Growing up and to this day dutch apple pie is my all time favorite! My grandmother, Aggie (this was her nickname given by yours truly), would make it from scratch. I would watch as she sliced and peeled the apples, all with a pairing knife. The crumble topping gently mixed and rolled with her hands.
It always made the house smell heavenly, the warm cinnamon mixing with the sweet and tart apples. Now my grandmother used only Granny Smith apples, always. I have started mixing it up a bit and along with the Granny Smith include Jonagold, Jazz, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious and Braeburn – using a mix of two or three varieties at a time.
A bit about my grandmother – she was a strong woman who raised two strong women. Growing up I know I wasn’t always the easiest child to handle, but whether she knew it or not she was inspiring. She babysat us Monday – Friday after school, as my mother worked late most days and my father worked third and eventually second shift. Everyday after school she would make us a snack; my snack of choice was one scrambled egg with seasoning salt, always using the same small cast iron skillet. Every night she made us dinner, many of which I have been trying to recreate as an adult. And every Sunday we would go to church with her and then Sunday brunch at her apartment. She was spunky and said what was on her mind no questions asked. She stood up for those she loved and for what she believed in. Aggie also had enlisted as a nurse in WWII.
Back to pie! As I stated before I use a mix of two or three varieties, otherwise I stick to my grandmother’s recipe which I found in her recipe box.
Dutch Apple Pie
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
6 apples (Granny Smith or a variety)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
Cinnamon (I use 1/2 teaspoon)
Lemon Juice (to keep the apples from browning as you slice and peel)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (or a little more)
To make the crust: in a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender (or can use two knives pulling in opposite directions through the ingredients), until pieces are the size of peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves the sides of the bowl. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into a flattened round on a floured surface. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm, yet pliable.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface using a rolling pin until it is a circle 2 inched larger than a 9-inch pie plate. Place in the pie plate, pressing firmly against the bottom and sides but being careful not to stretch it. You may trim and crimp the edges as well.
To make the filling: wash, slice and peel your apples. Drizzle lemon juice a little at a time over the bowl of apple slices as you go. Mix the remaining filling ingredients in the bowl of apples, and pour into the pie plate, mounding the apples toward the center.
To make the topping: in a medium bowl, mix the cubed butter, flour and brown sugar using your fingers or a pastry blender until a crumb forms. Sprinkle on top of the apples.
Bake your pie for 40 – 50 minutes or until pie crust and crumb are a deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble. Cool on a rack and then serve.