Baking apple pies every fall has been a tradition of mine ever since I was about 11 years old. Anyone who has ever met my grandmother knows she is a wonderful baker, and anyone who has ever met my grandpa knows he is the one who eats the treats. However, I actually learned more about making apple pies from my grandpa (who surprisingly knows a lot more about baking than I think he’s ever let on.)
Growing up on our family’s farm well before texting, and even instant messaging, meant that I was often isolated from my “town” friends and had a lot of extra time on my hands for things like baking. I’d always try out new recipes, and good or bad, tote them out to our shop and subject the guys to whatever concoction I had cooked up in the kitchen that day. Thankfully, my grandpa happened to be around the day I decided to venture into apple pie. (Or pies would probably not be in my repertoire.)
Not only did help me pick the apples from our trees, but he taught me to keep the slices in lemon water to help prevent the apples from browning. He also taught me how to roll the pie crust, and brush a little bit of egg white on the top crust for a warm, browning effect.
I have so many wonderful memories and experiences like this from growing up on the farm, that sometimes it’s hard when I hear that family farmers are gone and it’s all run by large corporations. I want to share that 97% of farms in the United State are family-owned and operated. Ours personally has been in our family for well over 100 years. “Factory farms” are truly more myth than reality. All farmers, big and small, have a very personal connection and interest in making sure we take care of our land and our animals. It just doesn’t make sense to misuse any of our resources if we want to continue farming for the next 100 years.
Even though I don’t live on the farm today, I still try to scrounge for tree apples every year so I can continue baking my pies. I actually used Honey Crisp for this particular pie because I was craving them, but I also prefer the tartness of tree apples, or even a nice Granny Smith.
The pie crust recipe I’m sharing is from my Aunt Jill who makes the most delectable pies, and her crust is always perfection. Even though I have her recipe, I have to confess my crust wasn’t quite as amazing as hers, but I think I’ll just have to give it a little more practice.
For Easy Pinning:
- 2 cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 cup Chilled, Unalted Butter
- 1/3 cup Shortening
- 6 Tablespoons Ice-Cold Water
- 7 cups Apples, Peeled and Sliced
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 tablespoon Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
- in medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening until the particles are the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle flour mixture with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly
- Add water until dough is just moist enough to hold together.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Form dough into 2 balls (one for the top crust and one for the bottom crust), and roll into your pie crusts.
- Grease a 9-inch pie pan, and place bottom crust.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine apples and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until well blended.
- Pour the filling into the pie plate.
- Take your second crust, and place on top of filling.
- Cut some slits in the top pie crust to ask a vent.
- If desired, you can take the egg whites from one egg, and brush over the top of the crust. You can also add a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.
- Cover the edges of the crust with tinfoil to prevent too much browning. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes. Remove the tin foil and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes.