I’ve heard it said there’s nothing more American than baseball and apple pie.
Baseball I can do without.
Apple pie is another story.
Specifically, this story.
My pie starts with Grandmother’s pie.
For years, Grandma baked deserts for the lunch counter at the local sale barn.
Sadly, her legendary lemon meringue secret died with her.
When my mother married my father, she determined to make a better apple pie – specifically a better pie crust – than Grandma.
For years she labored, until one day Grandpa John said
I reckon this pie’s just as good as Gertie’s.
At least, he said something remarkably similar. This was before I was born.
Interestingly enough, when we moved Grandma out of that house sometime in the early 2000s, we found the secret to her pie crust:
packaged, premixed Flako Pie Crust
Grandma was a cheater.
And so, for as long as I can remember, Mom made the best apple pie – no questions asked (or answered, for that matter).
I wish I could say I learned mad ninja pie skills at Mom’s knee, but the truth is I never really paid attention to what Mom did in the kitchen. What came out of the kitchen, everyone paid attention to.
Like countless generations before me, I didn’t miss Mom’s apple pie until I left home. One year I was given a very nice Pampered Chef stoneware pie plate, and I thought
I’m not going to let this go to waste. I’m going to learn to make an apple pie.
So I emailed Mom; several weeks later I received actual, hand-written recipe cards for our growing collection.
Even if I failed, I’d have these priceless family momentos.
I had several false starts.
Delicious false starts, but not quite what I wanted.
I set out to make Mom’s pie recipe my own.
I experimented with apple varieties.
I tweaked spice combinations.
I adjusted various and sundry quantities.
Finally, I baked a pie I was proud to call my own.
And when they next visited, Dad said
I think this pie is just as good as Mom’s.
And he’s not just saying that.
My pie is now in demand at nearly every holiday party.
My students frequently request a pie or two throughout the year.
If they pay for the ingredients, I’ll make them a few.
$20 will buy all the ingredients for two pies.
In fact, I’m baking pies today for a get-together tomorrow.
I started getting messages last Sunday that folks were anticipating my pie.
Now, I won’t tell you exactly what goes into my apple pie, but here’s some pictures to whet your appetite:
And don’t worry; I’m not the next Mrs. Lovett – or Mr. Lovett as the case may be.
Thanks to Vanessa of Petal & Mortar for contributing to the Prompt Box!
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Great story of the secret success of your Grandma’s pie crust. I could have used that when I tried to bake as a novice cook. Your pie looks delicious. I’m impressed.
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Thanks; it’s taken me a while to get it right, but I make my own crust and have my own blend of apples and spices. In fact, I just got off the phone with Mom; she wanted to make sure I’d bake a pie for her and Dad when they visit next weekend.
That totally speaks of your cooking talents. Even more it speaks of a cherished family tradition handed down.
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