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.
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.