There’s something about apple pie that takes me home. For a little bit, my world is okay. No job, no bills, no stress. Just me, a pie, and maybe some ice cream.
My mom baked apple pies a lot. Every holiday pies were never in short supply. I remember one Thanksgiving she baked 10 or more. One pie for each person (we were growing kids, after all). She was taught and given this recipe by an old lady neighbor of ours when I was a kid. Her name was Marguerite, and she was like a third grandmother.
The beauty of pies is that they’re so versatile. Even a beginning baker like me can turn out a decent pie. If you don’t like apples, use whatever you’d like. Ever seen Portlandia? Marionberries are a thing up here. They’re delicious, especially in pie form.
The crust is easy enough. All you need is flour, a fat, and a liquid. The key is to keep everything cold and don’t let it get too warm. If you handle the dough too much, you’ll end up with a tough crust. Not pretty. Definitely not tasty.
I will admit though, once your crust is rolled out. Getting it to the pie tin can be tricky. My mom rolled her dough between two sheets of wax paper. That way she could just flip it over into the pan and then peel it off. I just like to roll it over the pin and lay it on that way. Because it’s harder–it makes me feel more accomplished.
The apple pie filling is pretty easy as well. I kind of cheated though, in this case, my mom did all the work for me. Living on a farm, you tend to have a lot of produce that you don’t want to go to waste. We had a Golden Delicious apple tree and every year my mom would make tons of apple pie filling and then can it. Jars and jars of gooey, appley heaven. So gooey. Mmmmmm.
Everything about this pie takes me back to my childhood and that apple tree.
Note: for a more of a caramel taste, replace half or all granulated sugar with brown sugar.
Marguerite’s Apple Pie
Yields 1 pie
1 1/2 to 2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup modified tapioca starch or ultra set
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Mix sugar, thickener, and cinnamon and pour over sliced apples in medium pot. Add water, juice and butter. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until apples have softened. Set aside and let cool.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut in butter until a rough, dry dough forms. Add buttermilk and mix by hand , breaking up butter and milk, until combined. Divide in half, wrap in plastic and chill for about 3 hours.
Coat dough in flour. On a well floured surface, roll crust to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Roll crust over rolling pin and lay in an ungreased pie tin. Trim until it’s almost even with the pan. Roll the top layer till it’s large enough to cover pie tin. Using water or milk, coat edge of bottom crust before laying on the top layer. Once this is done, pinch and crimp edges to form a seal. Brush surface of crust with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cut a small hole in the middle and slits in the top crust. Chill pie for another half hour to avoid shrinking.
Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake on bottom rack for 50-60 minutes or until top crust is golden brown. Place pie on cooling rack for one hour. Serve warm.
If you don’t eat this with copious amounts of vanilla ice cream, you’re crazy. If you do, we can be friends. Enjoy it hard!