When I think of homemade apple pie, I think of my mother. She had a way of creating magic with just a few swipes of a flour dusted rolling pin over freshly kneaded dough, and an apple-filled pie crust topped with sugar, cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg, and plenty of butter. Unapologetically, she swore off any suggestion of a pre-made, store-bought pie crust, claiming it could never compare to the buttery flaky taste of homemade. As always, mom was right.
It wasn’t until my early-thirties that I decided I liked spending time in the kitchen. By then, I wanted to learn as many of my mother’s recipes as possible since she was an outstanding cook. Apple pie was at the top of my list of must-try recipes. There was only one problem for me, and that was the inferior ingredients, my mom, unknowingly used in her pies. So I decided to make a few changes.
I wasn’t sure how much of that classic apple pie flavor and texture would change by adjusting the ingredients brands since often the final results depend on specific ingredients. Much to my surprise, the results were almost the same. First and foremost, I exchanged the Crisco shortening she used in every crust she ever made, for an organic brand called Spectrum Organic shortening. Next, since apples are at the top of the dirty dozen list, I traded in the conventional apples she used for organic apples. Finally, as the saying goes, “Butter makes everything better.”, especially if it’s organic.
In my opinion, the quality of a pie crust is as important as what goes inside the pie. My mom always said, the less you handle a pie crust as you make it, the lighter and more flakey the finished crust will be. That, to me, was the trickiest part of making the pie. But like anything worth doing, practice makes perfect. I will say, Crisco shortening makes the dough a slight bit easier to roll out than the organic spectrum brand, however, at the cost of unhealthy, hydrogenated, processed, chemical-filled fats found in Crisco Vegetable Shortening, I’m willing to work a little harder with the rolling pin. Spectrum, on the other hand, is made from 100% Organic Expeller Pressed Palm Oil. That’s it. Ok, let’s be completely honest here, vegetable shortenings won’t exactly win a healthy ingredient award anytime soon, but since we’re talking pie here, I like to make mine as clean as possible. That way, I won’t feel bad if I have seconds, or heck maybe even thirds. Ya, it’s really that good!
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