Peering Down the Pie Hole – The Box Edition

Peering Down the Pie Hole – The Box Edition


I like an apple pie. I make a lot of them – be it dutch or cream, puree or traditional. I can usually judge how good a particular cookbook is by the quality of the pie. So, it’s probably the first thing I thumb the index for when I pick one up. I’ll even make one on some box top – if it looks interesting. Hell, I’ve even made that Mock Apple Pie on the back of a box of Ritz Crackers… which, by the way, isn’t even apple. And, if you can get past the knowing that what you’re eating is just a big pie-shaped wedge of cooked cracker, then it kinda works in a pinch… when you don’t have any apples… and want a pie… and don’t think about it too much.

But I was sorting out the pantry the other day and came across the box of tapioca that had gotten shuffled down onto the pasta shelf. Picking it up, I noticed a recipe for Apple Pie on the back flap. I do love me some tapioca, and I’ve already stated I love me some apple pie – so it seemed to be a perfect match.

– Here’s the thing, I have a pretty specific expectation of how an apple pie should be. I want the apples on the tart side. If all you’re going to taste is Sweet when you eat your pie, then you might as well make that cracker thing up there, so I use either Granny Smith or a combination of Smiths and something with a richer flavor. The filling should be cohesive and hold the apples in place. There’s nothing worse than a pie that oozes & runs when you cut it. The spice ratio should be minimal – I want to taste the apple. If all I cared about was spice… once again, there’s that cracker thing.

So, this is pretty much their recipe, although I’ve made my usual changes:

I’ve increased the amount of Tapioca

I’ve added Lemon Juice

I’ve omitted the Butter

Apple Pie Title


Tapioca Apple Pie

Makes 1 9-inch Pie


For the Crust:

2 Cups AP Flour

2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Cold Lard

1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

6 Tablespoons Ice Water

For the Filling:

6 Granny Smith Apples – Peeled, Cored, and sliced very thin (Keep the peelings and cores – we’re doing something with them at the bottom of this post)

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

3 Tablespoons SMALL Pearl Tapioca (also referred to as “instant” or “minute” tapioca)

1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Tools of the Trade:

Food Processor

Large Mixing Bowl

Cutting Board and Sharp Knife


Rolling Pin

Zipper Bag

9″ Pie Plate


Make the Crusts:

Place all the dry ingredients in the processor.   Add the lard and pulse until it forms a sandy mixture.  Add the lemon Juice and Ice Water and pulse until it comes together.  Remove, knead lightly to form a smooth dough. Divide the dough in two parts and press into disks. Bag them up and chill for 30 minutes or so. Roll each of the disks out and ready for the pie plate


Make the Filling:

Add the sliced apples, spices and salt, lemon juice, sugar and tapioca to a large mixing bowl. With a spatula, fold all the ingredients together to evenly coat the apples. Cover with wrap and allow to sit for 30 minutes. (you can do this while the crust is chilling.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   After the bottom crust is in place, pour all the apple mixture in the prepared crust and cover with the top crust. Crimp the edges and prick holes across the top of the pie to vent. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 50 minutes.   Cool on a rack for 1/2 hour then chill completely before serving.



now… about all those peelings.

Any time I do get around to making a pie, I save all the scraps for apple butter. It may seem like a lot of work to some of you, but it beats the heck out of buying it. And, since this recipe only makes a cup or so, I’ve always got fresh apple butter in the fridge. And that is just so much better than having a jar hanging out in there that you can’t even remember  when it was purchased.

Apple butter Title

Plate Fodder Apple Butter

Makes about 1 Cup


Peelings and Core from 6 Apples

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Tapioca

1 Clove

1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Tools of the Trade:

Medium Sauce Pan with Lid


Fine Strainer

Stick Blender (or fine cut blade on processor)

Place all the apple scraps in the sauce pan with all the other ingredients  and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to low. and simmer for 1 hour. Using the stick blender, puree everything in the pot until it is smooth. Pass the puree through the strainer (pressing the pulp with the spatula) to remove the seed remnants and hard bits, and return to the pot.  Raise the heat to medium and simmer uncovered until it thickens measurably. Pour into a storage container and cool completely before chilling.  Your Apple Butter will keep in the fridge for about a month.

Back To Top