Christmas recipes-Prize-Winning Mock Apple Pie

Prize-Winning Mock Apple Pie
Submitted by Mary Pat Cox, parishioner of St. Ann’s Church in Manlius

   “The evening before St. Ann’s Fall Festival Apple Pie Bake-Off, I read an email asking for more pies for the contest. I had not made a pie since 1992. I remember the day precisely and so does the Manlius Fire Department. I got thinking about Great Aunt Ann, who was famous for her special pie recipe. I dug out her recipe, preheated the oven and made her pie. When I took it out of the oven, I thought a miracle had happened right there in my kitchen: It was the most beautiful pie I have ever seen.   
   The next morning, on the way to deliver the pie to St. Ann’s, I got a pang of guilt. I mused that perhaps, “I should have put at least a piece of apple in my pie for the church’s Apple Pie Bake-Off.” My husband slammed on the brakes. “What do you mean there are no apples in your pie?” he asked. There was some grumbling on his part, but it was now time to deliver the pie and attend Mass.
   After the judges performed their missions, Father Cliff Auth announced the results of the contest. ‘First place winner…’ My heart stopped. Then he said my name! I had to look into the faces of the No. 2 and 3 winners, who took all that time buying or picking apples, peeling the apples, slicing the apples and including those apples in their pies. 
   I quickly switched ribbons around. So I say congratulations to the 6th grade team of Emma Galletta, Abby Wendler and Grace DeSorbo, who really came in first place and Dana Barr who really came in second place. With great compassion the church bulletin listed my entry as ‘Honorable Mention.’ My husband thought it should have read ‘Dishonorable Mention.’”

2 cups sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 ¾ cups water
zest and 2 Tbsp juice from one lemon
double-layer pie crust
38 Ritz crackers
2 Tbsp butter
½ tsp ground cinnamon

1. Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil on high. Simmer on low heat 5 min. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Cool this syrup 30 minutes.
2. Heat oven to 425.
3. Roll out crusts to fit 9-in pie plate; place one layer in bottom of plate. Place 38 coarsely broken (here’s the big secret) Ritz crackers in crust. Pour syrup over crumbs. Top with butter and cinnamon. 
4. Place second crust layer over pie. Seal and flute edge. Cut slits in top crust and bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool, and have a wonderful Yule.

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