Aunt Luella was. She became an expert pie maker and before she died, she taught my mom. The story goes that she gave my mom several lessons my parent’s first year of marriage. According to my mom, she was so determined to learn how to make a good pie that she made one EVERY DAY for dinner just to practice. Amazing my mom stayed as thin as she did! ha. Anyway, after a full year of making a pie every day {or close to it}, one summer day she asked my dad, “So tell me honey, which pie is your favorite?” {referring to the many she had made…she wanted to know which kind of pie, berry, pumpkin, etc, that she made was his fave}. He thought about for a while and responded, “My Grandmother’s Custard.”
My mom said she quit making a pie every day after that. 
But the hard work paid off…I’m probably biased, but my mom’s crust is TOO DIE FOR. Seriously so light and flaky and just YUM MO! I have never tasted anything as good as hers {course I am probably biased}. But really, everyone loves her pies and all of us kids have a favorite one: My brother Jeff’s is rhubarb, Pammy’s Apple, mine is blueberry and Brad would eat any of them…anyway, we all love her crust. In fact, when my sister was little, if my mom made a fresh pie she would have to hide it from her as on many occasions my mom would leave the pie in the kitchen to cool and come back to find that my sister had eaten the crust off the entire pie!! It’s really that good. 
So ok, enough history…here’s the apple pie recipe:
{Excuse the straight out of the camera pics, I was too tired to edit ALL these pictures!}
Mumsy’s Apple Pie Filling

6-8 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 C. White Sugar
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
{add equal amounts more sugar if necessary}
2-3 TB of fresh lemon juice
1/4C of all purpose flour
1 teas salt
1 teas cinnamon
Make sure the men in your family are excited and playing air guitars before starting! ha
Anyway, peel the apples. Yes, I am aware there is probably some great machine out there that can do this for you. I guess I just can’t change my mom’s way of doing things. :)
Cut into small chunks
Peel almost completely to the core
If pieces are not even, make sure to cut them again. The pie will not cook evenly if you do not.
Add all the ingredients
Stir. It will seem dry at first, but as the apples set while you make the crust the sugar will begin to make a syrup. Taste the apples now and just before you put in pie. If it does not taste sweet enough add a little sugar{both kinds} a 1/4 C at a time. Set aside.
Aunt Luella’s Pie Crust

2 C. All Purpose Flour
1 tea salt
2/3 C. Crisco, heaping
1/4 C. Iced water

According to my mom, there are a couple very important things to know while making pie crust:
1. Make sure your house is cool. If it is winter, turn the heater off and open some windows, if it is summer, close all the windows and turn on the air. Heat makes the dough crumble and not able to form.
2. Do not touch the dough too much with your hands. The heat from your hands can have the same effect as #1. You can, however, use the pie cutter and fork as much as you would like.
3. Make sure all your untensils are available and at ready use. Every second counts when making a pie, and you don’t want dough to sit on the table for too long.
4. Fill your sink with extremely hot, soapy water. It helps to have a quick place to put all your utensils after being used, plus makes the clean up easier, especially if you have to remake crust.
Begin with 2 VERY level cups of flour
Add salt and mix
Set aside 1/4 C of very level salt and flour mixture
Add your Crisco, notice the heaping.
Begin cutting, using a knife to scrape crisco off cutter when it gets stuck. Do not use your fingers.
It will look like this when done…
Pour the reserved  1/4 C flour mixture into another cup and then add 1/4C of VERY cold water and create a paste.
Add paste to dough
Using fork, stir paste into mixture
Using your hands, shape into a ball. Try to do this a quickly and efficiently as possible. My mom says about 3 or 4 pats is all you need.
It does help to refrigerate for about 20 or 30 minutes if you have the time. I didn’t tonight…Cut dough in half and prepare your rolling area with a good portion of flour. You do not need too much, but I like to have a good amount that I can shove over in the corner and take from when needed…
Or that your daughter can play with!! ha.
Take the first half of the dough and start rolling. I like to put flour on the top to help the pin from sticking.
As you roll, the edges will naturally crack, with your fingers, quickly pinch back together.
Roll from THE CENTER TO THE SIDES, NICE AND FIRM. Try not too over do it. I like to get a feel for if I should roll more by holding my dish over the dough and making sure it will be enough.
Once you are satisfied, take a knife and carefully loosen underneath the dough and fold it in half. BE VERY GENTLE, it will break. This dough should have been refrigerated as it did crack some.
Gently lift the dough into the dish
Gently press the sides in and then take kitchen scissors or a knife and trim the edges a little, but not too much. I left a lot of mine as I like a thick crust.

