Celebrate National Pie Day with an American Classic: Apple Pie

Saturday, January 22, 2011

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Did you know that today is National Pie Day?  Seriously.  The National Pie Council has declared it so, and that’s good enough for me.  So, what exactly is National Pie Day?  Well, according to the NPC, its a day “dedicated to the celebration of pie”, and they hope that we all take this opportunity to “pass on the enjoyment of pie making and and pie eating to future generations”.

So, how can you celebrate National Pie Day?  Well for starters, you can eat some pie.  And, if you really want to celebrate, you can eat a whole lot of pie.  Who am I to quash your enthusiasm?  I mean, if you’re going to celebrate, you might as well go all out, right?  And, while you’re eating all of that pie, you might want to share some pie with someone else.  That’s right, people.  Share the pie love!

Of course, you can buy your pie at an area bakery or supermarket.  That would work.  Or, you could get totally crazy and make your own.  That would be even better.  And, before some of you throw up your hands and tell yourselves that you can’t do it, let me tell you that you can.  Making pie isn’t difficult at all.  In fact, it’s pretty easy and can be kind of fun.  I promise. 

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Now, I know that the one thing about pie making that really tends to stress people out is the crust.  Relax!  Pie crust can sometimes be a little temperamental, but once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t that difficult.  Remember, I used to be a doughaphobe, myself.   Besides, you don’t actually have to make your own pie crust, if you don’t want to.  You can buy some pretty decent pre-made crusts in the refrigerator section of your grocery store.   No one has to know unless you tell them.   However, if you are a brave soul and would like to tackle your own pie crust, Deb at Smitten Kitchen has the best “How To” posts on the subject that I’ve found.  In fact, her All Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough recipe is probably the one I use most.

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There’s nothing like a home-baked pie, hot and fresh out of the oven.  It can do wonders for your psyche.  It can soothe your soul. A really, really, really good pie might even be able to mend a broken heart.  Humans have been enjoying the splendor of pie in one form or another since the time of the ancient Egyptians. It’s a proven commodity.  And, no pie is more quintessentially American than good, old apple pie.  Fortunately, it’s also one of the easiest kinds to make.

When I make an apple pie, I like to use a mixture of different kinds of apples.  Some are very sweet and others have a tart bite to them.  Using a variety gives the pie a nice sweet/tart balance of flavor. Just look for apples that are labeled as good for baking.   If I have it, I also mix a few spoonfuls of apple butter or applesauce in with my apples to give the filling a little more body.  This certainly isn’t necessary, but I just think it makes the pie more “apple-y”.  Another thing I’m fond of doing is adding a few splashes of brandy or rum to the apples.  Again, this isn’t necessary, but it does add a little “something” to the finished product.  The alcohol burns off while the pie is baking, so you don’t have to hide it from the kids.

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As far as pie crusts go, there is, and probably always will be a debate on whether butter or shortening is the way to go.  I’m a butter girl, myself.  While shortening supposedly makes a flakier crust, butter is where the flavor is.  What good is the flakiest pie crust in the world, if it doesn’t taste good?  Besides, I’ve made many a delicious and flaky pie crust with butter.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So, here is my gift to you for National Pie Day: a recipe for a classic homemade apple pie.  I’d like to say that it’s an old family recipe, handed down for generations, but I can’t.  My mother never baked pies.  And, I don’t ever remember a pie coming out of my grandma’s oven either.  Italian’s just aren’t big pie bakers.  I found this one all my own.  It’s simple and basic.  And basically, it’s simply delicious.

Happy Pie Day!

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21 responses to Celebrate National Pie Day with an American Classic: Apple Pie

  1. On January 23, 2011 at 4:55am, Rosa said...

    Your pie is splendid! A classic that never ages… Apple pie is one of my favorite pies.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:45am, Susan said...

      So true. Rosa. Apple is also one of the few pies my husband will eat. :)

  2. On January 23, 2011 at 6:32am, Shelby said...

    I am not a big pie maker myself because I really hate to make the crust. While I can do it, I just don’t like to! However, your pie looks delicious and makes me want to make one myself. Love the photos but that last one makes me wish you were right next door!

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:47am, Susan said...

      honestly, I feel the same way. I’m always nervous that it won’t turn out right. But when it does, I’m very glad I went to the trouble! :)

  3. On January 23, 2011 at 7:37am, Lucy said...

    This pie looks perfect – it has me craving a classic pie today. Love that there is a whole day dedicated to this brilliant bake!

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:48am, Susan said...

      Hmmm. Maybe, we should extend the party and have a National Pie Week! ;)

  4. On January 23, 2011 at 8:32am, bellini said...

    Happy Pie Day to you as well Susan:D An apple pie is a good place to start.

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:48am, Susan said...

      :D

  5. On January 23, 2011 at 9:49am, Blog is the New Black said...

    If you insist, I shall celebrate!

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:49am, Susan said...

      I do! I do! :D

  6. On January 23, 2011 at 10:05am, nina said...

    ..and what a celebration this pie is! I love that look of that crust and your pictures are awesome!!

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:49am, Susan said...

      Why, thank you! :)

  7. On January 23, 2011 at 10:23am, Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

    Traditional apple pie has always been, and will always be, my favorite. In fact, I live in a part of Rhode Island called Apple Valley, because all of the land around me used to be apple orchards.

    • On January 23, 2011 at 10:51am, Susan said...

      I just love that word “orchard”! It sounds so lush. I’ll bet it is really beautiful up there.

  8. On January 23, 2011 at 12:38pm, Karen@Mignardise said...

    Haha, my mother never made a pie in her entire life either! I guess it’s up to us to teach our kids. Your pie looks so delicious and the photos are, as usual, incredible. Happy Pie Day to you, Susan!

  9. On January 23, 2011 at 12:48pm, LizAndrsn said...

    We were cake bakers in our family, unless it was Thanksgiving so I’m a little pie crust phobic myself. There’s a recipe out there for a crust that uses Vodka that’s supposed to be the bomb among crusts.

    I may have to reconsider celebrating National Pie Day, since your pictures are so tempting. But where’s the slice of cheddar cheese on top? Now that would get me!

  10. On January 23, 2011 at 5:23pm, MaryBeth said...

    If I would have know I too would have baked a pie today…looking at yours now that is all I want is pie.

  11. On January 23, 2011 at 5:34pm, KeshaB623 said...

    Your pie looks amazing! You always have such awesome pictures for illustration. Ahh, I’m jealous. LOL

  12. On January 24, 2011 at 10:13am, brilynn said...

    I wish I had of saved some of my banana cream pie for today! I guess this means I’ll just have to bake more pie… Apple sounds lovely!

  13. On January 24, 2011 at 11:22am, Rachel (S[d]OC) said...

    I found out early in the AM that it was National Pie Day. I had no time to make a pie that day. I wanted to eat a pie though.

    I never had time during my long cold drives out to NJ this weekend to stop by my 2 favorite sources for good pie. It was devastating really. I never had a slice of pie all weekend.

    I suppose it’s up to me to just bake a pie now . What other choice do I have? ;-)

  14. On January 24, 2011 at 12:28pm, The Food Hunter said...

    I just realized I’ve never actually made an apple pie…well I better get started.

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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