Growing up as a kid of the 60s and 70s, seeing Mom make mock apple pie was always a little confusing but rewarding when that warm slice of pie hit the plate (and a forkful hit my tongue!). A Depression Era staple, it was then popular among cooks as apples were often in short supply or un-affordable.
But making mock apple pies pre-dates the 1930s (into the 19th century – think Civil War…) and the recipes used saltines or soda crackers — it was even called cracker pie or soda cracker pie. Nabisco did not invent the recipe to sell their Ritz crackers. They did, however, start printing the recipe on the boxes during WWII.
So, it REALLY tastes like apples? Some say resoundingly, “Yes!”. Some say, “Uh, nooo…” And some people like it very much and adore it for the memories it elicits of days in the kitchen with Mom or Grandma, smelling the pie baking and anticipating something made with love. It is tasty on its own and should be served warm. The sugary-lemony syrup poured over the crackers mimics the cooked fruit. Unsuspecting folks often chow down never suspecting the true origin of their “apple” pie.
No longer more economical than buying real apples, this pie is best served up for memories, good times, and a touch of nostalgia with the ones you love. This version is the original Ritz recipe and is for a double-crusted pie or the option for a crumb topping.
If pie top is browning too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the top surface to help prevent over-browning.
Mock Apple PieCourse: DessertCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
Pie crust of your choice (enough for 1 double-crusted OR a single if using the optional crumb topping)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons. cream of tartar
1-3/4 cups water
Zest and 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon
36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1-3/4 cups)
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Crumb Topping (optional)
25 Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, cubed
whipped cream or ice cream for garnish
- Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Bring to boil on high heat; simmer on low heat 5 min. or until mixture is reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Stir in zest and juice; cool 30 min.
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Make CRUMBS if using: mix together crumb topping ingredients until blended and crumbs form. Set aside.
- Roll out 1 crust on lightly floured surface to 11-inch circle; place in 9-inch pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crust. Pour sugar syrup over crumbs; top with butter and cinnamon.
- If MAKING TOP CRUST: Roll out remaining crust to 10-inch circle; place over pie. Seal and flute edge. Cut several slits in top crust to permit steam to escape OR sprinkle crumbs over pie filling.
- Place pie in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350º F and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.