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Thanksgiving apple pie is a tradition in my house. The smell of baking apples with cinnamon and nutmeg fills the house, making everyone’s mouth water. Out of the array of pies that I bake on Thanksgiving: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, squash pie, custard pie, chocolate cream pie, and apple pie, the apple pie is always the first to disappear.
The Thanksgiving apple pie recipe which follows is the same recipe that I have been using for the past 30 years. It is also the same recipe my mother and grandmother used before me. I would never bake a different apple pie. It wouldn’t be worth it to me to take a chance on a different recipe.
Recommended Reading: Get started with baking by reading our Ultimate Guide to the Best Baking Equipment for Beginners!
The key to a delicious apple pie is the crust. If you have a flaky, moist, and lightly browned crust, you can’t go wrong with an apple pie. This particular apple pie recipe has a major ingredient in the crust that most people do not use anymore, yet this ingredient makes all the difference in the world. The ingredient is lard. I know, everyone will tell you not to use lard. They would rather substitute a modern, man made, healthy ingredient substitute but I can tell you that my grandmother lived into her 90’s and used lard to cook everything. Go figure!
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Thanksgiving Apple Pie Recipe
Pie Crust: (Makes enough for two pies)
- ½ lb. lard
- ½ c. boiling water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 level cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
Cut up the lard into small cubes and place into a large mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over the lard and beat until creamy. Add the salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. You can either knead the dough with your hands until it is not sticky anymore, or use a dough hook on your hand mixer. Add a little more flour to the dough if it is really sticky, but not too much or it loses its elasticity. When done kneading, roll the dough into a ball and cut the ball in half. Each half makes a top and bottom crust. If you are only making one pie, use the rest of the leftover dough to make cinnamon roll-up cookies. See recipe at end.
Prepare the crust before the apple pie filling. Flour your rolling surface and rolling pin to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out thinly, large enough to fit the pie plate. Gently fold the dough in half, then into quarters. Lift the dough carefully and place it in the center of the pie plate, unfold the dough and the bottom crust is ready.
Apple Pie Filling: (enough for one apple pie)
- 6-7 large Cortland apples cut into cubes (I find Cortland’s to make the best pies)
- 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 c. sugar
- ½ tsp. cinnamon (add more or less to taste. I usually add more.)
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 TBS. flour
Peel and core the apples. Cut the apples into bite sized cubes. Mix the apples with the lemon juice and set aside.
Mix all the dry ingredients together until blended. Add to the apple mixture. Spoon the apple pie filling into the bottom crust, dot with thin slices of the butter.
Roll out the dough for the top crust in the same way as the bottom crust. Fold into quarters and carefully place on top of the apple mixture. Pinch the pie edges together, cutting off any excess dough as you go. Press the edges with the tines of a fork all the way around the pie. Brush a small amount of milk over the pie crust. This gives the pie a glossy, browned look. Cut four one inch slices at the top of the crust so that the steam can vent.
Bake at 425 degrees for 50 minutes. If the crust starts to get too dark around the edges, just wrap small pieces of aluminum foil around the crust edges. This will prevent it getting too dark.
That’s it. Hope this Thanksgiving Apple Pie becomes a delicious family tradition for you too. Enjoy.
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