Thanksgiving is a special time of the year when we gather with our loved ones, enjoy a hearty meal, and share what we are grateful for. Among the cornucopia of dishes that grace our tables during this holiday, there’s one dessert that stands out as an icon – the Thanksgiving apple pie. This delicious pastry filled with sweet, spiced apples is more than just a tasty treat; it’s also a symbol of warmth, comfort, and tradition.
The Roots of Our Love for Apple Pie
Before we dive into the how-to’s of making this beloved dessert, let’s take a moment to appreciate its origins and why it holds such an esteemed place in American culture.
Contrary to popular belief, apple pies did not originate in America. They have been enjoyed by food lovers across continents for centuries before they were introduced to America by European settlers[^1^]. However, over time, apple pies evolved into something uniquely American as different regions started adding their own twists – such as incorporating local ingredients and adjusting spices based on available resources[^2^].
The association between apple pie and Thanksgiving can be traced back to early 19th-century cookbooks where recipes for ‘apple pye’ began appearing alongside instructions for roasting turkeys[^3^]. Since then, this fragrant dessert has become synonymous with Thanksgiving feasts.
[^1^]: “Apple Pie History.” The Spruce Eats. [^2^]: “The Evolution of Apple Pie.” Smithsonian Magazine. [^3^]: “A Brief History of Apple Pie.” Food & Wine Magazine.
Crafting Your Own Thanksgiving Apple Pie
Now that you’re familiar with the rich history behind your favorite holiday dessert let’s get down to business – creating your very own homemade apple pie from scratch!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For The Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 4 to 6 tbsp ice water
For The Filling:
- About 8 apples (a mix of Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or your favorite baking apples)
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- A pinch of nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Making the Crust:
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-sized bits of butter.
Sprinkle in ice water, one tablespoon at a time while pulsing until the dough just comes together without being too sticky or crumbly.
Split the dough into two halves and shape each half into a disk. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preparing the Filling:
Peel your apples, core them and slice thinly. Put these slices in a large bowl.
To this add lemon juice & zest along with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt[^4^]. Mix well ensuring that every apple slice is coated with this mixture.
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
Assembling Your Pie:
Roll out one disk of chilled dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an inch larger than your pie dish.
Carefully transfer it onto your pie dish allowing it to sink down without stretching.
Pour your apple filling into the pie crust, spreading it evenly and dotting the top with butter cubes.
Roll out the second disk of dough to a similar size as before and place it over the apples. Cut off any excess dough and pinch around the edges to seal.
Using a sharp knife, make slits on the top for steam to escape.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 50 minutes until golden brown[^5^].
[^4^]: “The Secrets to a Perfect Apple Pie.” Bon Appétit. [^5^]: “Classic Apple Pie Recipe.” Taste of Home Magazine.
Making Thanksgiving More Special
No matter how you slice it (pun intended), apple pie is an integral part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Whether you’re baking it for your family or sharing slices with friends, each pie carries memories of past celebrations while creating new ones.
This year, take time to savor that warm piece of apple pie – relish its sweetness, appreciate its history, and be thankful for this delicious symbol of love and gratitude!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!