What Makes America Great Apple Pie

Mary Michener, Apple Pie Contest Finalist 2001

GMA Recipes Dessert
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: min

In our home, pork fat ruled.

My mother arrived in America from Hungary with one suitcase, determination, and a love of food that included old family recipes, many using lard from "The Pig" that not only saw us through cold winters, but through the Great Depression and the dark days of World War II.

The following recipe was one of the treasured possessions my mother brought with her almost 80 years ago. It, too, was an immigrant of sorts, and so has adapted, evolved and embraced the best of its adopted country. This recipe is now, like me, a proud, first-generation American.

Before You Start:

You should use a 9-inch old brown ceramic dish, or a 9-inch glass pie plate Lightly toast 1 cup of chopped hazelnuts Preheat oven to 425 degrees Set cookie sheet in oven to heat (you will place the pie on this later)


  • Crust
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup lard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • Filling
  • 6 medium granny smith apples, cut into eighths
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 cup and 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted hazelnuts
  • Topping
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • the rest of the toasted hazelnuts
  • Cooking Directions


    Place lard in freezer for 20 minutes, so it is icy cold.

    Place flour and salt in bowl.

    With pastry blender, cut in half the lard, until mixture is like fine meal.

    Coarsely cut in remaining lard.

    Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. cold water over dough and mix with fork until all flour is moist.

    Press dough into a ball. Roll out at once. (If it falls apart, you'll be doing it right. Just patch the baby together in the pie pan)


    Sprinkle 3 tbsp. hazelnuts and the 3 tbsp. sugar on bottom crust.

    Fill pie pan with apples, sprinkle cinnamon on top, then fork the insides of a lemon over all.

    Sprinkle most of remaining sugar around edge of pie, rest on top. Dot with butter, so butter and sugar will caramelize around edge of crust when baked.


    Work together with hands until like coarse meal.

    Cover apples with topping and place the pie plate on heated cookie sheet.

    Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower to 375 degrees and bake 60 minutes or until sugar and butter are bubbly around the edge. Do not remove before.

    If top is browning too quickly, cover with foil.

    Let the pie cool at room temperature for one hour before slicing.

    Recipe courtesy of Mary Michener, Apple Pie Contest 2001

    Recipe Summary

    Main Ingredients: granny smith apples, hazelnuts

    Course: Dessert

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