Dear Mom’s Apple Pie

It’s summer, so it’s time for fruity pies, I know. Pies like strawberry-rhubarb, bumbleberry, peach cobbler are all fantastic. But my mother’s apple pie with the crumble top is so good it really deserves to come into existence in every season.

This pie, while particularly tasty, used to stress me out when I was making it because I was certain the bag was going to catch on fire in the oven and burn the house down, and really, is any pie worth it? After making it for something like 32 times now, I am happy to report that all of the kitchens that hosted this pie are all well and intact. Just put the rack near the bottom of the oven so there’s room for the bag. Do note that the crust recipe makes two pie shells, and we’ll only be needing one for this pie. Sometimes I roll out both and fold one up and freeze it for later.



1/3 cup lard, chilled

2 tablespoons butter, chilled

2 cups flour, sifted

1 teaspoon salt

Small bowl of ice water


7 cups (2 1/2 lbs) of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced very thin (1/8”)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 lemon


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 stick butter, cold

Preheat oven to 425F.

With a pastry blender, mix together the chilled lard and chilled butter, cutting this into the flour until pea-sized.

Into this, sprinkle 4 tablespoons of cold water. Working quickly, ball the dough, and try not to get it too warm.

Cut the ball in half, roll out onto a floured surface, flip and roll again until it’s 1/4 of an inch thick. Put the dough in the pie pan and wet your fingers with the ice water if you need to mend any rips in the dough.

I like to squirt a little lemon juice on the apples as I’m prepping them. Once they’re ready, put the apples, sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a bowl.

Mix everything with your hands. Lay the apple mixture in the pie shell and drizzle 2 T lemon juice on top.

For the topping, use a pastry blender to cut in the butter with the sugar and flour.

Sprinkle this on top of the pie, packing it down a little so it sticks.

Put pie in a grocery paper bag and paper clip it. Put the whole thing on a cookie sheet and bake for 60 minutes.

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