As with all traditions, every ingredient that makes up the classic Apple Pie has a rich story with lots of historical twists and turns. Chef Becky’s take on apple pie is no different—from the crust to the apples, she pays homage to tradition while making the recipe her own.
Believe it or not, apple pie wasn’t always made with a crust. As far back as 1514, the Dutch were making it with a sugarless outer-pastry called a “coffin”—an inedible container with a rather unattractive name. Early American apple pies made by European colonists sometimes lacked a crust altogether! The art of crust-making is just that: an art. It’s a challenge to strike the balance between light flakiness and a good, toothsome texture that holds up. That’s why Chef Becky uses a combination of organic butter and 100% pasture-raised leaf lard from Prather Ranch to make her pie dough. The buttery taste is glorious.
Chef Becky's signature light and flaky pie dough
Although each chef makes this pie with their own touch, you would think that apple pie filling through the ages would have at least always had apples. Not the case! You’ll find figs, raisins, pears, and saffron (in addition to apples) in the first recorded apple pie recipe from England in 1381. Later, in the early 1800s, the British Royal Navy was making “mock” apple pie out at sea with a filling made from crackers. And during WWII, as apples and sugar became scarce, Ritz Crackers proudly promoted this apple-less recipe again. Apple pie without apples? It happened!
Don’t worry, our apple pie definitely has apples and delicious ones at that. We consider Pink Lady apples to be the best of the best for this particular recipe, in fact! A cross between the Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples, Pink Lady apples are crisp and juicy with a tart finish. Early American apple pie bakers didn’t have this sweet-tart option. The only apple native to the Americas is the crabapple, sour and small. Other early apple varieties, cultivated mostly by English colonists, were quite tart and used primarily in cider. Over time, many new apple varieties emerged that now complement baking recipes (like apple pie) that we’ve come to recognize and expect today.
Gloria peeling apples in the Farm Kitchen
Apples are part of the rose family, like pears. These are plants that like to be spoiled. To yield a good crop, a farmer needs to devote quite a lot of maintenance and care to protecting and nurturing the tree. But it’s worth the effort. The Pink Lady apples we use are all locally grown, either at our farm or at our partner organic farms, bringing you the best of the apple season. While early season apple varieties are great for making sauce, later season apples like the Pink Lady are the best for pies. We spice and sweeten them delicately, giving you the taste of nostalgia characteristic of this seasonal favorite while also enjoying the glory of eating seasonally.
This double-crust pie arrives ready-to-bake at your convenience. So order in time for your next big celebration or get it now and save it in your freezer for when you want a warm, fresh-baked apple pie in the future!