Growing up, my mom made everything healthy and wonderful from scratch. We ate fresh meat and vegetables, whole grains, and no sugar. I never had a lot of processed and sweet deserts, and I have been really lucky to grow up with a taste for the same home made, naturally sweet treats. I can’t stomach frozen/store bought pie with it’s gelatinous apple colored filling, and have a feeling that if people knew how easy it is to make a simple pie with just a few ingredients, they would be amazed. I’m not saying it’s healthy, for there is a whole stick of butter in it, but at least the ingredients are pronounceable.
You could say this about most modern products, from frozen food “made with love by the next best thing to your own grandma,” loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors, and dyes, that I think grandma would cringe at the idea of feeding “home made goodness” like this to any of her loved ones.
I have given 2 versions of the pie crust. My basic easy-peasy pie crust is a tried and true classic, adapted from The Joy of Cooking. This is the pie crust that I HAVE to make for holiday dinners since it’s always requested. My Mom’s healthy version is the one I grew up on, taken from her hand written adaptations in the copy of the Joy of Cooking that I grew up with. This recipe can also be easily adapted to an easy vegan version by substituting all olive oil, or any other non-dairy binder in place of the butter. Keep in mind that the butter keeps the dough light and flaky, as oil does not, so try to find a suitable substitute.
Easy-Peasy Pie Crust * * * * * * * * My Mom’s healthy version
4 Cups unbleached white flour 2 Cups unbleached white flour
½ Cup Butter unsalted 2 Cups whole wheat flour
¼ Cup Olive Oil ¼ Cup wheat germ
Ice water ½ Cup butter unsalted
¼ cup Olive Oil
To make the pie crust
1. Measure Flour into a large bowl
2. Cut butter into cubes and add to the flour – chilled, straight from the fridge works best.
3. Using your hands, or a pastry cutter, break the butter up in the flour until the pieces are pea sized and even throughout the mixture.
4. Making a well in the center of the mixture, pour in olive oil, and blend in using hands or pastry cutter.
5. The mix should be moist enough to hold together when a ball is formed. Add 1 spoonful of ice water to the mixture at a time, until this is possible. The water will bind the dough together, but will cook off in the oven, leaving a flaky, delicious crust.
6. Split the mixture into 2 equal parts and form into tight even balls.
Set these aside.
8 large Apples. I like McIntyre from my local green market, but any other juicy, tart apple including Macintosh will work.
¼ Cup Apple Cider
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
2 Tsp Cloves
To make the filling
1. Peel, Core and cut the apples into pieces, and place in a bowl.
2. Add the apple cider, honey and spices and mix well.
Making the pie
1. Preheat the oven to 375*F
2. Place one ball of dough on a large piece of wax paper, saran wrap, or tinfoil. Press the ball flat and roll out to a large circle, using a rolling pin or smooth bottle filled with ice water.
3. Take the top piece of wax paper/saran/foil off and Flip the dough over onto a 9” pie plate. Peel remaining layer of wax paper/saran/foil off.
4. Fill with apple mixture. Apples will cook down considerably, so don’t be afraid to make a large mound in the pie plate.
5. Roll out second ball of dough in the same way, and flip over onto the top of the filled pie plate.
6. Using your 3 middle fingers, crimp the edges of the pie dough together.Index and 4th finger on the outside, and middle finger on the inside lip of the pie. This creates a nice crimp around the edge of the pie crust.
7. Cut star shaped slits (5 lines radiating out from the middle) in the top of the pie to let steam out.
8. Dust the top of the pie with a bit of cinnamon & cloves
9. Bake for about an hour, until crust is golden brown.
Also try this same recipe with a blueberry, raspberry or blackberry filling. The spices can remain the same though I would omit the apple cider, and add a few tsps of lemon juice for a tarter flavor.
Thank you mom for crossing out all the sugar in The Joy of Cooking!