My Grandparents were farmers, salt of the earth, friendly and hardworking folk.

“Early to bed and early to rise” was my grandfather’s motto, and believe you me, working as hard as he did, you would also be in bed by 21:00 every night.

He did try to cultivate the love for farming in his city-dwelling grandchildren, but neither me nor any of my siblings followed in his footsteps. Prior to his death, a cousin of mine bought the farm, so I’m glad it is not totally lost, although my visits to the farm is now far less than when he was alive.

My Granny Chloe was the ultimate chef. My two brothers, sister and myself would frequently visit the farm especially during school holidays and Gran would make sure each of us got his/her special treat, be it banana bread, carrot cake, choc-chip muffins or cheesecake.

The home-made bread she baked was to die for. I remember she never used store-bought yeast, she used her ‘potato-plant”, which consisted of grated potato, water and goodness knows what else, today I can kick myself for not saving the recipe.

Thank goodness my mother kept some of my Gran’s recipes – so I can share her delicious Apple Pie recipe with you.

Granny Chloe’s Apple Pie


1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

½ stick (¼ cup) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch cubes

¼ cup frozen solid vegetable shortening, cut into ½ -inch cubes

3 tablespoons (or more) ice water

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Directions for the crust:

In a cup mix the vinegar and 3 tablespoons ice water. In a separate bowl mix the sugar, flour and salt, with your fingertips rub in the shortening and butter till the dough has a coarse consistency. With a teaspoon sprinkle little by little of the vinegar and water mixture onto the dough, using a fork, stir until you have clumps of moist dough. Roll the dough into a flattish ball, put it in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes


1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Directions for the Topping:

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, using your fingertips rub the butter in until you have a crumb texture. Use to sprinkle over the apple filling.


5 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced ¼ inch thick

1 cup sugar

½ cup raisins (optional)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

½ tsp vanilla

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Directions for the Filling:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and set butter out so it will be at room temperature.

Line 9″ pie pan with unbaked crust.

Sprinkle the apples with the lemon juice and vanilla.

Add the raisins and dry ingredients mix lightly.

Fill pie shell with apple mixture.

Sprinkle topping over pie

Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until crumb topping is browned and apples are soft, approximately 50 minutes.

Cover the pie with tin foil if the crumb topping browns too fast.