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Apple Pie

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Family Story

My grandmother, Theresa LaVaque, taught me this recipe when I was a young girl, and my family and I would visit her in her small kitchen in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Three things were important about this recipe. One, she said it was important to use at least three different kinds of apples, with one being tart, as the mix makes for a tastier filling. I usually use Granny Smith and two other types such as Fuji and Honeycrisp (do not use Delicious apples) and what is available locally will vary. Two, she taught me how to roll using the "around the clock" technique, so that the edges don't get too thin and the crust has an even thickness. She also taught me how to gently lift the crust onto the rolling pin so it won't tear when lifted. Third, she always used good leaf lard. Leaf lard is rendered pork fat, and is the best fat to use for pie crust. Bought from a good butcher, it is pure and does not have a pork taste; it has no trans fats or added chemicals. Crisco is hydrogenated oils and has trans fats, which are not healthy. Vegetable oil makes a very hard, stiff crust. Butter makes an extremely flaky crust that falls apart, though it is tasty. This pie is always delicious, according to to friends and family. It also won first place in a county fair apple pie contest many years ago, which I always thought would make my grandmother happy, to know that I was carrying on her tradition. I also taught this recipe to my daughter and her friends in high school, and now many of them make this recipe as well.


1 Step

1. First, make the pie filling. Combine sugars, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and sift over the cut apples. Use at least three different kinds of apples, including one tart type. You may use a bit more sugar if the apples are really tart. Stir until the apples are coated. Let the apples sit while you make the crust. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 2. Next make the crust. Sift flour and salt together. Cut in half of lard with pastry blender, then the rest until the mixture is pea-size overall; add the butter, also cut in the butter evenly. Sprinkle one Tablespoon of water at a time while gathering mixture with a fork, until it holds together. Form it into a ball, and cut in two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Amount of water will vary depending on the flour and temperature. Lightly flour a pastry board and rolling pin, and roll out the larger piece until it is about 1/8” thick and about 2” larger than the top rim of your pie pan. Roll the crust “around the clock” to 12, then 6, to 9 then 3, etc. Sue a thin metal spatula to loosen the crust from the surface.Gently roll the crust around the rolling pin and then unroll it onto the plate - this way it prevents the crust from tearing while lifting it. Use a 9 or 10” pie pan, with slightly more sugar, lard, and apples for the larger pan. After assembly (below) roll top crust (smaller piece) and place onto pie using same method. Leaf lard makes the best, flakiest crust, but shortening (crisco) may be substituted in combination with butter if needed (vegetarian). 3. Assemble the pie: Gently place apples in pie shell, in closely packed layers, in a circular pattern if you wish. Sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with small bits of butter. You may sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind if you wish (optional). Roll out top crust to about 1” larger than pie rim, moisten top edge of lower crust with a tiny bit of water, and transfer to pie the same way as the bottom. Press edges to seal and make decorative edge with fingers or fork. Cut apple-shaped slit in top to allow steam to escape. Place thin strips of aluminum foil (or a silicone pie edge protector) along pie edges. You may sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top if you wish. 4. Bake: Bake the pie at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes until pie is golden brown. Remove aluminum strips during last ten minutes to brown edges.


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