I still remember trips to my grandparents’ house. My grandmother was an amazing cook. With her famed roasts, we’d have green beans and corn from their victory garden and apple pie made from the apple trees in their backyard, if in season. What made my grandmother’s apple pie so distinct was her crust. It was thick enough so that you could pick up and eat a whole slice in your hand without it crumbling. She died when I was in middle school. I remember finding her box of recipes in high school and discovering her apple pie recipe. I have modified is slightly over the years by substituting stevia for some of the sugar. Her recipe also called for Crisco, which historically is loaded with unhealthy trans-fatty acids. I use non-bacon grease pork fat (aka lard) I think works even better than Crisco. Bon appétit!
18-24 organic apples (I like Fuji), depending on the size of your pie pan (I use a 10 inch pan).
1.5 cups organic brown sugar
3 tsp Sweet Leaf stevia (as a substitute for the traditional 2 cups organic cane sugar)
3 tsp cinnamon
2 cups organic all-purpose flour
¾ tsp salt
¾ cup lard
6-8 Tbsp iced water
I always start by taking a cup of water and placing it into the freezer. Then I use an apple-peeler-corer-slicer to cut and peel the apples. I cut the processed apples down the middle and toss them into a pot. I cover the apples with water and add the brown sugar, stevia and cinnamon into pot and stir. Turn the pot on high and begin to boil the apples. The water will cook down and make a thick liquid while the apples soften and turn brown. Pour the apples into a colander and strain the liquid out. Removing the liquid is important so that the bottom of you pie crust is not soggy.
While the apples are cooking, I start the crust. Put the flour, salt, and lard into a bowl. With two knives, begin slicing up the lard so you are creating small dime-sized balls of lard. Grab the water out of the freezer. Ideally, it has at least a small layer of ice on top by now. Add the 6-8 Tbsp of iced water and use your hand to blend the ingredients together. Add a layer of flour to your counter and place half of the crust dough on top. I typically make a ball of dough here and then begin to roll it out with a rolling pin. Gently fold the rolled dough in half and transfer it to the bottom of the pie pan.
Place the pie pan in the refrigerator until your oven is pre-heat the at 375°F. Place a piece of parchment paper over the crust. I put dried beans on top of the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the crust from the oven, remove the parchment paper and cover the edges of the pie pan with aluminum foil to protect the edges from getting too dark. Bake another 15 minutes. Turn up the oven to 425°F.
Place the apple filling onto this bottom layer of pie crust, and repeat the rolling procedure above for the other half of the dough.
Once it is rolled out, fold it in half and take a knife and add three slits into the middle of the crust. I typically make the middle slit slightly longer for aesthetics. This lets the pie breathe and any steam out when it’s cooking in the oven. Transfer the folded dough onto the top of the pie pan. Take a fork and press it around the edges of the pie pan in order to attach the bottom crust layer to the top crust layer. Add aluminum foil around the pie pan edges like before.
Place the pie into the oven until the top crust is golden brown. Brushing a layer of milk or egg on top of crust can help with the browning. Remove and let cool!