Grandma's Apple Pie

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When I think of apple pie, a few of my favorite things come to mind: crisp fall days, cozy nights by a fire, family gatherings, and full bellies. Just a few months ago, I heard a story that forever changed the way I think of apple pie.  

The first story I'd like to share is one that's close to my heart. On June 1, 2017, I packed up my 49.5lb. suitcase and took off for a weekend getaway trip with 16 of my closest sorority sisters. This was our first post-college reunion and I COULD NOT wait to see everyone! Despite a few departure hiccups, (cough, cough, never fly Allegiant) I finally arrived in what I like to call the “Disneyland” for adults. That's right, Las Vegas. I'm pretty sure I jumped out of the cab before it was fully stopped and sprinted (ok, lightly jogged) my way to our connecting suites. Three days in Vegas was plenty, yet it still wasn't enough time to spend with these girls.

I could go on and on about all of the fun stories from that trip, but they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and you're probably wondering when I'm getting to the apple pie.

Hold tight, apple pie is coming.

When it was time to head home, the post trip blues started to kick in as Kenzie, Anna, and I loaded up the car and headed back to Des Moines. We were a couple hours from home when I received a call from my Mom.

"Oh, hi honey. Are you home yet?"

"No, we still have a couple more hours to go"

"Oh, ok. Well, will you give me a call when you get home?"

I instantly knew something was wrong.

"What's wrong, mom? You can just tell me now"

"Well...It's was his time."

My 90-year-old Grandpa had been in hospice care battling COPD and pneumonia. I knew his time was quickly approaching, but nothing can quite prepare you for that call. So many emotions ran through me that weekend. In a matter of just three days, I went from the highest high to lowest low. However, I couldn't help but smile as I thought back to the wonderful life my Grandpap had.

If I could sum him up in just three words it would be fighter, stubborn, and selfless—all three could go hand-in-hand. He refused to give up. Even during those last days, he put his foot down and said, “sorry, but not today!” He never stopped fighting, mostly for my grandma, as he did not want to leave her alone.

My grandparents have the ultimate love story. For 61 years they exemplified the true meaning of love and marriage. They were husband and wife, parents, and best friends.

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These photos were displayed at Grandpap's funeral. I know what you're thinking, he was a stud and my grandma was a babe (still true, Grandma!).

All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered around and shared their favorite stories of the man that had such an influence in their lives. Of all the stories, there was one that stuck out as my favorite. It is the story that has changed apple pie for me forever.

My mom tells the story..

For as long as I can remember growing up, each of us children would get a baked-from-scratch birthday cake—each one getting their favorite cake.  Lyn: white cake with white icing; Bill: chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting; Sue: chocolate cake with chocolate icing; Me: yellow cake with chocolate icing; Tom: white cake with chocolate icing.  My Dad, however, preferred my Mom's homemade apple pie instead of a birthday cake.  She made one for my his birthday for each of the 61 years that they were married.  Even when my Dad was in a nursing home this past March 11, during his final days, my mom still made him his birthday apple pie.
The only other time of the year she made apple pie was for Thanksgiving, so it was a special treat for all of us.  With so many of us around the table, these special cakes or apple pie were all gone after one meal.  No leftovers in our house!

As soon as I heard this story, I knew I needed to get my grandma’s apple pie recipe. When I asked my grandma, she told me that she used a traditional Betty Crocker Cookbook recipe from 1959. Since then, she bakes the pie from memory. So, ladies and gents, in honor of my Grandpap Shock, I’m pleased to share with you the very first Sweet Stories recipe, My Grandma’s Apple Pie.



Grandma's Apple Pie


1/2 cup sugar 

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour - crust 

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour - filling 

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons water 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter 

8 cups thinly sliced and peeled apples (~5 Granny Smith apples) 


In a medium bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt.

Use fork to cut in shortening until mixture forms pea sized crumbs.

Sprinkle with water and continue tossing with fork until mixture moistens. 

Divide dough into 2 balls, and loosely wrap each in plastic.

Press dough with rolling pin to form disks.

Let dough rest in room temperature for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400°F

On floured surface, roll out one disk to  13-inch round circle. 

In a large bowl, toss peeled apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour. 

Add apples into pie shell and brush dough with water. Top with another round. 

Tuck top shell under bottom dough to seal.

Cut four slivers on top shell to vent.

Lightly brush water on top and sprinkle sugar. 

Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 350°F and bake until slightly browned, 60 minutes.

cool completely before serving.

Grandma Shock Supporting her Steelers! 

Grandma Shock Supporting her Steelers! 

Mom with Grandma's Apple Pie 

Mom with Grandma's Apple Pie 

Emily Field