Apple Pie Reinvented

Erin Iler's great grandma reinvented apple pie. . .

My daughter recently told her teacher that she eats apple pie for breakfast. I was mortified. I wanted to hop onto zoom and explain this is the “healthy version” of apple pie, but then it would have sounded like I was a parent just trying to cover up my “bad parenting.” But to be honest, this apple pie that my girls love is actually really healthy. And the history behind it is what makes it even more delicious.


My great grandmother was a mother of 4 during the Great Depression. Her husband passed away at the age of 41 and she was 37. She was summoned to raise her four young children on her own. She was a single parent before it was widely acknowledged in the United States and she went to work out of the home. It was hard to say the least to pay her mortgage, to raise 4 children, and to do this all during the Great Depression. She began to rent out rooms on the second story of her home so she wouldn’t have to lose her family home. Some months she had enough money to buy extra items and some months were more scarce. And to add to these challenging times, there were rations.


According to livinghistoryfarm.org “Sugar, coffee, meat, fish, butter, eggs, and cheese were the main foods rationed during The Great Depression. These things were rationed in order to prevent hoarding, prepare for war efforts, and to try and help stabilize the economy.”


At the first of the month, she would have enough of the ingredients to make this special apple pie. Over the years, we coined it as Depression Pudding. I really never thought about the meaning behind it. I just knew I loved this yummy apple pudding that tasted delicious when it came out of the oven. This recipe has been in our family for over 4 generations. And to think, it was just a few ingredients to reinvent an American classic, the apple pie.


I wonder how many of us have become creative with recipes during the 2020 pandemic? I know that I have used Ritz crackers for so many things to take the place of bread crumbs these days. Covid recipes. . . Great Depression recipes. . . the creative spirit we are being asked to use these days have the potential to create meals, desserts, or treats that could be carried down to generations to come.


Today, more than ever, I have a new respect for the families throughout history who worked magic during such challenging times. Every time I eat this “apple pie,” I think about my great grandma. May you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!



Apple Pie Reinvented “Great Depression Pudding”


8-10 granny smith apples

2tbsp of cinnamon

2 sleeves of graham crackers

1 cube of butter melted


Peel and core apples, cut into thin slices. Cook in a pot with a little water,cinnamon and sugar. When they are soft put into a 5 x 9 loaf pan with a little bit of the juice.

Crush graham crackers and pour them on top of apples. Pour melted butter on top. Cook in a preheated oven at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Tastes great with vanilla ice cream.


Family Challenge: Decorate a Christmas tree or plant a holiday garden!


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