The Facebook photo of the pie I baked Basil for his birthday celebration got more attention than most things I post, so I figured I’d share the recipe. Perhaps you’ll want to add it to your Thanksgiving table.
Once upon a time, we celebrated family birthdays with cake — chocolate for me, vanilla with fancifully colored frosting and sprinkles for Catherine, anything on a plate for Basil. But Catherine’s egg allergy changed things. Even with egg replacer concoctions, cakes can be problematic — difficult to remove from the pan, tough to frost without falling apart. Cupcakes can work, with the help of a foil or paper holder, but somehow, apple pie has become our go-to dessert. Birthdays, family gatherings, holiday celebrations. Always apple, although over the years, I’ve tried other fruit.
The recipe is Mom’s, handed down in the neatly typed and catalogued binder of family recipes she presented at my bridal shower. I confess that where the crust is concerned, these days I cheat and reach for Pillsbury. No one complains, but one day, when I can finally reclaim some time (ha!) I will make the crust again (or not).
3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar (I stick closer to 3/4 cup)
2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg (fresh ground is best)
Pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie (Thank you, Pillsbury)
2 Tblsp. butter or margarine (Did you have to ask? Of course I use the butter)
Pare apples and slice thin.
Combine sugar, flour, spices and salt; mix with apples.
Line greased 9-inch pie plate with pastry.
Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter.
Adjust top crust; flute edges or cut off even with plate edge and crimp with a fork dipped in flour. (I mostly just pray the thing holds together. And promise myself that one day I will learn to properly flute a pie crust.)
Use a fork or knife to create a few vent holes for the steam. I’ve tried to be fancy and use cookie cutters for this. The design nearly always collapses into the apples, leaving an unrecognizable shape of a hole. So I stick with three slashes of the knife, which yesterday created a grimacing face someone pointed out in my Facebook photo.
Sprinkle with sugar for sparkle.
Bake in 400-degree oven for 50 minutes or until done. I put a collar of foil around the crust’s edge so it doesn’t burn.
Last step, if you’ve baked this for a special occasion, is to beat your husband and child off with a stick as they try to convince you it’s OK to serve a used dessert.