Add the apple mixture. It will be much more juicer, so don’t be alarmed.
Sprinkle some flour, no more than 2 TBS, to ensure the pie doesn’t get too runny.
Put about four or five pats of butter on top. Butter acts as a thickener.
With the second half of the dough, follow the steps to roll out and fold in half. Bring on top of the apples. The second half of this dough did not make it. I had to start over. :( THIS IS NOT UNCOMMON!! I have watched my mom start over countless times, which is why she suggests keeping all the utensils in the hot soapy water…you can start over pretty quickly with that.
here’s my bum top…
And here is my second try at it. I actually had a little crack in it, which is why I kept the fold in the top. Normally you should aim to have a flat top. Unfortunately I was not lucky this time, and I was too tired to try AGAIN! ha.
Using your two fingers on one hand the index finger on the other, create the crust by gently folding the two layers under and then pushing together to seal. It’s important to seal, or else liquid will spill out. Sometimes you will find cracks, which is why I keep the extra pieces from the first time around. You can easily cover up a crack with an extra piece of dough and a little water…just put the piece over the crack and then run your finger under water and seal the edges. It will form together easily.
Prick to allow steam to escape
Bake at 400 for one hour. But watch carefully I bake for about 30 minutes and then usually I need to tent it, or cover with some tin foil, or if the edges of the pie are getting darker than the rest, you can drape tin foil around just the edges. 
So what to do with all the extra dough? My mom always made little pinwheels. :) Roll out the dough, pat with butter, sprinkle with a fair amount of sugar and cinnamon.
By this point it was 7:45 and my little princess had had enough. TIRED GIRL! ha.

Pop them both in the oven
And the finish product. Unfortunately the roll really makes mine look ugly, but it couldn’t be helped. No one cared anyway. :)
Usually you should let the pie cool, but Jake couldn’t wait. So I went ahead and cut it. When the pie cools, it won’t be as runny as this….
And lastly, my babies earlier. Are they not the craziest bunch?? I love you two! I hope you make pies from scratch..even you Jake. You LOVED baking with Mommy today. xoxo
And if I have ANY readers of this blog left…do any of you make your own pie? Would love to know some of your tricks. Thanks for listening to my little family recipe. Much love to you all!

9 thoughts on “Food Friday…er, Saturday: Apple Pie

  1. 1
    Jaime @ Like a Bubbling Brook says:

    Oh, Amy, I loved this post! How wonderful that your mama taught you how to make apple pie! I had to teach myself and learn by trial and error… lots of pie mishaps in the meantime :)

    I haven't tried using shortening in my crust… I always use butter. I wonder what the difference in texture or taste would be? I may have to try it out.

    And one trick (which you may already know) for putting the top crust on is to slide the crust over your rolling pin, then place it over your pie. It helps my crust stay intact as I carry it over.

    And, I know that your pie is not runny after you wait for it to cool, but for the folks that always have a runny pie – I add a tablespoon of finely ground tapioca to my filling and it really helps :)

    I wish we lived closer so I could share some pie and coffee with you! Yours looks amazing, and I bet it tastes amazing, too! xoxo

  2. 2
    cheyenne says:

    though i'm not a huge fan of apple pie, yours looks delicious! i've made homemade pie crust once before. i used butter instead of shortening too. and i always brush an egg wash (egg and milk) over any crust i use. it makes it look so shiny and pretty.

    i will have to try your recipe this thanksgiving for my pecan and pumpkin pies!

  3. 3
    Sullivan's says:

    Amy – thanks for sharing! I have made my own pie crust for years and have been told it is the flakiest and best people have had. So I was anxious to read your mom's recipe. :) Interesting. Mine is different, but that's what makes cooking so interesting!

