Fresh baked apple pies were a staple at my grandma's house. She would make 20 at a time and freeze them to enjoy or give away over time. I always loved a cold slice of her pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. My grandma's pie came to be the taste of my childhood. Her pies created a memory to which no other apple pie could live up to. I have tried a lot of pie hoping it would live up to the memory of my grandma's but none ever has. A few years ago I helped my aunt Lynda make pies and wrote down my grandma's recipe while we worked. I am so thankful for the afternoon I spent baking with her. We had talked about getting together to do it again but it never happened. My aunt passed away in June so now I will be the one to carry on this family tradition.
Family members started asking me this summer if I knew how to make the pies. I wasn't confident that I could do it on my own especially because my aunt had made the crust before I got there. I had the recipe and hoped I could figure it out by thanksgiving. I was most nervous about using lard in the recipe but many people, including the meat counter guy at the grocery store, assured me that lard was the secret to good pie crust.
My mom came on friday to help make the pies. These pies are so important to me and my family that I was too nervous to try making them on my own for the first time.
The crust was smooth, flexible and strong.
It rolled out easily and transferred into the pan without breaking.
In the middle of baking I realized I didn't have any sugar so I went to the neighbors to borrow some.
I'm glad my mom was there to show me how grandma did the edge of the pie crust. It looked just like Grandma's.
I think my aunt and grandma would have been proud. The pie completely lived up to my expectations. I even ate some for breakfast this morning! The recipe makes two pies. I kept one for our house and gave the other to my uncle Gary for his birthday. They were incredibly easy to make, especially with my grandma's Never Fail Pie Crust recipe! If you choose to make them be sure to use the lard!
Grandma's "Never Fail Pie Crust" Recipe
Mix 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder, cut in 1 1/4 cups lard using a pastry blender ( oruse half a stick of lard) until mixture is finely crumbled
mix 1 egg beaten, 5 T very cold water (I put water in the freezer before I started prepping to make the pies), 1 tsp white vinegar
Add egg mixture to the flour and mix with a fork until it holds together (I used the dough hook on my kitchen aid mixer and it worked beautifully)
Divide into 4 balls and roll out on a floured board or countertop.
This recipe makes 4 crusts (or 2 apple pies). Left over dough can be frozen
Grandma's Apple Pie Recipe
peel and cut 7-9 apples. I used Haralson apples because that is the kind that my grandparents grew on the farm.
Layer half the apples in the pie crust
sprinkle with sugar, a couple T flour and a little cinnamon
top with the other half of the apples, it should be heaping
sprinkle with more sugar and flour
top with 5 pads of butter
top with second crust, tuck top crust under the outside edge of the bottom crust and finish the edge
brush top with half and half or milk
sprinkle top with sugar
cut air holes
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, turn down to 350 for 45-60 min *Put pan on lower rack to catch the juices