Be sure to check back Monday and make a comment. Check out Karen’s blog here and you’ll know why I’m suddenly asking all you lurkers to come out into the light of day on Monday.

I love the smell of an apple pie baking. It makes your house feel all warm and cozy–and it’s easy–even the crust part. A friend recently asked me what pie crust recipe I used so here it is with pictures and everything. I use a very basic crust recipe.

First you must know that I started out as an awful crust maker. Nothing about my crusts were appetizing. So much so that my husband quickly took over the crust making task. I practiced in secret–okay, okay–he was at work and half the time that was in our unfinished basement furnace room. (The aesthetics were a little lacking considering he is a graphic artist. Maybe the lack of distraction got his creative juices going. But I digress.) I made many, many, horribly awful crusts before I understood not to add too much water. This one principle changed my pie making life. Let’s get started.

shorteningMix 2 cups flour and a 1/4  tsp. salt together. You also need 1 cup of shortening. I like butter flavored if I have it. Today I didn’t. Then put a couple of ice cubes in a 3/4 cup measuring cup and fill with water.

pastryblenderAdd the shortening to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender to combine the flour and shortening. An electric beater could work if you don’t have a pastry blender. You are trying to turn the flour into flour-shortening crumbs–so keep at it until the shortening and flour mixture are incorporated together.

blendedNow slowly drizzle ice-cold water over the mixture as you stir it with a spoon. Go easy on the water.

doughdoneThis is done. I won’t add anymore water. Divide the dough in half.

rolloutPlace half the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out quite thin.

crustPeel back the top layer of plastic wrap. I have all kinds of helpers today owing to the fact that it’s 4:30 on a fast Sunday. They’re starving! Lift the crust off the counter and carefully flip and place in a pie dish.


Gently peel off plastic wrap and lift the edges of the pie crust to help it settle into the bottom of the pie plate.

crustinpanyellowWhile I made the crust, my girls used the apple peeler, corer, slicer on about 20 very small apples.

lemonjuiceWe’ve gone through all of our tart apples and are now left with these sweet things. Here is the key to using sweet apples in apple pie: lemon juice–and lots of it. Don’t be shy about it.

sugarStir in some sugar. How much is up to you, but I’ll post a range at the end for anyone who’s nervous without specifics.

nutmegAdd some nutmeg and…

cinnamonsome cinnamon, and…

floursome flour. Stir and taste it.

morelemonjuiceIt was still too sweet so we added more lemon juice…sure wish we had some Elstar apples left.

applefillingPour apples into waiting pie crust. Turns out 20 small apples was a few too many. No problem, the starving helpers finished off the leftovers before I finished the crust. Fast Sundays, with church ending at 4:00 and a Mom insisting we make dessert first so that maybe Dad will be home to join us for dinner when we sit down to eat, will do that to munchkins.

topcrustRoll out the second half of dough in the same manner. Place the crust on top of the apples.

cutHold the pie plate in waiter-serving fashion with the hand that you don’t write with. Use the back of a table knife to cut the two layers of crust even with the pie pan.

mendYou may have noticed the hole in the previous picture where the crusts didn’t quite meet. This is not a time for panic. Pick up a piece of the crust you just cut off and place it over the hole like so. You’ll see that I have two such places to mend. Pat the extra piece into place and trim the excess.

patGently tap the crust until you can’t see the mending line. (Or it’s very faint.)

pinchThere are a couple of ways to seal your two crusts together. This method is fast and easy. Check cookbooks for other methods. Pinch the crust all the way around.

sprinkletopPoke the crust with a fork at regular intervals. This allows the steam to vent. Sometimes Nate will cut out cool designs in the top of the crust because he’s pretty talented, but I just use a fork. Sprinkle with a good coating of sugar and bake. See, it’s not so bad. Now you can eat dinner while the smell of a baking apple pie fills your house and makes it all warm and cozy.

sliceIt’s best to let your pie set up for and hour or two before you serve it. That never happens at our house. Top with whipped cream and enjoy the taste of fall.

Pie Crust

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
1/2 -3/4 cup ice-cold water

Mix flour and salt together. Use a pastry blender (or electric beaters) to combine flour and shortening. Slowly add ice-cold water until barely moistened. Makes two pie shells.

Apple Pie

6-8 cups apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/2 -3/4 cup sugar
1 T. flour (I increase to 2 T. if I use a lot of lemon juice.)
1/2-3/4 tsp. cinnamon
a sprinkling of nutmeg

Combine and stir to coat apples. Pour into pie shell and top with pie crust. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes. Let cool and top with whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!

