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Posted on Sun, Sep 13, 2009 : 8:20 p.m.

"You Should Only Be Happy" ... baking applesauce pie

By Mary Bilyeu

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This is a perfect recipe for Fall, a different twist for the goodies you'll bring home from your requisite trip to an orchard. Yes, it's also perfect for your Rosh Hashanah celebration or for breaking the fast during Ramadan or even -- thinking ahead -- for Thanksgiving. Applesauce Pie is an Amish recipe, which I've tweaked very slightly from the one printed in Marcia Adams' New Recipes from Quilt Country.
Bilyeu Applesauce Pie.JPG

City-girl that I am, having been raised in the heart of Manhattan, I still have tremendous affection for old-fashioned, homey types of recipes -- anything you’d find in a community cookbook, and particularly long-time family recipes handed down through generations ... ones that might have come from the Old Country, whatever country that might have been. (I’m not picky!)

My own family has none of these hand-me-down recipes, which likely accounts for my love of them. My father reminisces about his Irish mother’s bread pudding, which was made with buttered slices of bread and a custard, then baked in a loaf pan; I make many variations of bread pudding -- one of which is even a prize winner -- but I have not been able to replicate the beloved one of memory because Grandma Mae never wrote down the recipe. Virtually the same scenario exists on my mother’s side of the family: Grandma Mary scribbled down ingredients for her raisin pie and shortbread cookies, but no one has been able to adequately reproduce them … more for reasons of “taste memory,” I’m sure, than because we can’t combine flour and butter together properly. We might be making these things exactly as they should be, but we lack the affirmation that would have come with a recipe.

So I love Marcia Adams’ cookbooks, which preserve traditional recipes that would otherwise go out of fashion with the advent of drive-thrus and microwaves and spray-on pancake batter (a rant about which is still forming -- there is too much foul language in it for the moment to make it publishable). Everyone has heard of and eaten many variations on apple pie; but the richness and spice of Applesauce Pie is simultaneously unique and familiar … and it is consummate comfort food. This is a quick, easy, and absolutely delicious recipe. As they say, “everything old is new again ….”

Applesauce Pie

Pastry for a 9” pie pan 2 eggs 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 cup butter, melted 1 cup smooth applesauce 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place pie crust into a 9” pie pan.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the remaining ingredients; pour into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is a bit puffy. (It will deflate upon cooling.)

Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures as she tries to win prizes, feeds hungry teenagers and other loved ones, and generally just has fun in the kitchen. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured next to the blog's title) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15, and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here!

You can contact Mary at



Fri, Sep 28, 2012 : 11 p.m.

I work for program at the Frist Congregational Church UCC in Fort Lauderdale that provides meals for people in need. I am ALWAYS getting donations of apple sauce. I'm going to try this recipe and see how people like it. I will post again and let you all know how it goes over. Trust me, many of my people are homeless, but they aren't afraid let let me know when I make a misstep!

Mary Bilyeu

Sat, Sep 29, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

Oh, I hope you enjoy the pie! It's deceptively plain; people love it when they eat it, as simple as it seems ....

Mary Bilyeu

Mon, Sep 21, 2009 : 8:44 p.m.

Thanks, Marge -- you're right, there's no pre-baking. Just stir, pour into the crust, bake and enjoy!

Marge Biancke

Mon, Sep 21, 2009 : 1:27 p.m.

Received a question in Kitchen Mailbox about this recipe regarding the crust. Do you need to bake it before filling? I answered "no". This is a wonderful, delicious no-fuss recipe

Jennifer Shikes Haines

Mon, Sep 14, 2009 : 7:58 a.m.

I love pies like this! Shoofly pie, and... um, I'm forgetting the others. I'm definitely going to try this - I already have applesauce making on the docket for this weekend.