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May 2, 2010

Grandma's Sunday Apple Pie

I know I haven't had a post in over a week- but it's for a good reason. Unfortunately my grandmother passed away at 89 years young. She always said she wanted to die at 89, the same age her mother was when she passed, and also thought it would be neat to go on her birthday. A strong woman with amazing will, she did just that.

I was really close to my grandmother- she was more like a mother to me for most of my life. Throughout the years I've lived at her house and she in mine later on. She was always there for me and was the person who first introduced me to the kitchen.

My grandmother used to bake pies nearly every Sunday. When I was about five years old she taught me how to make my first pie. She saved miniature tins from frozen pot-pies and gave me her leftover pie dough. She always wore an apron and kept children's aprons that I'd wear whenever it was baking time. She showed me the steps, making the dough and letting me roll it out. She let me make any kind of pie I wanted. My first pie consisted of apples, raisins, cheese and chocolate- which is unfortunate for my father who had to be the taste-tester and put on a smile saying "mmm, delicious!" I was covered from head to toe in flour and it was wonderful.

Over the years my pies got better and my grandmother taught me more recipes. She was always there to give me advice, even if over the phone, on how to tweak my cookie dough or make my macaroni and cheese creamier. In her later years when she could no longer cook, she was happy to hover over me in the kitchen making sure I didn't miss a step.

I will always miss the woman who inspired me to love cooking and making others happy with food. I know she will always be with me with every meal I make and every pie I bake- although I have no doubt it will never be a match for hers.

She kept her pie recipes in her head, so I baked one using the Good Housekeeping basic recipe with some minor tweaks of my own.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
6-8 tablespoons cold water

Cuisinart or pastry blender
rolling pin

6-7 cups peeled, cored, chopped Macintosh Apples
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons butter

PREHEAT the oven to 425 degrees.

FOR THE CRUST: Combine the flour, shortening and salt in the mixer. Pulse to combine, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until flour resembles coarse crumbs. Remove from mixer and form into a ball. Cut the dough in half, reserving half of it for the top. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough into 1/4" thick circle. Roll half the circle onto the rolling pin, using the pin to lift the dough and place into a pie dish.

FILLING: Combine the apples with all remaining ingredients except the butter and milk. (TIP: Add the lemon juice to the apples as you chop them to prevent browning). Toss the mixture, making sure to coat the apples evenly. Pour filling into the pie crust. Dot the top of the filling with the pats of butter.

ROLL out the remaining pie dough into a circle, as you did the first one, and place over the top of the pie. Pinch around the edges to seal. You can cut shapes out of the top before placing on top or just cut some slits into the top with a knife to allow moisture to escape.

BRUSH the top of the pie with milk for a golden brown crust- but don't brush the edges or they will burn.

BAKE for 40-50 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 20 minutes before serving.


Robert said...

My Grandmother also taught me to bake apple pies and I don't think a day goes by when I don't think about her. More so in the fall after I go apple picking with my kids. Pies and memories go together.

DevouringDC said...

I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

I know how much you loved your Grandma, you always spoke of her and told me stories of how she made you laugh. I'm sorry for your loss, but always remember the fun you had with her growing up. I wish I had the same relationship you had with my own Grandparents. Isn't it funny how it's always the desserts we remember most about our Grandparents. I remember my Grandma's Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers from visiting her for Thanksgiving in OBX, we still talk about it today and give her shit when she comes to visit and doesn't make it.

Keep up the great work on this site!

DevouringDC said...

Thank you both for the kind words and for sharing your own grandparent food memories. My father called me yesterday after finding my grandmother's boxes of "clippings" and cookbooks. (She must have clipped every recipe from every newspaper since 1937, ha!) I'm planning to gather a collection of her favorites, her staple dishes that the whole family remembers, make my own tweaks and make a cookbook. (pssst- hint, hint Hearst, Random House, Harper Collins, Conde Nast or any other publisher out there!! Ok, that's not even a hint, I'm literally telling you people to publish me.)

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