Great Depression Era MOCK APPLE PIE – Apple-less Ritz Cracker Pie | HARD TIMES

Great Depression Era MOCK APPLE PIE – Apple-less Ritz Cracker Pie | HARD TIMES

Greetings my beautiful lovelies. Hello its Emmy Welcome back to another episode of hard times where I’ll be exploring recipes that came from times of food scarcity So in the comments section of my other videos where I had a steak made out of grapefruit peel and a dandelion salad many of you have requested this recipe and in this mock apple pie and it uses Ritz crackers as a substitute for apples to make an apple pie So the thing I’m most intrigued about is will this taste like apple pie? Will it? Can it? Not sure there’s a couple of interesting ingredients there’s crackers and then two teaspoons of cream of tartar of all things Cream of tartar you don’t see too often Usually you see it in meringues to stabilize a meringue But it’s not really used as an ingredient per se so I’m intrigued by not only the ingredients but what will it taste like? In 1934 Ritz or the Nabisco company or at the time I believe was called the National Biscuit Company Started printing the recipe on the back of the box So while they are credited for making this recipe popular and bringing it to the masses They are not the ones that invented this recipe So people have been making cracker pies since the mid 19th century when crackers or saltine crackers were invented and they were used to make pretend fruits or pretend mincemeat pies Depending on where you live, the crackers were actually as expensive if not a little bit more expensive than apples were, so that’s a little bit debatable It could have been just a matter of you know, whether or not the apples were in season At any rate this became really popular again in the 1950s and 1960s and 70s when processed foods were going bonkers and a lot of people say they grew up eating this and I had never heard of it until you guys had mentioned it to me so let’s go ahead and start making it In this pot on medium heat two cups of sugar and two teaspoons of cream of tartar or tartaric acid So it is sour and basically what we’re making is an inverted sugar Now invert sugar I learned about when I was making my dragon’s beard candy So basically what the acid does in this case, it’s cream of tartar Sometimes can be lemon juice. It breaks the sucrose down into glucose so what that does is when the sugar cools it doesn’t recrystallize so it keeps it soft and That will make this texture of this pie more like apple pie Apparently. Kind of like pecan pie into that sticky, you know sugary-ness. We’ll see. Now we’re gonna gradually add 1 3/4 cup of water That was already getting hot So we’re gonna bring that up to a boil and while that’s boiling I’m going to zest my lemon What I’ve learned is instead of rubbing the lemon over the plane It’s actually easier to rub the plane over the lemon Sort of counterintuitive, right? But it seems you seem to have a little bit more control. It smells so good I love the smell of lemon Alright my syrup coming to a boil yet Boil. Now don’t want the syrup to- Hopefully the syrup will be a little bit more cooperative than my syrup that I made with my dragon’s beard candy You want to see some follies? You should check out that recipe. Oh my goodness. All right. There’s my zest There’s my rusty knife. Squeeze my lemon into there I’m just using this to catch the seeds 2 tablespoons of juice, which is basically the juice of one large lemon Smells amazing. So the recipe calls for thirty six crackers I’m presuming that means one sleeve but let’s count to make sure 20, 22, 24, 26, 28,… 29. So we need seven more And we’re gonna crush these up.This one I’m just gonna leave in the sleeve and do this Amazing All right, so crackers are crushed Once our syrup has been cooking for 15 minutes We’re going to turn off the heat and allow it to cool for half an hour. In that half an hour we’re going to make our crust. Now I looked up several recipes for this apple pie Some of them use pre-made crust, but I thought let’s do it OG and make our own crust This is one of my favorite crust recipes. I love it. This is an all-butter crust I know some people use shortening, some people use lard, but I always seem to have butter on hand So this one works for me One of the reasons why I love this recipe is that it uses a food processor and this recipe comes together lickety-split super fast. You do not need a food processor You could cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork. It’s just gonna take a little bit longer All right. So this is my food processor. I got it for $10 at a thrift store because that’s how I roll We’re gonna put most of our flour in here. This is two and a half cups. I’m gonna put in about two cups I’m gonna one tablespoon of sugar Why Okay Pulses to blend Now we’re gonna add our cold butter. This is one cup of butter that I’ve cut up Pulse this until it makes pea-sized crumbs That’s what it looks like. Now we’re going to add the remaining flour Now I’m going to turn the machine and incorporate a quarter cup of cold icy water and Then once it starts to form the ball inside the machine, turn it off immediately Probably about a teaspoon or so at a time -tablespoon You can hear the machine already working And there we have it Another reason why I like this pie dough recipe is that I can work the dough immediately I don’t have to chill it and wait and blah blah blah blah I can use it now because this girl needs it now Four pieces of wax paper, parchment paper, plastic wrap whatever you got on hand and I’m going to divide this into two portions because we have two crusts if