My pie*ography begins not with me, or even with a single pie, but with my grandma. Grandma Schmidt was your typical Iowa farm wife. She was a hard worker who knew how to cook delicious comfort food. She never saw herself as a great cook, but anytime we visited we knew we would be filled up with all our favorite foods. And what better way to end a home-cooked meal than a slice of freshly baked apple pie? No doubt, Grandma showed her love through the food she made for us.
It was Grandma Schmidt who first taught me to bake pies, though years of practice has helped me improve my skills. Pie baking connects me to the past. Both to my heritage of simple, humble home cooks, and to a time in the past when pie-baking and home-cooking was a part of every woman's life. It was through these everyday acts that women took care of their families.
Making a pie is not especially difficult, yet it is becoming less common for people to make their own pies from scratch. Isn't it easier to take a perfect-looking pie crust from the freezer or order that beautiful pie from your local bakery? Maybe, and I'm not passing judgment on those who take those routes. However, for me, there's something nostalgic about taking the time out to bake a pie from scratch. I feel it keeps me connected to my roots and is a way I can show love to my family or any guests who come for a piece of pie.
For me, the pie that best tells my pie*ography is my grandma's crumb-top apple pie. It's simple and rustic-nothing fancy, but it's a tried and true recipe that always takes me back. It's like a slice of love on the plate, a reminder of where I came from and a part of my heritage I want to pass on to my own family.
Grandma Schmidt's Crumb-Top Apple Pie
Pie Crust (makes two crusts):
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 C. lard
1/4 C. Crisco (I use butter flavor)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
5-6 Tbsp. cold water
Mix flour and salt in bowl. Crumble in lard and Crisco. Add baking powder, continue to crumble together. Add water and stir just until combined. Mold into two balls, roll out thin on floured board or counter. (The extra pie crust can be frozen or made into cinnamon sugar "crust cookies".)
4-5 C. apples, peeled, chopped
1/2 C. (generous) sugar
1-3 tsp. cinnamon (to your liking-I use a lot)
Mix apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Place in an uncooked pie crust.
3/4 C. flour
6 Tbsp. butter
1/3 C. sugar
Crumble together and sprinkle on top of fruit filling. Bake pie for 30 min. at 400 degrees. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30-35 min. until filling is bubbling and topping is golden brown.
I'm linking up to the first Pie*ography Thursday over at Na-Da Farm Life. There you'll find pie*ographies and recipes from other bloggers. You can also pick-up Pie*ography by Jo Packham from your local bookstore or library for more pies.