Mom’s Best Apple Pie

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On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving my mom pulls out the tattered and worn 1983 Betty Crocker’s Cookbook and turns to page 295. Worn and stained, these pages reveal years of memories, baking follies, Thanksgiving triumphs, and epic battles over the last slice of apple pie. For me Thanksgiving is always about the warm apple pie that my mom bakes with love each holiday season. Covered in crunchy streusel topping and piled high with fresh tart apples, this is seriously the best damn apple pie you’ve ever had.

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My mom has been making this apple pie for nearly three decades, and it is a timeless family classic that we all look forward to and fight over every Thanksgiving. It has gotten to the point where my mom makes an extra apple pie just for our (nuclear) family to dig into late night after everyone has left, when our bellies are still full, but one more bite of apple pie is all we crave.

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I am thankful for my mom’s patience as I took one million photos for this post. I am thankful for her years of pie baking and deliciousness making even with a house full of small kids. I am thankful for the years of tradition my family has kept alive. I am thankful for my family and friends that make the holidays worthwhile and wonderful. Burnt pie crusts, bone-dry turkeys, and broken dishes happen to the best of us- all that really matters is that you take a look around the room and realize how much goodness and love is already in one place. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Mom’s Best Apple Pie

Modified from the Betty Crocker 1983 Version

  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought, you decide!)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of salt
  • 7-8 cups of apples thinly sliced tart apples (around 1 bag)

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup cold butter

Heat oven to 425F. Peel, core, and thinly slice your apples. I used an apple corer and then sliced each segment again in half. Do not slice the apples too thin. Mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and stir in the apples till well coated. If you’re feeling awesome and have plenty of time on your hands go ahead and make your own pie crust. I myself am not that cool, so I bought a premade pie crust, and I think it tastes pretty damn delicious with the shortcut. Place the pie crust into the 9 inch pie dish. Add the sugar and spice coated apples. The apples will form a large mountain, but fear not, the apples will become smaller as the pie bakes and it will settle even lower as it cools.

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Mix the streusel ingredients until nice and crumbly. My mom taught me to use a cheese grater to grate the cold butter into the sugar and flour. Do not over mix, the crumble should be just that- crumbly!  Top the apples with the streusel topping. Make sure to wipe any of the delicious gooey sugar apple coating that might have gotten on the edges of the pie crust. The sugar will turn black and burn parts of the pie crust. Simply use a moist paper towel or clean fingers to rub it off. Fold a large square of aluminum foil in half and cut out a large circle. Place the remaining square over the pie which should perfectly cover the crust. The thin crust can burn easily so it will be a perfect golden brown if you cover it during the entire baking process.

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Bake the apple pie for 50 minutes, but take a peek around 20 minutes to see how golden brown the streusel topping is. This step is crucial as the topping can sometimes get quite crisp. If it is looking golden early on (as it usually does) fold a piece of aluminum foil in half and tent it over the pie. Do not place the aluminum foil firmly against the pie or try to fasten because this can cause the streusel to become soft and soggy.

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After 50 minutes take your beautiful apple pie out of the oven and allow it to cool somewhat. Serve the apple pie warm with vanilla bean ice cream, vanilla sauce, or with a nice big dollop of whipped cream. This apple pie will become a staple in your home for years to come; I know I can’t have Thanksgiving without it!

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