My grandparents lived in a very small town in Kansas called White City. It had one bank, a tractor store, a post office, a little grocery store and a meat locker. Every summer my sister and I counted the days until we got to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa in White City. We would help Grandma pick veggies from her garden, go on “rides” through the wheat fields in the evenings, and climb up the stairs to the “sleeping porch” when it was time to go to bed. Our favorite thing to do was listen for the noon whistle every weekday, which meant that Grandpa would put on his hat, lock up the bank and walk home for lunch. We would run towards downtown to meet him and bring him home for the biggest meal of the day. Grandma usually spent her mornings in the kitchen cooking and baking, so everything would be ready by noon. She didn’t have any time-saving appliances like a microwave oven or a food processor, but that didn’t stop her from turning out beautiful and delicious feasts on a daily basis.
The dish I remember most fondly was Grandma’s amazing apple pie – apple slices mixed with sugar, butter and a touch of cinnamon, surrounded by a golden flakey crust still warm from the oven! Years later, when I attempted to make an apple pie, I realized it could be quite work-intensive. First you have to make the dough for the crust. (OK, you could use a frozen piecrust from your local store.) You still have to peel, core and slice those apples and prepare the sugar mixture because in my kitchen, canned apple pie filling just won’t cut it! I only make apple pie one time a year, and that is when I feel like fall is finally here. It’s a tradition for me to wake up one morning and just know it’s time. It’s also tradition for me to give an apple pie to someone that day to “officially” welcome fall. Who will get the pie this year?
Regrettably, I don’t have Grandma’s apple pie recipe, but here is my recipe for apple pie.
DUTCH APPLE PIE
- 6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 deep dish pie crust
Stir together ½ cup all- purpose flour and ½ cup packed brown sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 tablespoons butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Place apple slices in a large bowl and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Whisk in ½ cup of white sugar, brown sugar, ¼ cup water, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Whisking constantly, bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour mixture over apples, tossing to coat.
- Spoon apple mixture into crust, mounding apples in center.
- Sprinkle crumb topping over the filling.
- Lightly cover top of pie with foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until pie is bubbling and the topping is golden.
- Cool on a wire rack.