Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Spy Pie with My Little Eye

No dessert says America like a homemade apple pie.   The phrase “As American as apple pie” (originally “As American as motherhood and apple pie”) gives a warm fuzzy, feel-good, wholesome feeling.

Actually, there were no apples in the Americas before Columbus.  Crab apple trees are the only native apples to the United States. Early European explorers were the first introduce apple seeds to American soil.   

Now, if you want a REAL American Pie – something that’s been made with American ingenuity then what you want is a Mock Apple Pie.

In days of old, when knights were bold . . . okay, not that long ago.  Way back when folks were trekking across the United States in search of a new life or new riches or to decimate the buffalo population, the pioneers found their apple supply lacking.  But they still had a longing for the pie they loved so much.  Being inventive, as so many Americans are, they developed a recipe utilizing soda crackers in the place of apples.    And the mock apple pie was born!

Then, in 1935, Ritz Crackers introduced a recipe that called for their very own round-shaped crackers. This recipe has become a classic.  I remember my mom making this for me as a kid.

This is THE official recipe for Ritz Cracker mock apple pie:

Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

  • Pastry for 2-Crust 9-Inch Pie
  • 36 Ritz Crackers, Coarsely Broken (About 1 and ¾ Cups Crumbs)
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • Grated Peel of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out half of the pastry and place in 9-inch pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crumbs and set aside.
Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 and ¾ cups water until well blended. Bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes. Add lemon peel and juice, and allow to cool. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. 
Trim, seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Cool completely.