Today I’m making one of the pies that will be part of our Thanksgiving celebration. I’m trying to get ahead of the game and get as many things done ahead of time as I possibly can. This Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust is one thing I want to get done and put in the freezer, ready for the big day. I only call it old-fashioned pie crust because it calls for, yes, LARD, and I also decided not to use the food processor. I’m actually going to mix it by hand. Usually I’m against lard, or shortening, or margarine – I usually just use butter. I had lard left over from making Hilda’s Donuts (I also still have apples left from our friend, Sven) and I thought – let’s give it a try. I haven’t had pie crust made with lard in about 40 years. I’m not sure why, but at some point we were told that margarine and shortening were better for us than lard or butter. Wrong. How could chemicals possibly be better than something that’s natural. That’s just my opinion.
I have a funny story about apple pie . . . the first time I made it by myself was when I was in 3rd grade. My mom was a working mom so I was home after school by myself and I decided to try to make an apple pie. I’m sure I had seen my mom and both of my grandmas make crust and cut apples for pie. It all went well until it came time to take it out of the oven. I dropped it! Upside down on the CARPET that we had in the kitchen (it was the 70s, remember). Good grief – I probably could hardy lift it – 3rd grade!!!! What is that, 8 years old?!! This photo was taken on my 8th birthday, so I suppose it would have been the next fall that I gave this a try.
I called my mom at work and actually thought I could still save it. Nope. It was a goner. I remember standing there just looking at it, and I couldn’t even clean it up right away – it was HOT!!!! Oh well, it wouldn’t be the last of my culinary disasters. Ha!
This recipe looks like it originally came from my mom. Must be a good one, note the “Good” connotation!
I had apples that seemed a bit dry, so I didn’t use the tapioca she has on the bottom left corner of the card. These apples also seemed “plenty sweet” so I only used 1/2 cup of sugar with the cinnamon (and I added just a dash of nutmeg and 3 small pats of butter).
Here is the recipe as I made it:
Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
2/3 cup lard
Use pastry blender to cut (mix) until lard pieces are about the size of peas.
3-6 Tablespoons cold water (I used 6 T)
Mix with a fork until dough sticks together when you squeeze a handful.
Form into disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator while fixing apples.
Peel, core, and slice enough apples to fit into your pie plate. Go ahead and really fill it up – they will shrink a bit when baked.
Take pie crust out of refrigerator, split into two pieces, and roll out the first piece (crust) between sheets of plastic wrap (this is still my favorite way to do it and I wont give that up, even though I did the mixing by hand this time – it’s fast and no sticking to your counter top).
Put the first crust into pie plate.
Fill with apple slices and add the cinnamon/sugar mixture (I added a dash of nutmeg, too, and 3 small pats of butter).
Roll out the second crust – big enough to cover all.
Put top crust on top of apples and crimp edge of crust.
Cut decorative vent holes in the top crust and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. (Some people like to use an egg wash on the top crust, but since neither of my grandmas nor my mom did that, I’m not going to do it here.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turn down to 350 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes more.
Cool on a rack. Cool completely if going into freezer.
You can see the pea-sized bits of lard here.
It’s hard to see, but there is a squeezed portion in the middle of the bowl.
Wrap up the dough and chill.
I usually put two overlapping horizontal layers of plastic wrap on the counter, then put the dough, and then two more overlapping horizontal layers of plastic wrap before I roll it out. My plastic wrap isn’t wide enough to be able to roll out a big enough crust by itself, so I use two and then it’s wide enough without coming out of the sides of the plastic wrap.
Put in the bottom crust . . .
then fill with sliced apples, sugar, and cinnamon, and an additional dash of nutmeg and butter pats.
I take off the top layer of plastic wrap, flip it upside down on top of the filling, and use quick little tugs to remove the rest of the plastic wrap.
She’s ready for the oven. Isn’t she beautiful? Ready for the freezer. I wrap it well and thaw overnight before putting the pie back into the oven at 350 degrees for another 30-40 minutes or so to re-crisp it and warm it up.
I can’t wait until we can try this pie crust. I’ll post on Facebook how it goes. Try it yourself – just don’t drop it!