(You may want to cover the edges with foil for the first 25 minutes to prevent over browning. I’ve never had to do that with my stoneware pie dish.)

AND REMEMBER (I’m pretty sure this falls under the rule about being able to hustle comments.)

If you’ve never left a comment on my blog, Monday is the day to do that. In fact, tell all your friends to visit and leave a comment as well. Why? you ask, because I really, really want to win a copy of a Everett Prusso’s new book Ghost Waves. Oh, and I’m a wee bit competitive. I like to win.

And if I win, you win. That’s right, everyone who comments on my one sentence post will be entered in a drawing to win a free book here. I will have six titles for you to choose from, and most are signed copies. Happy commenting.

So, how am I doing at hustling Karen? Have I stepped over the line yet?

19 Response Comments

  • Karen Gowen  October 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    You really ARE competitive! I’m trying to think of something to say but all that comes to mind is an incredibly strong craving for pie…apple pie….and I have apples sitting in my kitchen right now to be cut up for sauce. But pie…that sounds so much better. …oh yes, where were we? uhh, right, hustling comments–I love it! You are really getting into the spirit of this contest! I can’t wait to see the results!

  • Jenni  October 16, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    OK, I’ll bite, on Monday, of course. I could never do such a contest. You’re one of my three readers.

    Hey — I just wanted to share two giggles from your sidebars. What happened to “surrounded by in-laws”? “Wonderful extended family” doesn’t have quite the same ring. 🙂

    Two, James was standing behind me and saw your blog followers and their pictures. “That must be the grades they got in high school,” he told me.

  • Tamara  October 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    oo, you make making pies look so easy! you win. oh wait, the contest hasn’t started yet. Ha!

    Okay, so…did you know you’re hosting my family for Thanksgiving? Cool huh? We think it’s so nice of you. 🙂

  • Kate  October 16, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    @Jenni, okay now I’m laughing..grades! That’s classic Yeah I just noticed the “wonderful extended family” on the sidebar and thought the same thing. That’s Nate at work again. Both statements are completely true btw.

    @Karen, it will be fun to read all the one line posts. Should be entertaining.

    @Tamara, Guests for Thanksgiving! *fist pumps air*

  • Elisabeth Calvert Smith  October 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Looks so delicious! Have you ever tried using a food processor to blend the flour and butter/shortening?

  • Kate  October 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    @Elisabeth, I’ve never tried that, but hear it works great. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to come back Monday.

  • Shandrae  October 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I always wondered why Nate made the pie crust. I’ll be back on Monday! 🙂 Competitiveness runs in the family–I have to help you win! Maybe I can get each of the kids to leave a comment….Does that count?

  • Betty  October 21, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I don’t blog much so I messed up I need help setting up a blog…..

  • Betty  October 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    The pie looks great. I don’t do pie crusts. The store bought ones work great. Working moms have to take shortcuts sometimes. Gabe had last soccer game for fall season tonight. Mom said I had to reply tonight. Some kind of contest. Going to Real Salt Lake Game on Sat. Can’t wait. I should blog about single mom madness and trying to be in two places at once. Take Care from the sister who loves to creat different food dishes and kids just say yuck. .

  • Kate  October 21, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    *Take Care from the sister who loves to creat different food dishes and kids just say yuck. *

    Hey that could be your log line on your blog!

    You are the creative cook in the family. You’re never afraid to throw things together without a recipe. Thanks for stopping by. Be sure to visit the post with the muffin pictures and make a comment.

  • Sharon  October 23, 2009 at 10:04 am

    OK – you talked me into it. I’m making apple pies today to use up all those apples still staring me in the face.

  • Rhonda Hont  October 23, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hey this is a great thing you have going here.. I love this and all that you are doing.. I just love this recipe and will be using it for thanksgiving…

  • Kate  October 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    @Rhonda, I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog. Thanks for commenting.

  • Jenni H.  November 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I have never made a pie in my life! But you make it look so easy, I’m trying it. It’s in the oven now!!

  • Kate  November 1, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I hope it turns out well for you!

  • Jenni H.  November 8, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    It did! 🙂

  • Kate  November 9, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Way to go Jenni!

  • Jenni H.  June 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    OK, your pie crust recipe is now my go to recipe for pie crust. It turns out great every time! I have this post bookmarked.

  • Kate  June 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    So happy to hear it works for you. 🙂