More Than Just A Pie

It is often asked at some point in one’s life, “What do you want your legacy to be?” Of course there is a variety of answers to such a deep and personal question. Does legacy equate to dollars in a savings account, traditions passed on to loved ones, morals and values taking deep root, or perhaps all of those things combined? Sometimes, the making of a legacy is found in the small, intimate moments found in our day to day lives. 

Cooking in the kitchen is something that will forever be part of my grandmother’s legacy. Growing up eating the food she taught my own mom to cook. The taste of her southern cooking cuisine is delectable, and it has a way of warming your whole body from the inside out. All made by hand, the wonderful taste of her food came from her love of being in the kitchen. At ninety three years old, Mamaw Pat still makes some of the greatest food I’ve ever tasted. 

I think it’s important to make note of how legacy’s are created. Intentionality is key. It’s taking time to put down the busy things that consume our day, and carving out space for the small moments spent together with the ones you love. Each year at Christmas time, the task of Christmas cookies lingers in the air. As a mom of three daughters, I know the task involves a great big, fat mess! I also know that if my own mom hadn’t endured the mess with me, I wouldn’t have the memories I have now as an adult. It’s these memories that allows me to also endure the mess with my own children. It’s time spent together, being creative, licking the sweet frosting off of your fingers and laughing when the flour goes flying into the air. These are the moments that last through the generations. It’s these moments that create a lasting legacy.

What are some of the things you are doing with the ones you love to create a legacy for your own family? Are you getting in the kitchen with your grandmother, absorbing all the things she can teach you? Are you risking messy situations to laugh and create with your kids. It doesn’t have to be a long list, it doesn’t have to take all of your time. It’s the small, intentional moments that matter the most. Every so often, gather up the ones you love, tell them how much you love them, learn something new together, make apple pie. These are the things that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Mamaw's Apple Pie 

Ingredients for the Crust

3 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. butter, cut into 1/2" pieces

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

8 tbsp. ice water (or more, if needed)

For the Filling

3 1/2 lb. assorted apples (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala) cored, peeled, and thinly sliced

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2/3 c. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water (egg wash)

Coarse sugar, for sprinkling


Make Crust

  • Make crust: Place flour and butter into freezer for 30 minutes before starting crust process.

  • In a large food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form. With the machine running, add vinegar, then ice water into feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to come together and is moist but not wet and sticky (test by squeezing some with your fingers). Mixture will be crumbly.

  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, form into 2 equal size balls, and flatten into disks (making sure there are no/minimal cracks).

  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is very cold, at least 2 hours.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a 12” circle. Drape over  lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9”-x-1.5” pie dish and gently press to fit (don’t stretch). Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze 10 minutes.

Make Filling

  • In a large bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Transfer apple mixture into the crust-lined pie dish. Dot all over with butter.

Assemble + Bake Pie

  • Preheat oven to 425º with a large baking sheet on the middle rack.

Lattice Pie Crust

  1. Roll out second disc of  dough into a 12-inch circle. My circles are never perfect. Oh well.

  2. Cut dough into strips. To keep things simple, I recommend 12-1 inch strips.

  3. Lay 6 strips vertically and evenly spaced on top of the filled pie. Use the longer strips in the center of the pie and the shorter strips on the ends.

  4. Fold every other strip (3 in total) all the way back so they’re almost falling off of the pie. Lay one of the 6 unused strips perpendicular on top. Unfold the 3 vertical strips back so they lay over the perpendicular strip. You have 5 strips left.

  5. Fold the other 3 vertical strips back. Lay one of the 5 unused strips perpendicular on top. Unfold the 3 vertical strips back so they lay over the perpendicular strip. You’re now beginning to see the beautiful woven pattern!

  6. Repeat with last 4 strips, weaving the strips over and under one another.

  7. Fold the excess dough that lays over the edges of the pie back and pinch them with the bottom pie crust. Flute the edges of the pie, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a little coarse sugar. This adds a lovely sparkle and crunch!

  8. Refrigerate unbaked pie for 30 minutes prior to baking. This is an often overlooked step, but cold dough is guaranteed to hold the lattice shape.

  • Place pie onto preheated baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375º and bake until golden and bubbly, 40 minutes more. (If edges begin to look dark, cover with foil.)

  • Let cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before serving.

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