The Gram was a fabulous cook. My mother was a terrible cook. And I’m somewhere in the middle. Whereas Gram could bake a 6-layer cake with her eyes shut and one hand tied behind her back, Mom found herself in the great pumpkin-pie debacle of the 1970s. The story goes that she tried to bake a pumpkin pie for my dad not long after they were married. With good intentions she plopped the pumpkin filling in the crust and shoved it in the oven. That’s right. No spices, no other ingredients. Just the crust and the filling. She served my dad a slice, and he ATE IT. Well, the part that wasn’t burned. Since I’m an average cook, I need repetition to get a recipe right. And one of my favorite recipes also stems from one of the best summers I spent with my dad sometime during the early ‘90s. He taught me to bake an apple pie. And it’s only taken me about 20ish years to get it mostly right. NOTE: You’ll need more than crust and apples for this to work.
As for the leftover crust that was trimmed off? Well, we don’t waste things on either side of my family. We also don’t believe in foodborne bacteria. So, germs be damned, we’re eating that raw crust with the leftover cinnamon/sugar/flour mixture. We’ll have digestive systems like steel and be ready for the apocalypse. What are dads for, anyway?Print
My Mom, My Dad, and the Great Pumpkin-Pie Debacle of the 1970s
- 6 Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup sugar
- Cinnamon (welcome to my dad’s cooking – no actual measurements – spices are “to taste”)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 pie crusts
- (If Gram were here, she’d be appalled I’m not making my own crust. But to save on time and sanity, I confess I use store-bought crusts and hope for the best.)
- Peel and cut apples and put in a large bowl.
- Mix cinnamon, sugar, and flour together.
- Add dry mix to apples.
- Press one pie crust in greased pie pan (Dad diligently greases with a stick of butter, followed by a light dusting of flour – I use a spray can).
- Pour apple mixture into pie pan and form a hill with the apples.
- Cut off excess crust around edges of pie pan.
- Lightly pinch the crust edge to pan (this always trips me up – my crust usually looks a little haphazard).
- Put four slabs of butter on top of apple mixture.
- Place second crust on top of apple mixture, maintaining the shape of a hill (again, always trips me up since my hill turns into a plateau or bumpy drifts – as evidenced by the photo).
- Slice in bird feet in second crust.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7.
- Put foil around the edge of the pie pan.
- For the first 25 minutes of baking, keep the foil on.
- For the last 25-30 minutes of baking, remove the foil.
- Bake for a total of 50-55 minutes at 375 degrees.