you have the time you can also make this in advance The crust portion and then store it in your (re)frigerator and then take it out when you need it “Need it” get it “Knead it” except we’re not kneading it because this is not bread. No, this- this is a pie I forgot to add this to my syrup. Yes, don’t- Let me show you that really quickly So here’s my syrup. I’m gonna do this see Oohh Lemon syrup So back to our pie crust. So here’s half of the dough Add our paper on top. The instructions say to roll this out to about eleven inches So I like to start in the middle and work my way out Quarter turn, little roll out So try to maintain a circle Doesn’t have to be perfect, but I’m working with the pie. It does help when it’s in the circle Presuming your pie is a circle for your pie pan They’re looking a little squarish, but it will round out So when I roll, I try not to roll all the way to the edges because then the edges will get too thin so try working in the middle and out What’s your favorite pie? My favorite pie is a strawberry rhubarb pie, which is right- happening right now Yes! it’s strawberry season right now. Our rhubarb has come up. I’m making a strawberry rhubarb pie very soon. Love that pie! Ever had it? Oh my gosh, if you haven’t you’re missing out. This is a 9-inch pie dish And I think that’s gonna work I’m gonna take the paper off flip that over and kind of work it while it’s still on the paper So gently pull the wax paper off So next I need to roll the top crust and while I’m doing that I’m going to pop this into the (re)frigerator boo-boo-boo Okay, that’s is done! To our crushed crackers I’ma sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon Make sure everything’s coated with the cinnamon Then we’re gonna pour that into our crust Pour our cooled lemon syrup. This has been sitting for half an hour Ooooh jiggly wiggly soup soup! Now, we’re gonna add our top crust There’s the paper. Any of that extra I like to tuck it under Not only does it make it texturally nice when you’re eating your pie it seals your pie and it also gives you more to flute So when it comes to fluting the pie crust, I use these two fingers and one of these fingers This is when I want to make fatty flutes If you want to make them narrower, you just make your fingers smaller All right. Now we’re gonna cut a few vents so that the pie can breathe a little bit while it’s baking Oh my gosh, you are gorgeous already Oh, I forgot to put the butter in there. Rats So I’m gonna insert the butter into the holes Because we gotta have the butter in there Now I’m gonna brush the top of this with my egg wash and this will make it beautiful We’re gonna pop this into a 425-degree oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes bye~little pie All righty, so we are back. Here is my beautiful pie It’s been cooling for about two hours now So it’s just warm You don’t want to eat it directly out of the oven because they’ll be molten and plus we want these sugars to set up a little bit Ohlala~ Nice and flaky~~ OOOOHH~ Oh my gosh, looks like an apple pie, look at that Okay, so here’s our slice of pie and I have to say it looks a lot like apple pie All the crackers kind of mushed together and they’re kind of syrupy But I would never ever in a million years know that this was crushed up Ritz crackers in a million years. Never This pie crust by the way is amazing. Look how flaky it is. Can you hear it? I’m gonna get a piece with the crust and the stuffing of course Itadakimasu~! Wow! That’s pretty impressive Very very impressive! Now, it has a very very soft texture to it More like apple sauce. The crust is crispy on the outside, but soft on the bottom, the bottom crust The filling has a really great tart tangy-ness to it and that comes from the cream of tartar And it has of course a great cinnamon sugary, a little bit of lemon to it. It’s delicious And It’s got kind of layered flavors of butter There’s the real butter flavor that you taste from the crust and the butter that we injected into the filling But there’s just kind of margarine-y Cakey butter flavor too, which I think comes from the crackers Never in a million years would I ever ever ever guess that these are Ritz crackers. Ever In making the syrup, we added two cups of sugar, which is a lot of sugar but with the amount of cream of tartar that we put in here and in the lemon juice that we put in here It’s very very well balanced Now. This is certainly not a low-calorie By any means. A single serving of this is reported to be 410 calories Although if there is one give away, it would be the texture The texture is very homogeneous and soft almost more like an apple sauce Even though we’ve created kind of an inverted sugar and it’s almost like a pecan pie filling. It’s kind of gelled together. It doesn’t have any bite at all that you might find when you have a an apple-pie It doesn’t have any like chunks of apple in it Although some apples, depending on what kind of apples you use, really do cook down to more like an apple sauce Alrighty, thank you guys so much for tuning in. I hope you guys enjoyed that one I hope you guys learned something Let me know in the comments if there’s a recipe that you’d like me to test out or to try Be sure to check out the hard times playlist if you’ve missed the previous episodes Subscribe to my channel, share this video with your friends and follow me on social media and I shall see my next one Toodaloo! Take care, bye~! *humming joyous tune with mouthful of mock apple pie*


  1. Tartaric acid doesn't break sugar (sucrose) into glucose. It breaks sucrose into glucose AND fructose. Sucrose is a binary sugar.

