Granny's Apple Pies

About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human...

When Instructables posted the Comfort Food Challenge, I knew what I had to do. One of my favorite comfort foods is my Grandmother's fried apple pie. She used to make them all the time, but it had been a while. I was talking to my sister and she said that she had been thinking about Granny's apple pies just a few days earlier. I called up Granny and asked her if she could teach me how to make her apple pies. I told her that I was going to document the experience and add it to Instructables.

Step 1: Danger!

This is probably pretty safe, when compared to some of my other Instructables. You will be dealing with sharp knives, hot grease, cooked apples, and pressure cookers that could explode molten apples everywhere, if not used properly.

Here is a warning taken directly from Crisco's web site:

Warning: Shortening will catch fire if overheated. Damage or serious burns may result. Do heat shortening carefully. Do reduce heat if smoking occurs. Do not leave unattended while heating. Do not refill can with hot shortening. If shortening catches fire: Do turn off heat. Do cover pot until cooled to room temperature to avoid reignition. Do not carry pot until cool. Do not put water on hot or flaming shortening. Not intended for use as a spread.

So you need to respect that kitchens can be dangerous places.

Step 2: Ingredients

To make Granny's apple pies you will need a few ingredients. These were enough to make about 20 pies:

1. Three pounds of apples. We used Granny Smith apples, but there are many different apples that would work.

2. Self rising flour. We used two or three pounds total.

3. Milk. We used a couple of cups total.

4. Sugar. We used one or two cups total.

5. Vegetable shortening. We used two cups of Crisco total.

6. Nutmeg. About half a tablespoon.

7. Cinnamon. About one tablespoon.

8. A secret ingredient that for some unknown reason, we are not supposed to tell anyone about.

Step 3: Tools Needed

You will need some common kitchen tools.

1. A pan to fry the pies in. We used an electric skillet type but a regular pan, used on a stove top would work.

2. A pressure cooker to cook the apples. You could use a pot, but the pressure cooker was faster.

3. A big bowl for the apples.

4. Spoons for spooning, stirring, and taste testing.

5. A sharp knife for peeling and cutting the apples.

6. A fork for crimping the edges of the pies and poking holes in the tops of the pies.

7. A rolling pin to roll out the dough.

8. Water.

Note: You do not need measuring cups or spoons if you just add ingredients in guessing amounts.

Step 4: Peel the Apples

First thing you have to do is peel all the apples. Use a sharp knife and peel all the skin off the apples.

Step 5: Cut the Apples

Cut the peeled apples into small pieces. The small pieces make the cooking of the apples quicker, than if you had big pieces. Make sure to get all the seeds, stems, and core pieces out.

Step 6: Add Apple Pieces to Pressure Cooker

Pour the apple pieces into the pressure cooker or pot. Add some water (about a cup).

Step 7: Cook the Apples

Cook your apple pieces until they are about the consistency of apple sauce.

Step 8: Add Sugar

Add about a cup of sugar to the cooked apples and stir it in.

Step 9: Add Spices

Add about a half tablespoon of nutmeg and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Taste test the apples and add more sugar and spices as needed.

Step 10: Making the Dough

To make the dough put about a cup of self rising flour in a bowl and add a small handful of bacon grease, which is the secret ingredient that for some unknown reason, we are not supposed to tell anyone about. Mash the bacon grease into the flour. Add about a quarter cup of milk and mix it with your hands. If it is too dry, add more milk. If it is too wet, add more flour.

Step 11: Make Dough Balls

Prepare the table by sprinkling flour over it. Take a small handful of dough and roll it into a ball. Smash the ball flat on the floured table.

Step 12: Roll the Dough Out

Use a floured rolling pin to flatten out the dough into a circle about six or seven inches in diameter and about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch thick.

Step 13: Add Apple Filling

Spoon some of the apple filling onto one half of the dough circle. Fold the other half of the dough circle over the filling.

Step 14: Granny's Signature Fork Crimping Technique

Using a fork dipped in flour, crimp the outer edge of the pie. Then poke some holes into the top of the pie.

Step 15: Shortening in the Pan

Put some shortening in the pan and heat it up.

Step 16: Fry Your Pies

Use a spatula to place the pies into the pan. You want the pies to calmly sizzle. If your pan is too cool, your pies will cook slow and be soggy. If your pan is too hot, your pies will cook too fast and could burn. You can adjust the heat of the pan, if they are cooking to slow or to fast.

Step 17: Share Your Skills and Knowledge

I think one of the joys of knowing how to do something is teaching others that knowledge and skill. Watching my Grandmother teach my daughter (her great granddaughter) was my favorite part of the process of making Granny's apple pies.

Step 18: Tiny Apple Pies

My daughter thought it would it would be cool to make tiny pies. They were pretty cute. She crimped the edges with her fingernail.

Step 19: Baking Option

If you wanted to you could do what my grandfather did ad bake some apple pies. Just put them in an oven at 365 degrees for about twenty minutes until they are done.

Step 20: Plate Up the Pies

Put the cooked pies on a plate and stand back. Once people start eating, they will be gone fast.

Step 21: Enjoy Eating the Pies

Granny's apple pies can be eaten hot or cold. I have even used the heat of the sun to heat one, wrapped in aluminum foil, on the dash of my car. A positive byproduct was that my car smelled like apple pie for a couple of weeks.

Step 22: Video

As usual, I made a video.

It is a long one, but a good one.

Thank you for watching.

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    6 Discussions

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    bbqandbeer

    4 weeks ago

    You know those warnings you put up about the lard, my Mom and dad didn't get that message and did exactly the opposite. Over 35 years later and my mom still bears the 3rd degree burn scars on her inner thigh from carrying a flaming pot of hot lard outside. She was brave as could be trying to save us all, but as her own mother put it "Foolish as heck". But not as foolish as my dad squirting water into said flaming pot and causing an erruption of hot oil and 20 foot high flames all over the house and mother. Good thing for insurance.

    Word from the wise: Just put a damn lid on it, it'll be fine. - Grandma

    1 reply
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    CHARLESCRANFORDbbqandbeer

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I am so sorry for your mother's injuries. I feel like I put warnings in all my Instructables, because it seams like everything has the potential of being dangerous. I worked in a kitchen for over eleven years and only saw a fire extinguisher used once and only because a grease fire in a broiler had gotten too big too fast. At home I always make sure I have a properly fitting lid nearby just to smother out a fire Thank you for sharing your Mother's story. It might help someone avoid the same happening to them.

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    Lorddrake

    4 weeks ago

    Heirloom recipes are always the best :)
    these sound great ... can't wait to try them

    1 reply
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    CHARLESCRANFORDLorddrake

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    I think foods that bring back memories are the best. I hope they turn out well for you. Thank you for the comment.

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    CHARLESCRANFORDjessyratfink

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thank you for the comment. I kind of put my Grandmother on the spot when I called her Friday and asked her what she was doing Saturday. As typical Granny, she said to come on over. She just called me to tell me how much she liked the video and "what I put on the computer."