Every special occasion at our house begin with a “pie making day”. With so many people to cook for also comes just as many interruptions. When the smells start their journey down the hall and up the stairs people start swarming the kitchen. The Aunts always started preparing the Thanksgiving meal at least three days in advance to accommodate all those interruptions. We usually served not only our immediate family and extended family members, (our family extended farther then most) but the usual strays (who were considered family), then there was the girlfriends, boyfriends, and those who “just happened to be in the neighborhood.”
Kate (Ben’s fiancée) had been “invited” to help with the pie making. She was as excited about pie making day as any kid I had ever seen waiting in line for a roller coaster ride. She said this was the first time she had ever participated in an “event” such as this. I could not help but burst out in laughter. I never considered pie making day an “event”, it was more like a “circus.”
Aunt Nelly immediately took me aside and explained to me that Kate was spoiled because she was the only girl in her family before joining ours. I was told to be polite and considerate. Above all, no more laughing at her remarks about this “event.” Kate had only two brothers and no sisters. I wondered if she didn’t feel lonely before she met up with us. You can imagine how surprised I was to learn that she found our family a bit strange and often perplexing. I was told those were her exact words. (This time I held my laughter back) I didn’t think anyone could find our family “perplexing”. There was nothing puzzling about us. Everything was as open as the great outdoors. You could never keep anything secret in this family. Nope, there wasn’t much left to be puzzled about.
Kate and I were sent to the pantry room by Aunt Nelly to fetch the jars of peaches, apples, pumpkin, and various berries that would become pies for our huge Thanksgiving dinner. We made four trips and by the time we were done packing all those jars we had to sit down and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate before we begin the days “event.” Aunt Nelly and Aunt Nita joined us. It was decided that Kate would pair off with Aunt Nita, and I with Aunt Nelly, and thus the fun begin!
First we made the pie crusts. No one could ever match the perfect pie crust that Aunt Nita made. Even Aunt Nelly owned up to the fact that Nita’s pie crust recipe was the best one to follow. We made 30 pie crusts! (some of these pies would be given to neighbors) I made a new best friend, and most of all we made memories that will last our life times!
Here is Aunt Nita’s pie crust recipe along with Brandied Apple Pie
Aunt Nita’s Pie Crust
2 C. flour
1/2 C. sour cream
1 stick butter (chilled and cut into small cubes)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
pinch of ground cloves
flour to sprinkle on work surface for rolling dough
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, and pinch of cloves. Mix well. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into flour mixture until it is crumbly. Stir in the sour cream, and vanilla until a ball forms. Immediately set dough in refrigerator for 10 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE DOUGH FROM REFRIGERATOR UNTIL READY TO ROLL. Sprinkle work surface with a dusting of flour. Dust rolling pin with flour. Divide dough in half and place on flour dusted surface. Roll to desired thickness and size. Makes 2 pie shells.
Brandied Apple Pie
1 large jar of canned apple pie filling (may use your favorite store brought variety)
1/2 C. light brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 T. all purpose flour
1/4 C. brandy
1/2 stick of butter
2 unbaked pie shells
Pour apple pie filling into a large mixing bowl. Fold in each ingredient gently one at a time so that you do not break the apple slices. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Dot the pie filling with the butter. Place the 2nd pie shell on top of the pie and flute the edges together around the entire pie. Make a small slit in top of pie. Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 40 minutes.
My Aunt Nelly mixed 2 T. of brandy, and 1/4 tsp. ground cloves with a small tub of Cool Whip. She would put this mixture in the freezer and when she served the apple pie she would put a scoop of this wonderful frozen concoction on top. YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY, YOU’LL HAVE LOVE IN YOUR TUMMY!