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  • Mary Kay

Gram's Apple Crunch Pie - No Crust Needed

Gram’s Apple Crunch Pie – It’s easy and delish!

Gram made apple pies often in the fall. She had a lot of apples from her trees on the lower part of the farm. Gram also canned a lot of apples, preserving jars of pie filling for winter homemade pies. They were delicious!

It was fun when I was old enough, probably 4 or 5 years old, to be sent to the cellar on an errand to bring up a jar of canned apples that Gram had set up for winter.

I would start my little adventure by running out the farmhouse back porch, down the steps and around the corner of the house to the old cellar door. Seems Gramps always knew when Gram was going to send me on my little hunt because he would leave it open for me - I was much too little to open it by myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t standing around near the cellar watching me to make sure everything was okay. That's what Grandpas do.

Scrambling down the old cement and wooden steps, I’d push open the big wood door with its simple thin rope to pull the door latch open. The cellar shelves were stocked full of canned vegetables, meats and fruits for winter. Off to the side were large ceramic crocks full of carrots, rutabagas and other root veggies. On the other sides were the rugs that covered recently harvested cabbages and potatoes. I knew exactly where the apple jars were kept since there were no lights in the cellar. I’d grab one and run back out into the sunlight before I saw any sneaky spiders. It was an adventure, and an honor to be allowed to enter the inner sanctum of the farm cellar where all the supplies for Grams delicious winter meals were stocked.

I remember sometimes Gram would keep a jar of canned apples (sliced or whole crab apples) in the refrigerator. Gramps would spoon some of the cinnamon-y apples onto his warm oatmeal in the morning. Yummy! Those are the memories I have of Gramps, either working in the fields, milking cows, slopping the pigs or spooning canned apples onto his early morning breakfast.

Gram would enjoy this recipe, below, since I have tweaked it a little. She made it as a 9”x13” pie without a crust. I have changed it up to include a pie crust in a 9” pie pan. A large pan is too big for just my husband and I so that’s why I’ve made it smaller into a pie plate. Gram was always changing recipes a little to accommodate different sized crowds, events and according to what she had in her pantry. It’s just part of baking for a family or extended family...making adjustments for the group.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have making it. My sister actually included it in her homemade cookbook of favorite family recipes. It’s a book she made in 2007 as Christmas presents for family members. It’s a book I use often

instead of digging through all the boxes of recipe cards, especially if I’m short on time. Sometimes I take the time, and I enjoy flipping through the recipe cards, marveling at Mom’s and both Grams’ beautiful cursive writings. They were all proud of their beautiful penmanship. I’m not so proud of mine – I’ve lost some of the discipline since I’ve done so much keyboarding. That keyboarding I’m proud of. I can get much more done on the keys than with my handwriting. And, my fingers don’t ache on the keyboard as with handwriting.

So, anyway, enjoy this recipe. We certainly do!

This recipe fits one 9-10” pie pan.

Preheat your oven to 325F degrees.

Prep your pan:

Pull out your pie pan, size 9” or 10”. I prefer the glass pie plate my Gram used to use since it is a deeper dish.

Lightly brush the bottom and sides with soft butter.

Gather up your Apple Filling Ingredients:

6 Apples, washed, cored and diced

1/2 C Sugar

1/2 t Cinnamon, ground

Pinch of Nutmeg, ground

Pinch of Cloves, ground

Crunchy Topping:

½ C Sugar

½ C Flour

¾ t Baking powder

Pinch of Salt

3 T Butter, soft

1 Egg, beaten

Caramel sauce to drizzle on top

Mix and bake your Apple Crunchy Pie:

- Butter the bottom and sides of your pie pan.

- Arrange the diced apples in the pie pan.

- Mix the sugar, cinnamon and other spices together and sprinkle over the apples.

- For the topping, stir and beat all the ingredients together to form a cookie-like dough. If it’s a little too sticky, add a little more flour, a couple teaspoons at a dime.

- Break up the topping into pieces and sprinkle over the top of the apples so some of the apples show through. Sometimes Gram would roll out the dough and spread it over the apples like a pie crust.

- Bake at 325F degrees for 45-55 minutes.

- The topping should be golden brown.

Serve it up delicious!

- Use a big serving spoon to dish up the pie. No need to cut it, just scoop it up onto serving plates.

- I use a good quality caramel sauce to drizzle on top of the pie or the individual pieces, heating it before drizzling.

- Gram would make homemade caramel sauce for topping the pie. I remember her making it on top of the wood burning stove with brown sugar and cream, boiling it until it met the cold-water test. She always used a cup of cold water to test the caramel sauce, knowing when it was time to take it off the stove. It was thick and delicious on her pie!

- Gramps liked a thick slice of cheddar cheese along with his pie. Gram would put a slice on a plate for him, lift some of the apples and crunchy top up and slide the cheese in between. Then she’s set it in the oven for a few minutes to warm up. He loved that creamy cheese melted into the pie. The cheese was probably made from some of his own processed milk at the Eau Galle Creamery. That’s another story for another time…of Gramps and me traveling to the old-fashioned creamery to see and sample the cheeses in their cold room.

- Or serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. Gram always had ice cream in the ice box - she still called the freezer section of her refrigerator an ice box. They also had a large chest freezer out on the back porch to hold big brown rounds of ice cream with room for large packages of home-grown pork, beef and chicken for family dinners. They were pretty much self-sufficient. I don’t remember Gram having much for store bought canned goods in the house. All of the veggies and fruits came from her big garden and orchards.

Another option - with a bottom crust:

If you like your pie with a crust, just lay a refrigerated pie crust in the bottom of the pie pan (don't butter the pie pan). Add the apples and toppings as directed above. Bake at the same temperature. If the top crunchiness is getting browned before the bottom crust, tent it with a sheet of aluminum foil. You may need to bake a bit longer than a crunchy pie without a crust.

Food has a way of bringing back delicious memories. However you top your apple pie, be sure to enjoy it with friends and family…and “Bake your own Memories!”

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