Skip to main content

Beacon Senior News

The healing power of a homemade pie

Oct 28, 2019 03:31PM ● By Lynn Walker Gendusa

Growing up, I recall my grandmother making pies to deliver to folks who were physically ailing or mentally going through a difficult time. She regularly baked my brother his favorite chocolate pie and would always make a blackberry cobbler for my mother when the berries were in season. I don't think I ever visited her when she didn't bake a pie out of love or compassion for someone.

I remember one summer day when her friend Mrs. Harris was ill. First thing on a Saturday morning, we visited her bearing an apple pie full of concern and affection. Before we left, Mrs. Harris was giggling with my grandmother and hugging me goodbye.

The tradition of pie giving was passed down from those ancestors who resided in the Southern hills, giving to hearts who needed a pie's restorative power. Aunts, mothers, grandmothers, a few uncles, and even some grandpas inherited the gift of producing a mouthful of joy. My granddaddy couldn't make a pie, but he sure could mend a mortal with his homemade peanut brittle.

My mom could roll out the best pie crust on the planet. Plus, she had the artistic talent to create the perfect lattice top over her delicious fruit pies. She would serve them warm with a dollop of ice cream. I once dubbed her the "Queen of Pies," and to this day, I believe she undoubtedly was.

Friends and family frequently remind me that I can go to the grocery store and get a great pie or cake and not have to go through the trouble of making one at home. But it's not the same!

Generosity, compassion and joy are only found in the work you go through to create them. Not everyone knows how to bake a pie, but they sure know how to gather flowers, write a sweet note, or hold a hand. When we use extra energy to lift another’s spirit, whether it is through baking a pie or going for a visit, we deliver healing. When we go to the trouble to love, we give hate trouble.

Our world is a busy place, where texting emoji hearts or sad or smiling faces makes it simple to share our emotions. Whatever makes our lives easier is becoming the norm. However, our days will become more comfortable only when our society becomes a less hateful place.

A peaceful world can exist only through loving each other enough to create a pie made of sincere compassion, prayer and understanding. Comforting others is not about what’s easy, but about sacrifice and empathy. There is no emoji in the technological world that shows the recipe for genuine kindness.

"Before Prozac, there was pie," declared 9-year-old Alix, a character from Jan Eliot's comic strip, "Stone Soup."

I suffer from depression, and I understand needing medications for this illness. However, if my family and friends had been too busy to hug me, pray with me, or cook my kids' dinner through some of those wicked dark hours, would I have made it? When those compassionate souls took the time to physically aid me, they helped me see a sunny day was on the horizon.

"That's what's wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!" Alix's grandma happily tells her.

What if we brought a homemade pie of kindness to the table of hate and calmed anger with a dose of warmed goodness? Then our grandchildren would learn just like I did from my grandmother: when we take the time to create love, we might just witness healing our hurts, one pie at a time.

Cinnamon Apple Crumble Pie

Recipe courtesy of Chrissy Martin

Crumble topping:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

In a bowl, mix the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender, add the butter until mixture is crumbly. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

Pie crust and filling:

1 Rolled-out basic pie dough

7 Large Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices)

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 pinch of salt


For the crust: Fold the dough round in half and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold the round into the pan, without stretching, and pat firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough round, leaving 3/4-inch of overhang. Fold the overhang over itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the pan's rim, or decorate the edge as you like.

For the filling: Place the apples in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and toss to coat evenly. In a small bowl, combine and stir the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the apples and toss. Transfer to the dough-lined pan and sprinkle the crumb topping evenly.

Refrigerate the pie until the dough is firm, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375°, and place pie on lower rack of oven.

Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, about 50-60 minutes. Let pie cool completely to set.

Serve at room temperature or rewarm prior to serving.