Shirley’s Apple Pie

When I was growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at our house.  My Aunt Florence, Uncle Larry, and my cousins Karen, David, Debbie were always there.  It was wonderful.  Our yearly menu never changed and will be imprinted in my mind forever.  Here it is:  The hor d’oeuvres were as follows:  3 dozen Cohen’s little hot dogs, 3 dozen Cohen’s potato puffs, 1 dozen Cohen’s egg rolls, my mother’s homemade chopped liver served with party rye,  and  chilled Sacramento tomato juice.  For the main course we had:  brisket, turkey, my Grandma Hindes’s stuffing, cranberry jello mold, candied sweet potatoes, potatoes cooked around the turkey, salad, and French style string beans surrounding glazed carrots.  For dessert we had:  2 homemade apple pies served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate chip squares, coffee, and milk.  As a little girl, I adored watching my mother make all the food, and I was very involved with lots of the food preparation.  But I think my favorite part (besides eating all of her delicious food) was watching my mother make her delicious apple pies.  I really watched her every move as she rolled out the dough, placed the bottom crust in the pyrex pie plate, spooned the ample pie filling into the bottom crust, dotted the apples with margarine, and finally, lifted the top pie crust and beautifully placed it on top of the apples, masterfully crimping the pie dough to seal in the apple filling.  I think of all the cooking jobs my mother did for Thanksgiving, the pies always loomed over her as a daunting task.  But when those apple pies cooked and the delicious appley smell wafted through the house, and those gorgeous apple pies came out of the oven, she knew, and I knew that every bit of her effort was worthwhile!

for 1 double crust:  (In parentheses are quantities for a slightly large crust.)

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour (3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (1 1/3 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup  cold Crisco shortening (1 cup)
  • 5 tablespoons ice water (7 tablespoons)

Mix flour and salt in bowl of food processor or in large mixing bowl.  In processor, spoon shortening over flour mixture, and pulse till mixture is the size of small peas. Or if mixing by hand use a pastry blender.  Then add water and pulse only until dough comes together. If doing by hand, use a fork and blend water into dough  just until dough comes together.  Then dump dough out on floured board, and form into a large ball.  Divide into 2 disks, one slightly smaller than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When dough is sufficiently refrigerated, begin making your filling:

for the filling:

  • about 7-8 very large apples- Winesap, Rome, Granny Smith, Fuji, or a mixture of these or any other baking apples
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • heavy 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Minute Maid lemon juice from concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine to dot the filling
  • egg wash:  1 egg yolk mixed with 1  teaspoon water

Peel and slice apples into large mixing bowl.  Add sugar, cinnamon, flour salt, and lemon juice.  Roll bottom crust (smaller disk) out to a large enough circle on waxed paper.  Transfer to pie plate.  Spoon filling in.  Dot top of filling with the margarine or butter.  Roll out top crust (larger disk).  Gently lay over filling.  If you are freezing the pie, wrap well in plastic wrap at this point, then with foil.  If you are baking, brush pie crust with egg wash, make a few slits in the pie to allow steam to escape, place pie on sheet pan, and bake at 425 degrees about 40-60 minutes till browned all over.

Note If pie is frozen, then bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes and at 375 degrees for another 30 minutes till browned.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Note If you bake this in the morning, you may place it in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes before serving to warm it up.

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