Edie, apple pie maker extraordinaire. Photo courtesy of Joyce Weldon

My mother-in-law, Edie, was born in 1906 and as a teenager took the train from North Woburn into Boston to attend a young lady’s cooking school. She learned methods there that are no longer taught today, baking and cooking everything from scratch. Over the years that I had the joy of knowing her, she taught me many things I would not have learned anywhere else, like what to do with parsnips and turnips. which I had never heard of, and how to make wonderful turkey stuffing.

She taught me, most of all, how to love people. She was a nurse in a local nursing home until age 85, and she loved each resident like they were family.  Over the years, she also taught me how to love my husband and children, without saying a word. She was famous in the family for her apple pie, which she continued to make well into her 90s. I have tried for years to make an apple pie like hers, even going so far as to watch her and write down every step. However, when I tried to repeat the process, it was never the same.

Edie would stick out her arthritic hands and say, “It’s in the hands.”  My hands are still trying after all these years.

Edie’s Apple Pie Photo courtesy of Joyce Weldon

Edie’s Apple Pie

I have adjusted the recipe over the years, mainly using less extra Crisco and mixing the apples, sugar and spices in a bowl with a tablespoon of flour (for thickening) before placing the filling in crust and then dotting it with butter. But this is the recipe just as she made it. 

1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups flour
Shake of salt
5  tablespoons of Crisco
Enough water to make it slightly sticky (mixing as adding)


Mix together with a fork until Crisco is pea size and incorporated. Use your hands and divide dough in 2 pieces. Lightly flour a board and roll out to fit your round pie pan with slight amount hanging over the sides. Put a small amount of Crisco on bottom of pie pan. Fold dough in half and put in pan and spread over entire pan.


Lightly sprinkle the crust with nutmeg and place in 3-4 peeled, sliced Cortland apples. Dot with about 3 teaspoons of butter. Then sprinkle apples with about ¾ cup of sugar, ¼ teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg.

Roll out top crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg and place over apples, nutmeg-side down. Shake a wet hand of water over top crust. Lift the sides to press out any air and fold top edge under bottom crust. Crimp top and bottom crust together. Then poke holds with a fork in the top crust and gently rub top crust with a light amount of Crisco. Also sprinkle with water (about 10 drops with a shake of the hand) and lightly sprinkle with flour.

Cover the pie crust edge with strips of cloth or foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake at 400 degrees about 40 minutes or until crust is brown and juices begin to bubble through crust.

Remove cloth from edges for the last 15 minutes of baking.

Joyce Weldon Photo courtesy of Joyce Weldon

THE COOK: Joyce Weldon

“Twelve years ago, my husband retired as a full-time pastor with Village Missions. We moved from our last church to our wonderful home in New Gloucester, where I am a basic cook for my husband and myself. Over the years I learned to cook mainly from a Betty Crocker cookbook purchased in college and I’ve lots of recipes passed on from ladies in our churches. Neither of my working parents liked to cook and didn’t pass on any cooking skills, all the more reason why my amazing mother-in-law (who lived to be 104 and whose cooking was loved by all) was such a great person and instructor in my life. Aside from daily cooking and trying out new cookie recipes, I love to cross stitch, crochet, and read murder mysteries. “

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