by Caroline Larson
I come from a long line of ladies who love to bake and cook. One of the things I just love is remembering my Grandma, how she loved to bake. She lived to be 102, and was well known in her community for her pie baking. Into her 90’s she made over 100 pies a year, most of them apple. She would make the crust and filling, and Grandpa, sometimes grudgingly, sat at the kitchen table with a peeler and knife.
My mother inherited her mom’s love of baking, and makes pies just as tasty. We always had apple trees in the yard, and it was a big deal to prepare apples with the hope of getting a pie sometime in the future. My dad was asked, “What do you do with all the apples in your freezer?”, to which he replied, “I don’t know. We peel them, cut them, freeze them – then I never see them again!” Pretty sure that was an offhand way to say he never got enough pie!
I went to Mom’s house this fall, and asked her to make pie with me. Hers always look better than mine…
Grandma’s E’s Pie Crust recipe:
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ⅔ cup shortening, or part lard
Mix until you have fine crumbles.
Mix together well:
1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon vinegar
½ cup lukewarm water
Add to dry ingredients. Don’t mix too much, or it will become tough. Roll out on floured surface, big enough to cover your pie plate, including sides. Lay crust into pie plate.
Now the filling:
Grandma whispered to me in one of her last pie-baking years, “I changed the recipe.” I looked at her in shock, how could she improve on perfection? Her reply, “I added somecbrown sugar, not just white.” She was a rebel. (That was after she told me I wasn’t a springcchicken anymore!)
5 cups apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I like to use a mix of varieties)
½-¾ cup sugar, depending on tartness of apples (can use part brown sugar)
2 heaping Tablespoons Minute Tapioca
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
3 little dabs of butter
MIx together all but the butter, place in prepared crust. Dot butter on top. Cover with second crust, and seal edges together, make a few knife slits in top for steam to escape. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for a nicely browned crust. Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the filling is bubbly, the pie is done!
Pie baking is a wonderful Fall activity for me, especially now that my sister and brother-in-law own and operate Northwoods Orchard in Oronoco. There are endless recipes of delicious things to make from apples!
Caroline Larson and husband Peter have 6 children and 5 grandchildren. They live on a farm outside of Pine Island where they have raised Highland cattle, children, pigs, chickens, and many other animals for which one has a whim.