My grandpa remembers vividly the first time he met his mother in-law, my Great-Grandma Ardian. Not knowing what his favorite pie might be, she simply decided to make five different kinds: Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Apple, Chocolate, and Bavarian Cream. And according to Grandpa, over the next two days, he "ate ALL of them- or at least major portions of them."
Matt's great-great-grandma mentioned Sunday pie and ice cream regularly in her journals. Growing up, my Mother in-law remembers always having pie or ice cream with raspberries for dessert at her own Grandmother's house. Matt's grandpa, a farm boy himself, never had cake for his birthday- cherry pie was his preference. Pie feels like a part of our heritage and our family history.
My mom made one pie regularly: Chocolate. It is Dad's favorite, and so for special occasions, she lovingly makes it for him. I probably saw her make it a hundred times. After making the crust and rolling it out, she would carefully and precisely pinch the edges to make a beautiful ruffled effect. She cooked the pudding and whipped her own cream, never taking shortcuts for Dad's favorite pie. And when she was done, she'd take up all the pie crust scraps and cook them on a cookie sheet. Hot from the oven, she sprinkled them with sugar and we'd sit on the kitchen counter nibbling them like cookies.
The other morning, while Matt was on call, I set out to make my apple pie recipe. Making pie is a sure way to make it feel like fall and make the house feel homey. With Lark Rise to Candleford to keep me company, I peeled and cut the apples and delicately mixed the pie crust, just like so many generations have before me. While this is not entirely a family recipe, baking pie makes me feel that familial kinship.
What makes this recipe so delicious is the caramelized filling. From the original recipe, I also add the right amount of cinnamon and substitute in my grandmother's familiar pie crust (making my own pie crust cookies with the excess).