  2. If you stack the Ritz crackers in the crust in layers it will look like sliced apples when you cut into it. I have had friends think I was trying to pull a fast one and fool them, so convinced they are eating a slice of apple pie. It looks and tastes like apple pie.

  3. I never thought of rolling pie crust between waxpaper. You are a genius! My grandchildren and I will forever be in your debt.

    Edited to add: My favorite pie is a hot peach pie with vanilla icecream.

  4. In Australia, my grandmother's family used a fruit/vegetable (?) called a Choko as they grew like a weed on vines on people's fences. Apparently they have an apple like texture.

  5. I don't think this was recipe used by my great grand parents in the depression era. The relatives on my dad's side did more corn based deserts, and the relatives on my mother's side worked in apple orchards and had access to waste apples that other folks didn't. However, I do remember my grandmother talking about making mock pecan pies from oatmeal. Pecans weren't as readily available where they lived, as they were in the Southern United States.

  6. What amazes me is that you'd have no apples, but you would have a lemon. Growing up poor we always had plenty of apples, because we lived on an old farm with a 70 year old overgrown orchard….

  7. I've made this pie! lol Low funds makes you get creative. I used saltines instead. Also replaced saltines with lasagna noodles for lasagna. And I actually love my lasagne w crackers versus noodles now, lol.

  8. Mock apple pie as in Make fun of Apple Pie.
    Well, that wouldn’t be the case as it’s a Hard Times dessert.
    Some people are hating on the pie saying that it’s basically a carb replacing a fruit.

  9. the idea of so much flour and dough is a little strange. in order to counter that i would probably add more lemon juice. this could also be the basis for a good cheese and raisin pie.

  10. Hi there, I really like your recipes …however in the times in which we live, why promote non-food? Solutions not problems, please!

  11. I like the cooling for some reason, lot of it in shortcrust, first you make it, then you cool, it then you spread it, then you cool it, then you bake it then you cool, it then you bake it again and cool it ^^

  12. Don't crush the crackers, just break them into quarters, keeping the crumbs that are a result of the breaking, this will add more texture to the filling. I also use Apple Pie Spice instead of just cinnamon, this enhances the flavor. I also found that using about 20% less of the syrup improves the texture.

  13. Just cinnamon and sugar is a recipe for applesauce, imo. Needs nutmeg, allspice, cardamom. I wonder if you could "season" the filling with the missing spices and get a more apple pie flavor?

  14. I grew up seeing adverts for Ritz mock apple pie, but never, until now, understanding the physics of it. Now I totally understand the why and the wherefor. Thank you!

  15. This reminds me of when my great grandmother would tell us about the Great Depression and what they ate and their day to day lives. And her pies. The best pies in town hands down. Probably the state too. No recipe but always perfect. I miss her.

  16. Bizzare that it actually looks like apple sauce and that you said "it tasted WOW". However is thes Hard times from a parallel universe where sugar and ritz crackers are actually cheaper than apples. Methinks it was a recepie form the depression era. However form someone who worked for Ritz and stole them every day.

  17. If you don’t have a food processor Freeze your sticks of butter then use a cheese grater to grate the butter into the flour. You can cut it in with a fork or pastry cutter in no time.

  18. I never heard of strawberry rhubarb pie. Though my mom makes a great pie with cottage cheese, sometimes she also makes it with chicken and potatoes, once even with mackerel.

  19. I was with some friends in Duluth back in the '80's. we had spent the day moving into the house, and realized we hadn't bought any groceries. It was late enough nothing was open. At the time the whole town shut down at nine. All we had was a loaf of bread, some dry cream of chicken soup and some ritz crackers. My friends were bummed thinking there was nothing to eat. I said no problem I'll make some chicken salad sandwiches. I mixed up the soup put in the crackers to make a paste, and spread it on the bread. Everyone thought it was the best chicken salad sandwiches they ever had. Maybe we were just that hungry, but it really was good.

