Best-Ever Apple Pie

I’ve eaten a lot of pie in my day. And I have no problem saying that my wife’s apple pie is the best that’s ever crossed my palate.

I’ve written about Therese’s apple pie many times, as recent as this past Wednesday on the Herald food page (www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Life/tag/food/). She’s affectionately known as Grandma Apple pie in our extended family.

One of the things that makes her pie so good is the crust. The recipe Therese uses comes straight out of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that she had when we were married about 10½ years ago.

After my column about pies appeared in the newspaper this week, a reader, Heather Norman, called and asked for the recipe, which I gladly passed on.

When I mentioned this to Therese, she said there are a lot of pie-crust recipes out there, but they’re not all the same. She then went on to tell me that once when she was visiting family in Cincinnati, she was asked to make an apple pie. Since Therese didn’t have the recipe memorized, she had to use one from another cookbook. She said the pie just didn’t turn out the same, so I guess it all had to with the crust recipe.

Following you will find the BHG crust recipe, along with the one she uses for the apple filling (also in the BHG cookbook). If you give them a try, I can’t imagine that you will be disappointed.

Perfect Apple Pie
6 to 8 tart apples, pared, cored and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
¾ to 1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash ground nutmeg
Pastry to 2-crust, 9-inch pie (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons butter
Combine sugar, flour, spices and dash salt; mix with apples. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry. Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter. Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam;  seal. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until done.
Note: If apples lack tartness, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Plain Pastry
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water
Sift flour and salt together; cut in shortening with pastry blender until pieces are the size of small peas. (For extra-tender pastry, cut in half the shortening until like cornmeal. Cut in remaining until like small peas.) Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to side of bowl. Repeat until all is moistened. Divide dough for lower and upper crust and form into balls. Flatten on lightly floured surface by pressing with edge of hand 3 times across in both directions. Roll from center to edge until 1/8-inch thick.
To bake, trim lower crust even with rim of pie plate. Cut slits in top crust. Lift pastry by rolling it over rolling pin; then unroll loosely over well-filled pie. Trim ½ inch beyond edge Tuck top crust under edge of lower crust. Flute edge of pastry as desired. If edge of crust browns too quickly, fold strip of foil around rim of crust, covering fluted edge.