Happy Pi(e)Day! A day to celebrate math, dessert and a play on words. It really is my kind of day.
In my family we love to get together to bake and cook together. Whether it be to bake cookies, can tomatoes, make salsa, fry doughnuts or make pies, we love to gather to make food. Food is a central part of heritage, right?
I thought today I would share with you the apple pie tradition that takes place in my family. This tradition started maybe 7 years ago when I asked my mom and grandmother to help me make some pies from the apples I had received from my dad’s farm. From then on the activity has grown into much many more family members and many more pies!
Pie Day in our family now is a day that takes place in September or October every year. We normally pick a weekend when my great uncle, Ronnie, says the apples on his apple trees are ready for picking. My younger cousins take my grandpa’s farm side-by-side over to uncle Ronnie’s, just down the back field road, and pick as many apples as they can reach. What could be more fun for a teen, but to climb apple trees?
I love that we are able to get apples from uncle Ronnie. I love that the apples are as natural as can be, he doesn’t use pesticides or any chemicals on his trees. The trees are able to grow freely and produce as many apples as they can. As you can see they are all shapes and sizes. I really do love getting these apples from family.
My grandma, mom, sister, aunt and cousin have all helped the past few years with Pie Day. We all have our own tasks in the pie building. My grandma, mom and aunt spend most of the day peeling apples. We all try to help with this task throughout the day, but they do the bulk of the work. Each of us have our preferred way to peel an apple too. Grandma prefers a paring knife, and my sister prefers a peeler. We tried several times to use one of those fancy apple peeler machines, but they always seem to break or take way too much effort to peel one apple. Our family is convinced that a knife or peeler is all you need. Since we peel so many apples we fill large bowls with water and lemon juice to keep the apples from browning. Thank gosh my grandma has so many of these large bowls!
My sister and I have pie crust duty. She makes the crust, batch after batch, and I do all the rolling. We make a perfect duo pumping out pie crust after pie crust. Once we have crust ready, that is when my younger cousin takes over. I love that we have started a tradition for her to make family memories. When I was young, we spent many weekends with my great grandma baking cookies, and I have so many wonderful memories of those times.
Over the past few years my cousin has taken over the job of mixing up the filling for each pie. She takes lots of pride being able to have a job that is always hers. I love that she has found something she can say she owned in the pie process. It reminds me of when I was younger and how I started rolling cookies with my great grandma. She was the one that sparked my love for baking at a young age.
Pie Day is more about the memories that we are making than the pies. My family is loud, outspoken, caring, thoughtful, and amazing. We spend the 12 hours of kitchen time together talking about everything from family gossip, old memories, to small arguments about how to do something the “correct” way. It is my favorite family time of the whole year.
Grandma normally starts the day with breakfast, just like when I was a kid everyone working on the farm comes in for a big meal around the kitchen table. Throughout the day we put up a giant pot of chicken dumping soup for dinner. Allowing it to cook the whole time we are making pie. Then everyone comes back in to eat dinner together, and the kitchen. By this time we are starting to clean up, pack pies and do the dishes. We are finally able to tally the number of pies we have made through the day, and pack up to drive home.
Each year we have found ways to make more and more pies. This past fall we made 34 pies for freezing, and baked another 2 pies. Every year the first baked pie is brought over to my great uncle to thank him for giving us the apples, and the second pie is baked up for for us to eat with dinner. You can’t spend a whole day making pies and not be able to eat one.
We prefer to freeze the pies before they are baked, that way we can pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the oven for an hour and half for a fresh pie any time of year! I actually just made one last week for Dewey’s 5th Birthday party. It was just as yummy as the day they were made.
I would love to hear about any family baking traditions you have. Leave me a comment below!
You might not make 36 pies, but you can make one with the recipe below 🙂
Enjoy the recipe!
P.S. I am falling for Instagram Stories… so don’t forget to follow!!
- 1 1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco shortening
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 5 tablespoons cold water
- 6-7 cups thinly sliced, pealed apples
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour + more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, cut together shortening and flour until it resembles a coarse crumb.
- Add the egg, vinegar, salt and vinegar to the flour/shortening mixture.
- Continue cutting together with pastry cutter until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Separate the dough in half and place each dough ball into a large ziploc bag. Slightly flatten each ball of dough with your hand, this will make rolling easier later. Seal the bags and place them in the freezer until for 20 minutes to chill.
- While your crust chills, make your filling by adding pealed apples to a large mixing bowl.
- Add sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg to apples and stir until apples are evenly coated.
- Taste test your apples. If they are sweet you can add a small amount of lemon to the mixture. If the apples are sour, increase sugar by 1/4 cup.
- Remove chilled dough, and on a floured surface roll the dough. You will want to flour the stop of the dough and your rolling pin to prevent sticking. Make sure your counter is floured enough to prevent sticking.
- Once rolled to your desired thickness 1/8"-1/4", transfer dough to 9" pie pan.
- Press the dough against the sides of the pan. Go around the pie pan with a butter knife and cut off any excess crust.
- Using a fork, poke small wholes in the bottom of the crust to prevent air bubbles.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour into the bottom of the pie crust. This will help absorb some of the extra moisture from the apples.
- Pour pie filling onto bottom pie shell. Place butter cubes on top of filling.
- Roll out the top layer of dough, keeping the same thickness as the bottom.
- Cover pie with top crust. Pinch two crust layers together to seal pie closed. You can also use a fork to press together layers. If the bottom layer has started to dry, brush with water or egg to help seal together layers.
- If you have rolled a thin curst, you may have enough dough for another pie shell. You can either freeze the dough for another pie, or use it to add decorations to the top of your pie.
- In a small bowl, whisk one egg. Egg wash the entire top of pie. Generously, sprinkle top of pie with sugar.
- Cut 4 slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Place pie onto a sheet pan or pizza pan covered in tin foil. The pan will prevent any bubble overs from dripping into your oven.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes- 1 hour.
- Allow to pie to cool at room temperature for 3-4 hours before serving to ensure filling thickens.