Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandma's Apple Pie

Who doesn't like pie?

At this time of year, bakers descend upon the grocery stores in droves. Each one intent on making their own special version of a family pie recipe. Pie tins, fillings, sugar and the like fly off the shelves more quickly than the store can restock them.

For those that don't bake, they head to frozen isle where the multitude of pie choices can satisfy almost any taste. If frozen pie is not the type of choice, there is always the grocery store bakery.

Still there is another option. Either local bakers or restaurant chains famous for their pie selection provide a "fresh" option for hungry desert eaters. From these pie providers, the choosiest of pie connoisseur can find a whole host of varieties. Pumpkin, banana cream, strawberry, lemon meringue, key lime, cherry, cheesecake - you name it, you can find it.

I can say that I adore pie. I will eat home made, frozen or bakery bought. Almost any flavor will do for me. I'm not that picky. But there is one type of pie that, in my opinion trumps them all. If it is offered in the choices, I will choose it every time. My all-time favorite is my Grandma's apple pie.

I have always been a fan of my Grandma's pie.

From the time I was very little, I can remember her in the kitchen hand peeling little apples that she picked from the tree in her back yard. She was so patient with each apple. It seemed like it took hundreds to fill each pie - they were that small. After she peeled them she mixed just the right amount of sugar, cinnamon and flour in a bowl and then sprinkled it over the apples. She carefully mixed them and set them aside.

Then she went to work on her crust dough. I remember her "cutting" small squares of cold butter in some flour mixed with a little salt, using only two butter knives for her tools. Then she sprinkled, again, just the right amount of ice water over her flour mixture until she had the right consistency to role it out for the crust.

I would watch in amazement as she rolled the dough out, perfectly every time. She was able to move it to her tin, skillfully and slowly - never tearing it. She knew just the right amount of her apple mixture to put in the crust. When it was filled to the brim, she would roll out her top crust, place it over the top and cut four evenly spaced slits on the top. Then she would methodically pinch the top and bottom crust together.

She would bake it just the right amount of time, until it was golden and bubbly. It tasted perfect every time.

Once I became and adult, I asked my Grandma to teach me how to make her pie. I wanted to be able to make a perfect apple pie. I watched expecting to take notes, measurements, apple choices, and cooking times. To my surprise there were none of those. My Grandma explained to me that to make this pie, you just know when it is right.

To me, that is what makes it so special. Each time she made it the recipe was a little bit different than the last time. But each time, it always turned out just right. Just as in everything she did, she didn't need to follow a set recipe to know how to get the job done. She just did it until she knew it was right.

Though I can't duplicate her pie exactly, I have spent a lot of years trying to perfect my version of Grandma's apple pie. Each year, in the fall, I peel my apples and make my mixture of sugar, flour and cinnamon and fill store bought crusts to the brim - I was never able to master the crust so for me, it is store bought.

Every year, my recipe is a little bit different than the year before. But, hopefully, each year, they turn out just right.


  1. Will read this to your grandma tomorrow. Although at 95 she is not able to make an apple pie, when she hears that those pies were special to you, she will smile her sweet, sweet smile and be blessed. I'm sure your pies are just right!

  2. Baking with Grandma is such an event! I love my memories cooking with her, and I try to inspire my own young daughter in the kitchen when I can... (I have an award for you on my blog--check it out!

  3. oops... I should leave my blog address

    Happy Thursday!

  4. Hi Angie,

    I am very sorry to hear about your sister... Breast cancer is terrible, and I imagine that your sister is very grateful to have you as she battles this awful disease. I have also battled BC --twice... I know that it is important to never give up hope! If your sister hasn't read Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor--it's a great read, and I highly recommend it. Also, one book that I couldn't live with out is Beating Cancer with Nutrition. There are a lot of support networks out there--but those are two that were and are particularly helpful to me. My sister gave me the Beating Cancer book the second time I was diagnosed. You and your family are in our prayers--take good care of yourself and your sis. Best ~Nicole

  5. I think that once you become a Grandma you are instantly bestowed super powers - like the ability to make awesome pie!

  6. I hope that once I am a grandma...I will have those super powers too. My Grandma has them is spirit now. She is 95 now and may not remember teaching me how to make a pie, but I will pass it on to my kids and grandkids!


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