Along with pumpkin pie and turkey, a good ol’ apple pie has been a staple dessert on the dinner table at Thanksgiving. Every year my parents would load up the car and we’d drive down to my grandparents’ house with a freshly baked apple pie waiting for us on the table. With COVID-19 keeping us all of us at home, my mom and I decided to try and recreate my grandmother’s apple pie.
The First Mistake
I’ve never baked a pie before. The last pie my mom baked was over ten years ago. This was going to be a disaster. We didn’t have a recipe to begin with. My grandmother lives in a very small town in Arkansas that doesn’t get any internet service so we couldn’t exactly call and ask for a recipe, so I began to search the internet for an easy recipe.
My grandmother’s apple pie is considered a crumb (or dutch) apple pie because it doesn’t have a crust topping but rather a brown sugar topping, so I narrowed my search down to recipes with this type of topping. I settled on a recipe from Betty Crocker. I should’ve known that choosing a Betty Crocker recipe would be a bad idea because I have experience with their recipes and they aren’t always the best, but I put aside my fears and printed out the recipe.
The First Attempt
I went to the store with my mom and bought all the ingredients for two pies, my practice pie that I’d make on Tuesday, and the final pie. On Monday I got a phone call from one of my friends asking to hang out. I thought I could knock out two birds with one stone and made him my baking assistant. I should’ve known better. I should’ve kicked him out of my kitchen the second I saw him peel apples. I had to double back on every step to correct his mistakes. I also second guessed every step of the recipe.
First, we ran out of dough. We bought a 9-inch pie tin as per the recipe, but after we made the dough for the crust I realized that it was crumbly and wouldn’t roll or stretch. We did our best to try and got most of the tin covered but it wasn’t enough.
The next thing that went wrong was the filling. The recipe called for four cups of apple slices, but it just turned out to be too many apples for the tin. I also accidentally squeezed a little too much lemon juice into the filling making it super tart.
The topping was just wrong. Instead of being a sugary crumb, it ended up being a sugary paste. While the practice pie tasted okay, it just wasn’t the apple pie we had in our dreams.
The Final Pie
My mom and I woke up early ready to bake. We learned from our mistakes and made a little more dough, less filling and less lemon juice. We still didn’t have enough dough to fill the tin, but it was better than our first attempt. We also cut the apples into thinner slices in an attempt to fix the filling. All of these things improved the final product.
I pulled the pie out of the oven just in time for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was much better than the first attempt, but the topping was still messed up and the crust was undercooked. Maybe I can perfect the recipe for next year.