Monday, May 5, 2014

My Mom and Apple Pie

With Mother's Day coming up I have been thinking a lot about my precious Mom.  My Mom was the Queen of Apple Pie baking.  She was well-known for her scrumptious apple pies.  Seriously, nearly famous.  I have never tasted an apple pie that even came close.  I don't know what was so magical about her pies but they just seemed to say "I love you!"  They were simply unforgettable.

She was a beauty inside and out!
Don't you think?
These were her beautician days when
Finger waves were all the rage...

I looked at a lot of images to find a pie that 
looked like Mom's but none were exactly like hers.

Mom and Dad always made the pies together with the help of us kids.  They bought a huge sub-zero freezer for the garage and many years we would get lugs of apples and over the weekend we'd make 52 pies.  One for each week of the year.  There were apple peelings all over the place and everything was sticky as we all peeled and generally made a giant mess in the process. I can still remember the apple juice running down my arms and trying to pare the peeling off in one long strip.  I didn't mind the slicing but I didn't love the coring.  But a good bath at the end of the long hot sticky days and the satisfaction of seeing those pies frozen one layer at a time, and stacked in the freezer was amazing.

Mama would always wear a pretty apron even when she was doing this kind of work, she was lovely and such a classy lady to the end. And the fact that Daddy helped her was a heart print for me and a really cool memory now.  I can still see him in his white grampa t-shirt and his suspenders on those hot days in Sacramento working in the kitchen.  It made me want to marry a man just like him.  And I did.

 Working together as a family was very strengthening to us.  Mom gave away a lot of those pies so there really wasn't one for every week and that was fine.  It was a great learning experience in so many ways.  I am definitely going to try this again and get good at it.  It is about so much more than the pie.

This week I have been scanning old papers, documents, photos and even a few recipes.  I was pretty good at saving things like this when I was a young woman, never fully realizing what they would mean to me now.

Mom's recipe in her own handwriting~
priceless to me now!

I found another card written in my handwriting and
 thought maybe someday our posterity might
 like to see it in my writing.
Mom was not kidding on hers
when she said,
"All generous measurements!"

The Apples are Pippins

Or Gravensteins
Tart crispy green apples are the best for pies.
After assembling all the ingredients...

On top of the bottom crust, add a large, heaping,
 round mound of apples and 
sugar mixture and butter.

Add the top crust and pinch closed around the edges.
Poke the top with a fork for air vents.
Sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon on the top crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn 
down the oven to 350 for 55 minutes.
Cool and enjoy!

Thin slices promote even baking
For the Crust:

Flour, Crisco, Salt and Water
Although some people do,
Mom did not use any butter in her crust~
Just Crisco for a light and flaky texture.
The butter went into the pie filling.

For the Pie Filling:

Here's Everything you need!
Apples, Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon,
Salt, Nutmeg, Butter and of course 
a little Water.

So as you can see there was nothing extraordinary about the ingredients or the way the pies were made.  This is just a little slice of life with my Mom.  I think the magic in the pies was simply my Mom's touch.  Or maybe it was that old beat up 1/4 cup tin measurer that did it.  I have it around here someplace I'll have to dig it up and see it if helps!  But neither my Mom nor I were ever very good at exact measurements.  You can tell that by the slight variation in her measurements between her original recipe and the one she dictated to me as she was making a pie years later.  She varied the recipe until it was pure perfection. She just have a sense for how much to use, I guess.  The most important ingredient is the love. And a lot of it.  That I know for sure.


Sister Susie Says said...

The "magic" in your mom's pies is the "I Love you!" It is so personal, no baker can duplicate it!

I praise our Almighty GOD for His beauty that shines through our moms!

We had a big chest freezer. Being raised in the Florida Keys, our freezer was always filled to the top with fish and lobsters frozen in water to prevent freezer burn, Dad would filet the fish and mom would clean it and the lobsters in their shells before putting them in their containers. My cat was always meowing at my dad's side as he would give him pieces of the raw filets! I got to take place in the cooking of the food to go with the fish! Hush puppies, green pea salad! Dad would cook the fish in an outside propane deep fryer (homemade!)

Your recipe pages remind me of my mom's on index cards (I still have) in the same green metal box. The hinges are a little creaky now.

For desert we would have homemade Key Lime Pie using our key limes from our tree! Delicious!

Thanks Bonnie, for sparking my memories of my mom! Happy Mother's Day to you and your daughters who are moms!
Love you all, Susan