For as long as I can remember, my mother’s longtime friend, whom I call Aunt Diane, has served her topsy-turvy apple pie at every holiday, birthday, family reunion, get-together, luncheon, funeral, and any other event she attends. This delectable dessert, which Aunt Diane inherited from her grandmother, was not only the very first pie I ever tried at the young age of three, but it has also gotten me through many tough times. I can remember Aunt Diane making this for me when my first dog Princess died, when my grandfather died, each of the three times I had knee surgeries, after a rough break-up, and, most recently, when I was homesick during my first weeks of college. Aunt Diane would make the five-and-a-half-hour drive down from Arlington, Virginia, every couple of weeks.
But this wonderful recipe is also served on happy occasions. It is a regular fixture on our table every time Aunt Diane comes for our quite frequent get-togethers. My mother often requests this rather than a birthday cake, and this half-pecan, half-apple pie can even please my picky grandparents.
Every time I have a bite, it brings back childhood memories, recollection of events past, and never fails to put a smile on my face.
Glaze and Crust Filling
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dark Karo syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup pecan halves
4 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples
2 (15-ounce) pie crusts (store bought or homemade)
In a 9-inch glass pie pan, combine brown sugar, butter, and Karo syrup. Mix well. Spread evenly in bottom of pie pan. Arrange pecans in a single layer over mixture in pan. Place first crust over the mixture and pecans in pie pan. Preheat oven to 425˚.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon; mix well. Arrange half the apple slices in crust-lined pan. Sprinkle with half the sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining apple slices and sugar mixture. Top with the second pie crust, seal edges, and flute. Cut slits in several places in top of crust.
Place pie pan on sheet of aluminum foil on oven rack. Bake at 425˚ for 8 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350˚ and bake additional 40-45 minutes, or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.
Remove pie from oven and run a knife around the edge to loosen it from pan. Carefully invert pie onto serving plate. Serve warm or cool, with whipped cream if desired.