It’s not going to be much of a secret recipe anymore. Maybe everyone will try it and hate it. But when I make it, it’s really really good. I just want to share the happy goodness of my Aunt Maggie’s apple pie.

This is the recipe I use for 2 pies (9 in. Shells). I’ll let you use your favorite pie crust recipe. I do recommend using a top crust on this pie. It keeps the moisture in and looks really nice.

I apologize in advance for the lack of specific measurements, I was taught cooking by zen.

6-8 jonagold apples, nice and firm, with very good color.
Some sugar
Some vanilla
Some cinnamon
Some nutmeg
3 cups of cheap brandy
Little bit of flour
Some butter

First, peel and cut the apples into 1 to 1 ½ inch chunks. I like to peel them in a spiral leaving half the skin on them. Don’t leave any patch of skin on the apple larger than your thumbnail, otherwise it’ll be easy to choke on. The red and gold color in the pie is well worth the extra work.

Preheat your oven. You are going to throw the pie shells in empty for a few minutes, just until they start to brown. Don’t forget to poke holes in them with a fork!

Throw the apple pieces directly into a large stewpot. Then put in the brandy, along with about 2/3 cup to 1cup of sugar, 1 or 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 1 or 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg... or so. Feel free to add more or less as you like.

Simmer the mixture in the covered pot for the first 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to the apples cook evenly. Cook until the apples are soft on the outside but still crunch a little inside. There ought to be a lot of nice juice in the bottom. Now your shells should be ready for the apples.

With a slatted spoon, scoop the apples into the crusts. Pile em up, be generous. They’ll settle a little bit. Put some butter over the top - little bits the size of almonds in various places around the top. Now cover them with your top crusts. I like to use a lattice pattern. I also like to wipe the crust with a little melted butter and sprinkle sugar over it. It’s especially good if you’re using tart apples.

Wrap a little aluminum foil around the edges of your pies. Don’t cover the top, or it’ll be mushy. You’ll take this foil off when you see the top crust starting to brown.

OK, now the pie is in the oven. Now you have to make your sauce. There is a lot of cooked up brandy and juice and sugar in your stewpot. Turn on the heat to about medium and reduce the mixture until it’s nice and thick. This sauce can be used two ways:

1. You can pour it all over the pie, making it really moist.
2. You can serve the pie with a nutty ice cream and use the sauce over that... bringing everything together.