    Your mom did give you some GREAT tips that answered questions I have had about cracking, etc. I knew the heat from hands wasn't good, but never really thought about how cool the house is. :)

    My husband is very picky about his pie crust and won't eat store bought crusts either. :) And of course, each of my family has their favorite also. Apple happens to be Steven's and I will be anxious to try your mom's apple recipe for him.

    Regarding the butter/crisco questions. I have found crisco easier to use. Although on a few occasions I have used "butter" crisco and the crusts were just as good. I personally couldn't tell a difference.

    Love you!

  4. 4
    Carisa says:

    Oh wow, this looks yummy. Good job!

  5. 5
    Dear Lillie says:

    Ahh – it's working now! I tried to comment earlier but either my computer or your blog hates me – haha! Anyway this looks delicious!

  6. 6
    Amy says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for enjoying the pie post!! I really wish I could have had a little video of my mom making one, I might do that this weekend while they are here for Thanksgiving! :)


    @Jaime: I wish we could have coffee too! That would be so much fun! And I have heard of using tapioca, but I never had. I will have to try it!!And as for the rolling over the pin, my crust is always soooo breakable that I am afraid to try it, especially since I have may friends who do that…hmmm… maybe I will. :)

    @Cheyenne: You should try it for your Pumpkin pie!! My mom always uses the recipe off the back of Libbys canned pumpkin and this recipe will give you two pie crusts….I actually think making a pumpkin pie is wayyyy easier than making apple!!

    @Susan…I bet your pie is TOO DIE FOR as well!! So you use crisco?? Will you share your recipe? I'd be very interested. And the apple filling has such a good lemony taste that I love but if Steven isn't into that you can do less lemon. :)

    As far as butter….Brandon just got me Martha Stewarts new cooking 101 book and she uses butter and the FOOD PROCESSOR!!! It looks sooo easy. I think I am going to try it just once to see how it turns out. I"m very curious as to the difference between butter and crisco. Even though I try not to think about it much and I only use it for the pie, I think it can't be good for you to ingest all that fat! ha. Butter , especially organic, always seems a better choice to me. :)

    @CArisa and Jenni….thanks guys! It was super good, wish you both could have come over have some!! :(


  7. 7
    Kassie Dutton says:

    I'm very ashamed to admit that I have never made a homemade pie crust! And I love to make pies! I think I will try you recipe this week for my buttermilk pies that have been requested for Thanksgiving. Thanks for the post!

  8. 8
    Kelley says:

    1. Butter flavored Crisco. Cold.
    2. Chill the top crust in the ref while you do the bottom of the pie and the filling.
    3. Roll the top crust over the very floury rolling pin.
    4. I'll never do another topcrust on an apple pie again after making Mom's Apple Crumb Pie recipe. The bottom crust can be ugly and patched, but the top crumble
    "crust" is to die for. (Do a search on my blog for the recipe, which Mom found in a magazine.)
    5. My pie crust recipe has an egg in it. It gets six stars out of five.
    6. I love the 1 part white to 1 part brown sugar ratio in your mom's recipe. A must-try.
    7. I love to make mini, one-apple pies for my sweetheart. I eat only half of mine, and give him the other half. Yeah, he's spoiled rotten. And with mini pies, you get the whole pie yourself. (Whattapig.)
    8. When you learn to make a pie for your man, he feels cherished.

    Amy, you get the gold star, sweetie. And thanks, Mumsy. Your daughter just rose up and called you blessed.

    Apple Pie has a way of doing that. Someone gave us a store-bought pie at church Sunday. Shhh: We gave it to the Housekeeping Staff, which was better than throwing it in the trash. We just don't do store-bought pies. We're all spoiled rotten now.

    xo Happy Thanksgiving, and remember: Even ugly pies can be delicious.

  9. 9
    Kelley says:

    I forgot: I tweeted the other day about the time I forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pie. I neglected to mention the time I made the loveliest apple pie of my life– the entire thing, crust and all– with salt instead of sugar.

    How, you're wondering, did I do that? In Manila, we keep all our baking supplies in plastic, lidded containers to keep out mice and even rats the size of cats. (They'll haul off an entire loaf of bread, bag and all.) After this pie fiasco, I made my sugar container and my salt container VERY and VASTLY distinguishable!

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