  20. I grew up looking at that recipe on the back of the Ritz boxes but you are the first I've seen actually make it but then this is one place where apples are cheaper than Ritz… you can pick wild ones off the side of the road if you wish. Good on you Emmy, for reviving these old recipes. πŸ˜‰

  21. GOOD memories! I had a Great Aunt that made this YEARS ago and it was De-Licious! She tried it out on me and I had to be convinced, and it took a while, tht it wasn't legit. It was GOOD! Thanks, Emmy for a FINE job!

  22. My mom made this, it was pretty good! just a suggestion, it would have looked more appetizing if you hadn't dissected it when you ate it. No one eats pie like that.

  23. Like more than half the others who commented, I ate this many times when I was young. It was even served in small cafes. Somehow, they would get the texture of the filling to have chunks of crackers and I don't know how they did it. This really made the pie hard to distinguish from the real deal. In any case, the taste is amazing when done right. While it was touted as a 'depression era pie', I think most of my family preferred it in the 50s and 60s. It was easier to make. Nice crust, BTW. I still can't get good crusts so I buy them. This makes me want to make one just to bring back the memories.

  24. I'd really love to try making your pie crust version, but I absolutely can't cope with imperial measurements… what amount is '2 cups of butter' supposed to be? I mean the actual amount varies greatly depending on wether you cut it up into small cubes first (like you seem to have done) and measure then or if you take a cup-sized block of butter and cut that down afterwards. That makes it extra difficult especially since cup measures are absolutely uncommon where I live and I have no standard 'cup' sizes… some of them are small like an Espresso cup, some medium sized like teacups, most of them are actually 250ml coffee mugs and I even own some 500ml mega mugs (for my milk tea)… and yeah it wouldn't really matter if every amount was given in cups since you'd have everything in correct relation – but it isn't. A teaspoon of salt makes a huge difference in flavor if you mix it with an espresso cup of flour or a mega mug of flour.
    Sorry for my rant, but I find measurements in 'cups' just so utterly useless.

  25. Lol….. I’ve known about this recipe since I was a kid (I’m 65 now). I never made it so I was really interested to see how it turned out. Thanks so much! Very interesting 🍎

  26. I made this for a pie contest and people did not BELIEVE it contained zero apples. My son is making it again for a scout pie auction. Thanks for sharing this recipe! 🍏🍎🍏🍎🍏

  27. Not a hard times relates suggestion, but try a Butternut Squash Pie. Make it like a pumpkin pie, but with butternut squash. I first tried it years ago because I figured the butternut squash would be of similar texture as pumpkin, and it is amazing. I like it better than pumpkin.

  28. Thanks for answering a question I have wondered for over 40 years of staring at this recipe while eating Ritz crackers: Is this for real?

  29. If you want the pie to have more bite, layer the crackers in whole instead of crushing them. When my mom or grandmother makes it, they tend to just break them in half for a bit of middle ground.

  30. tbh i wouldn't buy something like a food processor or blender from a thrift store. the bearing seal for the shaft likes to accumulate food particles on old worn out models. you could possibly get yourself very sick.

  31. My great grandparents used to make this in the 30s and 40s, then my grandmother would make it for her kids. I think she still has the recipe, hers was slightly different from this. No lemon, waaaay more cinnamon and butter. Sometimes a little cider or apple juice would be used if they could get their hands on some, that'd be for a special occasion.

  32. I have a vague memory from reading about the creativeness of the poor that they would use the crumbs of dry old bread as a 'padding' in pies to stretch the recipe.

  33. My mom made the world's best real apple pie, but I remember having mock apple pie made with Ritz crackers as a kid, too. This would have been in the early 1960's.

  34. My Ohma made this when I was a toddler. It was one of my favorite treats. I used to just think it was a normal pie. I was happily fooled. 🍰🍎

  35. my Mom used to make this for us back in the 60's. Maybe it was due to cost . . . but we thought it was just for the novelty. These days a big box of Ritz crackers is more than a bag of apples – so It would be mostly for novelty that someone would make this.

  36. Have you tried an Unapple pie? You make it just like an ordinary apple pie, only instead of apples you use zuchinni. Those honking BIG ones that your friendly neighborhood gardener leaves on your doorstep. You peel and seed the zuchinni then slice it. Add the slices along with sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch as you normally would with your apples. Can you tell the difference? Nobody I have served it to has guessed it was really zuchinnis.

  37. My Granny, Gramma And Mom all made this as I grew up. Thanks for the memories πŸ’• I am so glad you enjoyed it 😁

  38. The depression era mock-recipes always seem like a waste of cheap ingredients.

    I’d rather just eat the ritz crackers XD

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