Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

November 27, 2011
Irene Saiger


Old Fashioned Apple Pie

With Fall came the appearance of apples in the markets on the East Coast, with numerous varieties to choose from, most of which were grown in Upstate New York.  As a child, my father took great pride in his ability to peel an apple in one uninterrupted motion, rotating the apple and keeping the knife steady in his hand as the peel slowly curled off the fruit.  I was fascinated by it and he always chuckled as I looked on.  In the evening, my mother would serve a snack of cut-up apples alongside sliced rye bread and butter, or she would steep slices of apple in hot tea.  Occasionally she made baked apples or an apple cake.  My father would encourage me to eat apples, stating how healthy they were, maybe because he actually believed that “an apple a day kept the doctor away” (my father typically believed what he read in print) but I was allergic to raw apples and so eventually I just stopped eating them.

I envied my parents and sister, and later on, my husband and children, who took such pleasure in eating this seemingly perfect snack that actually didn’t require peeling.  I loved watching them take that very first bite when you could hear the crunch and that pop of juice.  I would watch the expressions on their faces as they formed an opinion, was the apple too mealy, too tart, too sweet or just perfect.  I still find myself drawn to the apple stands at the farmers markets.  I might ask the grower about new varieties, pick one up and weigh it in my hand, look for blemishes, gently squeeze it to see if it feels firm and then buy a few to take home.  I have a bowl full of apples in my kitchen right now, purchased for no reason other than that they looked so pretty.

My daughter recently went apple picking in Upstate New York and she brought some of the apples home with her on Thanksgiving.  Like everything in life, things may not be exactly as we wish, but we adjust.  I accept that I will never experience  the pleasure of biting into a just picked Northern Spy or an Ida Red, but I can take those apples and turn them into apple pie, home-made, double crusted and perfect.

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Crust   (enough for a double crust)

2 Cups all-purpose flour

3/4 Tsp salt

1 Cup Crisco

1 egg

2 Tbs cold water

1 Tbs white vinegar


6  baking apples ( I used a combination of Ida Red, Macoun and Empire)

3/4 Cup sugar

2 Tbs flour

1 1/2 Tsp cinnamon

Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine flour and salt in large bowl.  Add Crisco to flour and using your fingers blend until mixture resembles large peas. Beat egg, water, and vinegar together and pour into flour mixture.  Stir with a fork until blended.  Divide dough in half and shape each portion into a ball.  Flatten each into a 4″ circle, wrap in Saran, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Dust rolling-pin and board with flour.  Roll one portion of dough out to fit an 8″ pie plate with a 1″ overhang.  Carefully place dough into greased pie plate.

Peel, core, and slice apples and mix with sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Place apple mixture in pie shell.  Roll out second piece of dough and  place on top.  Crimp edges or just fold over for a more rustic looking pie.  Cut slits in the top crust to allow for steam to escape or use a pie bird.  Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until pie is fully baked and apples are tender.



17 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Apple Pie

  1. Good morning, Irene.

    I am so happy that we have the same memory about the seeds and that we both eat them. You never told me.

    I spend all night last night thinking about the word mommy used to describe the apple when it was shriveled (best term in English) and it was “geyenked.” I think she purposely put them in the freezer (if I remember correctly) and the flesh turned a little brown and it was very chewy. It was as if they were going through a process of fermentation. I also like the taste of apples when they are in that state. Do you remember that??

    This little walk down memory lane also took me to peanuts. Uncle Chiel always told us that when you split a peanut in half that there is a babushka ( a grandmother) in one half of the peanut on top. It looks like an old woman with a kerchief on her head. And to this day when I eat peanuts I always look for the babushka.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Your shvester

  2. Dear Irene….I continue to love your stories and recipes…hope to do the apple pie soon! Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!!! We were invited out for TG dinner, so had no leftovers. I decided to go ahead and cook a whole TG dinner and now, we have leftovers!!!! Best wishes and love….dorothye abels

    • Thank you so much Dorothye.

      We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and good for you for making it another day! I love that you cared enough. I often wonder why we only eat turkey on Thanksgiving because we really enjoy it, and all the sides of course. Do you have a family tradition to share with us??


  3. Hi, Irene.

    It is so wonderful to read your stories because they bring back such vivid memories of our parents and our life at home. I had completely forgotten that daddy peeled his apples in the way you described so well. I do the same thing but never put the two together. Mommy and daddy would sit and watch television at night and eat apples. That was their snack. Mommy loved apples that were a bit old because the texture of the apple changed and was more chewy. It had a Yiddish name that escapes me at the moment. Do you remember that? And what about the seeds? To this day I save the apple seeds and eat them. I love them. Mommy’s apple cakes were delicious and so were your apple pies. I am determined to make one for us in the next few days. Not an easy task for me but I love your apple pie and am going to give it a try.

    We miss you all.

    Love, Anita

    • Hi Anita,

      I don’t remember her preference for old apples but I also love the seeds!! Very strange thing to like and I had forgotten that part.

      We miss you too! If you come, I will bake a pie for you!!!!


  4. Awesome pie bird, where did you get it?

  5. Yummy. My first apple pie of the season is generally for Thanksgiving (did you see my facebook photo? It’s of my pie). I use a very similar recipe for the crust – it’s from California kosher. I like granny smiths, pippins (although I haven’t seen them in a few years) and a few sweet apples in the mix. I also like lemon, and I add a pinch of salt and a tsp of vanilla. Yours sounds wonderful too – a sweeter version. Enjoy!

  6. Thanks for another great recipe Irene! Literally everything you make is amazing, I know this first hand.

  7. I recognize that bird!!! Yummy!

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