Friday, April 16, 2010

Homemade Apple Pie - Thank You, Ms Rhea

I made my first ever Apple Pie the other day for Alyson's birthday.
She requested pie, not cake and thus I journeyed into the world of baking. Which for those of you who enjoy cooking know, baking and cooking is not the same thing. Cooking allows for a smidge of this and a bit more of that. Baking allows opportunity at each step to fail. Not one to embrace failure easily, I summoned my courage and bridled my propensity to deviate from the recipe. I could smell success. OK, I could smell a fresh baked Apple Pie as reward for my efforts.

Cooking has always been a pleasure of mine. It's my non-prescription stress reliever, a way to channel out other thoughts and concentrate on whether or not I have already added that 1 tsp of salt the recipes calls for.
As a kid I would make grilled cheese sandwiches for an older brother. He likes to tell the story that he bragged on how good they were just so I would cook for him. I like to think that deep down he really did like my grilled cheese sandwiches but just couldn't bring himself to say so. And besides, he may have enjoyed eating them, I enjoyed making them.
You have to love cooking to fully understand that.

So my dear sweet wife wanted pie, not cake, for her birthday. While not specifying a particular pie I knew what kind it would be immediately. It would be Apple. A tribute to her home state of Maine. I thought about Blueberry but the Apple Pie spoke to me. Not that I didn't have my wavering thought of going for a mouth watering Strawberry-Rhubarb. Then I collected myself and remembered that it was Aly's birthday not mine.

Like many households we have an over abundant supply of cookbooks. I could have easily grabbed Aly's well-worn copy of Betty Crocker recipes from the 1950's and sprang into action but my Internet addiction was having none of that. Which to my great fortune, led me to Ms. Rhea. Henceforth known as my homemade Apple Pie mentor.
This 90 year young Michigan grand dame skillfully guided me towards baking nirvana. I'm forever in her debt and I'm soon to add her Cherry Pie to my budding repertoire of baking recipes. Thank You, Ms. Rhea.

I'll spare you the finer details of my baking experience and instead leave you with a link to my mentor's pie making video and the recipe committed to paper which I gladly share.

Oh, least I forget. Yes! Alyson loved her birthday pie and even if she just said that so I would make her another one, that would be OK too.
Like the grilled cheese sandwich, I found my enjoyment in baking it...

Mrs. Rhea' Apple Pie link.

Rhea’s Apple Pie

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3-4 Cups Apples, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • 4 tsp butter

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Crisco, Chilled
  • 1 Tbs Butter, Softened
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Half & Half, Chilled


  1. In large mixing bowl, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup chilled Crisco, 1 tsp salt & 1 Tbs softened butter.
  2. Using a cutter, mix ingredients together.
  3. Add chilled half & half, continuing to mix ingredients.
  4. Kneading with hands, form two equal size dough balls
  5. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to chill.
  6. On a well-floured countertop, roll out bottom pie dough.
  7. Using a rolling pin, transfer dough to 8” pie pan.
  8. Lightly sprinkle bottom with flour and sugar before adding apple mixture.
  9. In large bowl, mix 4 cups sliced apples with 1/2 cup sugar.
  10. Add apple sugar mixture to pie pan.
  11. Sprinkle cinnamon over apple mixture.
  12. Sprinkle brown sugar over apple mixture.
  13. Add 4 tsp butter over apple mixture.
  14. Trim excess.
  15. Roll out top pie dough.
  16. Lightly wet edges of bottom pie dough with water.
  17. Add top pie dough.
  18. Seal top & bottom pie dough together.
  19. Crimp edge with finger & thumb.
  20. Make 4 vent slices in top of pie dough.
  21. Lightly sugar top
  22. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F.
  23. Bake additional 25-30 minutes at 375 F.
Pie is done when bubbles come out vents (use foil to catch drips).
Note: My pie was 9" and I had plenty of dough. I also used 5 Cups of sliced apples.


Brian and Ruth said...

what a beautiful pie!!! Looks absolutely yummy!

Wanda said...


(This post made me smile more than once.)

So, let us know when you try the blueberry?

a Tonggu Momma said...

I make homemade apple pie and it is NOT easy. I am suitably impressed, as I'm sure Alyson was.

Carol and Taylor said...

Looks absolutely DELISH!

Dita said...

FORD! I am sooooooooooo impressed! Look at that BABY! You even fluted the edges with absolute precision.

Perfectly done. I'll bet your gorgeous Blonde Bombshell was floored when she saw what you'd done...and in love all over again when she tasted it.

You are a Man of Many Wonder, Sir!