I grew up with apple pies. Lots of other pies too, but the standout memory is apple pies. My Mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, which, in my mind, means she is a terrific cook, but most of all a terrific pie baker. She tells me of falling asleep in her grandparent’s dining room, while all the adults sat around the table speaking German, a language she didn’t learn. Interesting to me — these family members had been in America for 300 years but still spoke their German.
The Pie Connection
Mom also tells me of her grandmother baking many, many pies at the end of each week, so that the hard working family would have pies to last throughout the coming week. They would be set aside in a pie safe. Years ago I found a pie safe at an antique shop in Leesburg, Virginia. I was told that the pie safe had come from York, Pennsylvania. My son now has that pie safe. We used to keep our stereo equipment in it. I don’t know what he stores in it now, but I doubt it is pies!
Carrying On The Tradition
Now both my son and I are pie bakers. I make crust from scratch all the time. I think he makes crust from scratch some of the time. But I think we both do a super job! Apple Pie? A must for me, is to use McIntosh apples. Their flavor just can’t be beat. Some say the apple, when cooked turns to mush. I say, “Who cares?!!” It just plain makes a scrumptious pie!
A New Ingredient
I learned to add a new ingredient, on my first visit with my husband’s grandmother, when we moved to New Mexico. She added a touch of salt to her apple pies. I’ve used that touch of salt ever since.
Mom’s Recipe With The Added New Mexico Ingredient
One unbaked 9 inch pie crust
6 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 2 inch pieces (or the size that you prefer), place in pie crust
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream together flour, sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of chopped apples. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees, and continue baking for 45 more minutes. Let pie cool or serve warm topped with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Thanks Mom, for the recipe and for the heritage!