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 enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. By then, I wanted to carry on the tradition of her style of cooking since everything she created in the kitchen was a dish worthy of passing down through generations. Apple pie was at the top of my list of must-try recipes. Because conventional ingredients non-organic were affordable and readily available some ingredients used to make her pies were inferior to other options, so I made a few changes.
I wasn’t sure how much of that classic apple pie flavor and texture would change by adjusting the brands of the ingredients since often the final results depend on specific ingredients. Much to my surprise, the results were almost the same.
Foremost, I exchanged the Crisco shortening she used for an organic brand called Spectrum Organic shortening. Next, apples are at the top of the dirty dozen list, so I traded in conventional apples for organic apples. Finally, as the saying goes, “Butter makes everything better.”, especially if it’s organic. So out with the margarine and in with the butter.
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 flakier the finished crust will be. For me, this is the trickiest part of making the pie. But like anything worth doing, practice makes perfect.
I will admit, Crisco shortening makes the dough a bit easier to roll out than the organic spectrum brand I traded it for. However, avoiding the hydrogenated, processed, chemical-filled fats found in Crisco vegetable shortening is worth a little more work with the rolling pin. I prefer the Spectrum brand because it is made from 100% Organic Expeller Pressed Palm Oil.
Let’s be honest, even a cleaner vegetable shortening is not going to win a “healthy ingredient” award. But opting for better ingredients, organic apples, and real butter will make a difference in both taste and quality. I will admit, I cannot resist a delicious piece of old-fashioned hot apple pie. This way I don’t have to feel bad about having seconds, or maybe even thirds. It’s just that good!
For an extra treat, top your pie slice with a scoop of my Frozen Banana Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce!
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