Back to Basics: Easy as Apple Pie

Apple PieApple Pie SlicedLess is more. I think I used that phrase in a recent post and I’m still liking it. It seems that sometimes we complicate the simple things that don’t need complicating. Last weekend we made another road trip to New Jersey. Bruce asked me to pick up an apple pie while I was at the store. (In case you’re wondering . . . yes, we do eat apple pie but we try to keep it to a minimum.) As I was scrutinizing the labels, I couldn’t believe what I was reading: apples, sugar, flour, vegetable shortening, milk fat, rice flour, maltodextrin, modified corn starch, salt, glycerine, water, dextrose, eggs, cinnamon, potassium sorbate, preservative, artificial and natural flavors, malic acid, guar gum, citric acid, beta carotene, colors, mono and diglycerides, fructose, milk casein, spices, soy lecithin, carrageenan gum, disodium phospate. WOW! I dropped that pie like a hot potato.

I really wanted to indulge Bruce with a pie so I got to thinking (and this is when I get a little teary-eyed).  I remember my grandmother showing me and my friend Vikki how to make apple pie when we were kids. (Vikki passed away several years ago, but she always made it a point to tell me how special that day was.) Without using a recipe we made a crust with vegetable shortening, flour, water and salt. Then we tossed sliced apples with sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and flour; put it all together and popped it in the oven. That was it. A perfect apple pie.

Since we were “roughing” it at Mom’s house I decided to forego making the crust from scratch and picked up Marie Callender’s frozen pie crust and 6 Granny Smith apples. (One note about pre-made pie crusts: most of them contain lard, so make sure you read the labels carefully.) Just look at that pie. When I pulled it out of the oven I knew I was going to share this with you, so please forgive the cell phone pictures. The crust browned up nicely and was very flaky. The apples did not turn to mush and the juices baked into a sweet cinnamon syrup. The only thing I would do differently would be to serve it a-la-mode with some non-dairy ice cream. I couldn’t help but feel my grandmother’s loving hands and Vikki’s happy spirit guiding me through this Perfect Apple Pie. Make some memories with someone you love and make it a Vegi-curious day!

Apple Pie

2 frozen pie crust shells

6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2” slices
½ cup raisins, optional
½ cup sugar (white or brown)
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Cinnamon to taste


Preheat oven to 400F.

Let pie crust thaw at room temperature. While pie crusts are thawing, toss remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Fill bottom crust with apple slices, placing them so there are no large gaps. Invert the top crust onto the filling and seal the edges.

Place pie on baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Since oven temperatures vary, keep any eye on the crust and make any necessary adjustments. Cool slightly before slicing.

02 Oct 2015

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