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A Grandmother’s Apple Pie

Good apple pies are a considerable part of our
 domestic happiness.
-jane austen

Apple pie…..
it will always remind me of my Gram.

This is one of my favorite vintage photos with Gramma at a family beach house in Marshfield, Massachusetts sometime in the late ’70s. How hilarious is it that my brothers and I all have various lengths of the same haircut?

My Gramma was Eliza Gavigan Tunney and I am happy to share the same Gaelic name with her:
Eilis, pronounced el-leesh.

I was the twelfth of her fifteen grandchildren and I will always remember what a wonderful cook she was. She had a natural ability with food, and I think of her often as I work in my kitchen. How I wish I could see her method for putting together a Thanksgiving turkey or what ingredients she put into her yummy apple pies.

Isn’t it amazing how much food is embedded into happy memories? This is what I love most about cooking:  the happy memories that my family is making around a table, the associations that my children are creating between different foods and people in their life. My husband talks about his grandmother’s delicious homemade pizza that was made on big baking sheets, my mother fondly remembers the taste of her own mother’s Irish bread, and I think of Gramma whenever I make an apple pie.

Now let me just tell you that I have made lots of pies but they never come close to the taste of hers. That amazing pie exists only in my memory. I have tried so many different recipes over the years but this is the only one that really knocks my socks off – I would have to say it’s the closest that I think I’ll ever get to Gramma’s perfection! And the best part – this is a grandmother’s recipe! Not my grandmother, but another treasured grandmother  – whose memory lives on in her rockin apple pie!!

This recipe is adapted from Apple Pie by Grandma Ople. Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is the #1 apple pie recipe at, earning 5 out of 5 stars, reviewed over 4,000 times and saved by over 116,000 people! I incorporated some minor changes from commenters and while my end result doesn’t look so beautiful the taste was divine….even with store-bought crusts (gasp!!)  (Sorry Gramma! I’ll make homemade crusts next time and try to make the top look a little more presentable.)

This apple pie recipe basically calls for making a syrup with butter & sugar that is added to the apples, and also spread on the top of the crust.


  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg white


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  • Place the bottom crust in your pan. Brush with egg white (this prevents the crust from getting soggy when baked.)
  • Reserve 1/2 cup of the butter/sugar syrup. Add apples to remaining syrup and toss to coat.
  • Fill bottom crust with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with second crust.
  • Brush top crust with reserved syrup. Make sure the syrup is still warm before spreading or it will clump.
  • Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

What food conjures up a fond memory for you?

Please share, I’d love to hear! 
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classic • casual • home

Sunday 13th of November 2011

How cool was your gram!!! I LOVE apple pie and will make this for Thanksgiving. Thank YOU


Friday 11th of November 2011

What a sweet post and yes, many family memories are created around food. I am making an apple crisp this weekend, but now I'm wondering if I should try this recipe instead.

A Vintage Vine

Thursday 10th of November 2011

Wonderful post! Grammy looks so happy in that picture! No kidding, I had a Dorthy Hamill hair cut too....I should post a picture, that would be too funny! I was thirteen when I had mine, I think I was in 8th grade. Great memories!

Sarah, Three Boys

Wednesday 9th of November 2011

What a beautiful story:) Love those haircuts! And for sure trying out that pie!

Nantucket Daffodil

Wednesday 9th of November 2011

Your pies and memories made my day. I was also close with my grandma. Makes me think of her today. Although she was not a good cook lol