Gobble, gobble, gobble! The leaves have turned colors and dropped from the branches, which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Every year, I anticipate gorging myself with all the goodies at the colorfully decorated table. There is no greater pleasure than sinking my teeth into the classic smorgasbord of hot, juicy turkey, steaming green bean casserole, delicious canned cranberries, and honey-glazed sweet potatoes sprinkled with roasted marshmallows…just to name a few. And don’t forget, the fresh-baked apple and pumpkin pies on the dessert menu every year by popular demand.
Let’s talk about the pie! I think back to my favorite Thanksgiving memory when I was a little kid watching my mother bake her famous homemade apple pie with the crumbles on the top. I would sit on the edge of my stool at the kitchen counter across from my mother in amazement watching her create the pies from start to finish.
First, she would prepare the dough that became the crust of the apple pie. The dough was made by adding cold shortening to a mixture of flour and sugar which came from big storage tubs that only made their way out of the pantry around holiday times. My absolute favorite part of the dough-making process was when she let me add in small amounts (we’re talking teaspoons) of water to the dough mixture to create an uneven gooey blob, which was amusing to play with. The dough was then put in the refrigerator, while my mother would preheat the oven and start to fix the rest of the ingredients.
I was mom’s little helper when it came to peeling, coring, and slicing the Granny Smith apples. I don’t know how much of a help I really was when an apple slipped out of my tiny fingers only to roll around like a soccer ball across the kitchen floor. I assured my mother that the apple could still contribute to the finished pie after if we rinsed it under cold water. The sliced apples were then added to a large bowl and mixed with fragrant cinnamon, sugar, flour, and butter, then set aside.
The most memorable part of the pie making was when my mother rolled out the cold dough with a wooden rolling pin, then placed it flat over a circular pie pan. I loved eating the trimmings of the dough, which had a distinct sweet taste and a gooey texture that I later realized was the combination of shortening and sugar— mmmmm!
The last step brought all the pieces together as we spooned the cinnamon apple mixture onto the flattened dough “pancake” and topped everything with a sprinkling of oatmeal, brown sugar, and 1/2-inch slices of butter dispersed across the apple dome. All that was left to do was to place the pie into the oven …and …wait.
While I don’t have my mom’s apple pie recipe, here’s a link to the Wilton test kitchen’s Dutch Apple Pie.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite Thanksgiving memories!