We always make two pies on Thanksgiving. Usually, apple and pumpkin, or bourbon-pecan and pumpkin.
For the pumpkin, I use Libby’s tried-and-true recipe; it’s easy and always turns out well. For the pecan, I use my own favorite recipe for Double-Shot-of-Bourbon Pecan Pie; this one is also easy (you just need one bowl!) and is absolutely insanely good. For the apple, I use my great-grandmother’s recipe.
My great-grandmother, Ruby Nunn, was an excellent cook. As was her daughter (my grandmother), Jean Nunn Tunis. Jeannie always made two pies on Thanksgiving, too. And after we all enjoyed a giant lunch of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans with almonds, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, chutney and warm biscuits, Jeannie would ask which pie we would take. Invariably, my dad would respond with a wink: “I’ll take both, just to be polite.”
What pies are you planning to enjoy this Thanksgiving? Will there be two? If you’re hankering for a taste of both, feel free to use my dad’s line … I’m sure he won’t mind!
Nunn-Family Apple Pie
My great-grandmother Ruby Nunn always enjoyed her apple pie with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. As a child, I remember how classy she seemed, compared to me with my slice and a messy scoop of melting vanilla ice cream. This recipe is named after her, and in her honor, I will always give my guests a choice of sides. But it’s always ice cream for me!
6 to 8 medium Granny Smith apples
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into eight slices
Optional: egg wash (1 egg white + 1 T water, beaten with fork) brushed on top before baking
Optional: 2 teaspoons sugar, for sprinkling on top before last 10 minutes of baking
Preheat oven to 425°. Peel and slice apples (slices should be thin, but need not be uniform). If you have a food processor, use the slicing blade to speed up the process.
Place apple slices in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour; using your hands, toss until all slices are fairly evenly coated.
Place one pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate Add half of the apple mixture. Place four slices of butter, spaced evenly, on top of the apples. Add remaining apple mixture, arranging the slices so they form a small mound. Top with remaining butter.
Place second pie crust over filling. Seal the edges of both crusts by pressing the crusts together, and then tucking them under to form an even edge.
Use your hands to form a decorative scalloped edge if desired. With a sharp paring knife, make four 1-inch to 2-inch slits in the top pastry. The slits should form a cross shape, but without meeting in the center.
Brush with egg wash if desired.
Cover edges of pie crust with a pie shield or ring of foil (to keep the crust from overbrowning). Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes on a rack in set in the middle of the oven. Remove pie shield and/or foil.
Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with sugar. Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until apples are tender when a toothpick is inserted through one of the slits.
Cool for 1-2 hours before serving.