Monday, April 11, 2011

grandma's apple pie.

Apple pie is best made with friends. Because it's more fun that way. Because good food (and calories) should be shared. Because cutting up all of those apples by yourself is a lot of work. (Thanks for being such a great help, T.!)

Apple pie also happens to be one of my favorite desserts of all time. Baked apples with lots of cinnamon, flaky pie crust, and a crunchy sugar topping--it can't get any better. My grandma also happens to make my favorite apple pie in the entire world. While I love pie crust, I like my apple pie with a crumble topping, and that's exactly how she makes it.

For this particular apple pie, I combined parts of each of grandmother's recipes. I used my maternal  Grandmother's "never fail" pie crust recipe, and my paternal grandmother's filling and topping recipes. The result was an absolutely delicious pie that incorporated elements of both sides of my family. My family has a lot of good cooks and bakers, and I love the recipes that they have passed down to me. I love knowing that the recipes I make today are ones that they could have made thirty years ago (or longer!). While we may be in different places and in different circumstances, something as simple as an apple pie keeps us connected.


Apple Pie

Crust (from Grandma K.):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. salt
½ cup shortening (I used butter-flavored Crisco)
¼ cup cold water
2 tsp. white vinegar

Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening. Mix in water and vinegar until just combined. Dump dough out onto a floured counter and roll out into round shape for pie crust. Place into a deep dish pie plate (or a 9 inch cake pan if you're me!) and crimp the edges if desired (I have yet to master this part).

Tip: keep everything cold! It makes the pie crust much flakier and easier to deal with. If the dough gets too soft and hard to handle, just cover it and place it into the fridge until it cools.

Filling (from Grandma B.):
4 cups sliced apples
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cut up apples really small; don't just slice them! I think this makes a huge difference because it allows the pieces to break down and cook more evenly. Combine other ingredients and then mix them with the apple pieces. Place apple filling in crust.

Topping (from Grandma B.):
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 stick butter

Mix topping with pastry blender, then sprinkle on top of apple mixture. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may bubble over from the baking pie.

Bake pie in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 45-60 min. It will be done when you stick a fork in the apples and they are soft and mushy. You may have to put foil on edge of crust if its starts to get too brown (I did for the last 5-10 minutes).

Let pie cool for several minutes before eating or else your slices will turn out looking like ours! (But don't let their appearance fool you: they were still delicious.)

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