Friday, August 13, 2010

Kleeman's Apple Pie

We never had apple pie when I was growing up. We had Kleeman's Apple Pie. In case you were wondering, the best apple pie on earth originated at a well-known Nashville restaurant where my parents ate as children and young adults, called Kleeman's. When Kleeman's closed, Harvey's department store started serving it in their tea room and, at some point, the recipe ran in a local newspaper. My mom clipped it and adopted it as her own from then on, but always gave credit where credit was Kleeman's.

Many years later, my dad convinced my mom to enter the pie into a contest. They had a subscription to the Long Beach Symphony at the time, which was hosting a pie contest (huh?) Anyway, it took some convincing...I don't know why my mom was so reluctant. Did I mention it's the best apple pie in the world??!! Maybe it was because the judges were executive chefs from the top restaurants in Long Beach at the time, and there were 40 entries.

My dad was sure she would win; she didn't. "The winners were not really pies," she said, "but one flan and another that wasn't pastry." Cheaters.

She went on to say, "As we were leaving I was sitting outside waiting for Dad to come pick me up and one of the chef judges came by and said he wanted to know if I really did the lattice top and how I did
it. He told me to come to his restaurant (where we had eaten before) and he would give us a dinner."

So the pie was a winner after all. I've been nervous to try this one just because the lattice top looks way too complicated. My mom said it would take 45 minutes to do...I did it in about 20! Ha! Just goes to show that sometimes things in life that are intimidating are really not so bad once you tackle them. Wish I had a pie contest to go to right now!

Kleeman’s Apple Pie with lattice pastry top
9" pie pan

1 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp melted butter
¼ tsp nutmeg
¾ cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
4 medium very tart apples, peeled and chopped to quarter inch pieces (Pippen or Granny Smith)

Make pie crust (we use the Crisco Pastry recipe). Boil apples in water for about 5 minutes to soften slightly; drain and set aside. Mix flour into melted butter until smooth. Add nutmeg, orange juice, and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Place apples in the uncooked pie shell. Pour hot juice mixture over apples. Weave tiny ¼ inch strips for lattice pastry top. If desired you can put a solid top crust; be sure to cut air holes in top. Bake 15 minutes in 400 oven. Reduce heat to 350 and bake until golden brown, usually about 25-30 minutes. Serve with ice cream or a big slab of—what else?—cheddar cheese...just the way my dad likes it.


  1. That's one mighty fine lookin' pie, Ms. Blake. You can go ahead and brag on the latticework. I know from experience, it's not easy to make a pie look that good. Luckily, even ugly pie crusts still taste good most of the time.

    Small world. . .I am going to post another recipe from Kleeman's on my site at tomorrow. It's Kleeman's Chicken on Cornbread from Dinah Shore's recipe collection. She submitted it to the now-ancient "Hour Magazine" cookbook back in '85. I'm sure you have no clue who Dinah Shore is, but she used to be a very famous singer (who also dated Burt Reynolds). Anywho, come on over and check out the chicken recipe. I've made it before and it's DELISH. I'll bet your parents even ordered it at Kleeman's!

    P.S. I really like your blog. Great concept!

  2. Found this page searching for Kleemans Apple Pie on Google. My grandmother lived in Ashland City and got this recipe like your mother from the paper. I've had it for probably 30 years and made it many times. But I like the additional notes you have in your version! Thanks so much for posting this!


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