If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. ~Carl Sagan

Jen and I took the kids apple picking. We feel the need to do this every year even though we end up paying $23 for a bag of apples. For some reason, the cost the farm saves on labor gets added to your purchase.

We had this big bag of apples, and we were determined to use them. We made applesauce and apple crisp and apple juice. And still we had apples.

So I decided to make an apple pie. I made a homemade pie once before, but my son’s godmother helped me. I distinctly remember that we used lard. I remember this because we ran around town looking for it.

My mom was a pretty fierce baker in her day, but she died when I was young so I don’t have any of her recipes. My grandmother could also whip up a mean pie, but she is gone too. So I had to look to the internet for help.

I found the recipe I’ve posted below on the food network. I then watched a couple of youtube videos on pie making. I felt like I could do it.

P helped me with the first batch. We used Crisco instead of lard. I think I overmixed  the dough because it wouldn’t roll out. I tried freezing it, but it still wouldn’t cooperate.

I then made a second batch. I cut the dough into two balls and rolled out the first ball. And it worked! More or less. So I placed the dough over the rolling pin and put it on the pie pan. I cut up the apples and put in the filling. Things were looking up. But when I went to roll out the second ball, no go. It had gotten to warm or something. It just stuck everywhere.

At this point, I was halfway there and not giving up. It was 9:00 at night, and now I was out of Crisco. So I jumped into my car and ran to the neighborhood Co-op. I ran into a girl I knew from the old days. Once upon a time, we would bump elbows on the dance floor. Now, I was bumping into her on a baking emergency. Things change.

When I got home, I made a third batch of pie. This time, the top rolled out perfectly. Due to my lack of baking skills, I had a hard time setting up the pie. I was able to cover it, but didn’t do a good job making the lattice. I decided to just bake the mess and see what happens.

I have to say, this pie was one of the best things I’ve ever baked.  It’s just so good. It’s not pretty. I’m just going to have practice setting up the pie so it looks better. I posted the recipe below. As an aside, a couple of commenters on the food network said this pie was too sweet for their taste. Several of them had luck with cutting the sugar down to ½ cup for both the brown and sugar. We went full sugar over here.

Traditional Apple Pie Recipe


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening (recommended: Crisco)
  • Ice water
  • Filling, recipe follows
  • Serving suggestion: warm with vanilla ice-cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium-mixing bowl cut the shortening and salt into the flour by hand or with a pastry blender hands until it’s the texture of cornmeal. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice water over the mixture and mix just until the dough is moistened. Repeat by adding 6 to 8 tablespoons water (one at a time) until all the dough is just moist. Take care not to over mix.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough in half and roll into a ball. Roll 1 ball into a circle to fit a 9 to 10-inch pie plate. To transfer the pastry to the pie plate, wrap it around a rolling pin and ease it into the pie plate. Be careful not to stretch the pastry. Trim it even with the edges of the pie plate. Add the apple filling into the pastry lined pie plate. Make sure they are laying flat. Cut butter into small pieces and put on top of the filling.

Roll the remaining pastry into a 12-inch circle. Place on top of the filling. Trim off 1-inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges as desired. Cut slits to allow steam to escape when baking. Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon over the pie.

Cover the edges with foil to prevent over browning. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 to 7 cups apples cut into thin slices (recommended: Green Golden and Jonathans)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter

In a medium bowl combine the apples, with the brown and white sugar. Add flour, cinnamon and continue mixing until they are well coated.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


5 thoughts on “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. ~Carl Sagan

  1. My mom’s pie crust is dead easy. Start with flour–for 1 pie, use two cups. Half that amount of crisco–1 cup. Half that amount of water. Cut crisco into flour and then add water until ball forms. Do NOTHING else with it except roll out on floured surface with floured rolling pin.

    This recipe has never failed for me.

    Just in case you still have apples….

  2. The sticking problem, could easily be solved with extra flour on your rolling pin and your board. Usually crisco crusts do not need to be chilled, butter pastry does. Master the the crisco crust first, its all about practice, then go to Alton Brown’s site, he has a step by step recipe for a butter crust…to die for. Best to watch it a few times before you try to make it. Soon everything you make will be wrapped in pastry: Yum.

  3. Mmmm…Apple pie. Pies are one of my favorite part of fall. Especially when I get to have pie and coffee for breakfast! I’ve never made the pie dough from scratch though…now I think I have to try it. I love the picture! I bet your little guy had a ball picking the apples. (on another note – our blog has changed from Nhamo in Paradise to “The mamas and the babas” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s