a christmas recap and waldorf salad

Oh, wow. Christmas is over, just like that. We heard the kids whispering in the living room around 6:15 as they checked out with flashlights what Santa brought them. They let us rest a little longer, and finally rushed into our room to tell us that SANTA BROUGHT HULA HOOPS!! And PILLOW PETS!! HE REALLY CAME, HE DID, HE CAME! Just watching them, overflowing with excitement and joy, was the only gift I needed that morning.

Another unexpected gift on Christmas day was this:

Our first annual Christmas day family photo. My husband – smart man that he is – had the brilliant idea to take an annual photograph of everyone who came to our Christmas dinner. This is Year One of the annual Christmas photo. I can’t even describe how happy this photo makes me. I’m holding my 87-year old grandmother’s hand in this photo, the only grandparent I have left. She’s survived lymphoma, and she’ll tell you all about it if you give her a moment of your time. Also in the photo are my parents, my children, my husband’s parents, my sister-in-law and her family, and our babysitter, Nikki.

I just love that photo.

It was a good Christmas day. We did our meal in our typical fashion – potluck style, to make it a little easier on the host and to give each family the opportunity to make one of their special dishes. My father-in-law used to own a barbeque restaurant, and he kept the smoker when the restaurant closed its doors. He cooked and brought a smoked ham and some barbeque ribs that were simply delicious.

My dad made his famous mashed potatoes. My sister-in-law brought her grandmother’s amazing sweet potato casserole. I made the cornbread dressing, the pumpkin pies, a Meyer lemon cheesecake (post coming soon!), and the Waldorf salad.

My mother used to make Waldorf salad for our holiday meals, primarily the Thanksgiving meal, and then one year she stopped. I think it became too much of a hassle to chop all those apples, and I can’t blame her. It is sort of a pain in the rear. But, the salad was part of our holiday tradition, so I took over making the salad. Now I make it for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s one of the lighter dishes on our holiday menu, and we all appreciate having something a little healthier but full of flavor.

I’m not sure where I got this recipe from exactly, but I’ve modified it some over the years. I used to try to make it the day before, but it really doesn’t work as well that way. The dressing gets runny, the apples tend to get a little mealy. I sometimes add toasted, chopped walnuts, but I didn’t this year. I’ve added regular raisins, but I really like the golden raisins in the salad.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. I sure did.

Yield: Serves 10-12.

Waldorf Salad

For the apples in this salad, I usually use a few Granny Smith apples, a few yellow apples, and a few red apples (preferably Gala). The mixed variety of apples gives the salad a nice flavor and beautiful colors. Also, I usually use low-fat mayonnaise and nonfat Greek yogurt in the dressing. It makes for a light, refreshing fruit salad, and I never feel guilty about going back for seconds.


3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup honey
lemon zest from one lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
9 apples, mixed variety, cored and chopped into 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
1 1/2 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted (optional)


In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and ground ginger. Stir in all fruits, except walnuts if you're using them. Cover and chill for at least one hour. Stir in walnuts just prior to serving.

Note: This salad is best made the same day you plan to serve it.

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33 Responses to “all-butter pie crust dough”

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    I have to admit, I have never made a pie… but this year will be it! I’m gonna do it! And I think yours will be the recipe I use!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 19th, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

      Brian, I tend to make the same pie over and over again — pumpkin. And it’s getting to be that time of year again. My kids are already asking for my pumpkin pie, so that will probably be an upcoming post. I’ve been thinking of branching out into the other fruit pies. We can journey into pie baking together. 🙂

  2. Kim - Liv Life — September 19, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    I love all butter pie crusts! That is the only kind I make. I had someone tell me the other day that if it wasn’t made with lard or shortening, it really wasn’t a pie crust… and this lady claims she is writing a book on pies! In any case, your crust look just perfect, and pumpkin pie sounds good!

  3. Gail — September 19, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    My heart is soaring! You’re BAKING!!!!! BAKING!!!!!!! Baking a pie. Next up…cake.
    I adore making pie crust. Tart crust…..any crust. ‘Cause it means baking.

  4. Jennie — September 20, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    All-butter crusts are my favorite too. I’ve been in a fall sort of mood ever since we came back from Cape Cod. For me that’s the official end of summer. This September 23rd business is a mere formality. I even brought my pressure cooker out last week. Happy baking!

  5. Eileen — September 20, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    I’ve never made an all-butter crust before – I’ll bet it tastes rich and flavorful!

  6. Macaroni Mama — September 20, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    The song! The pie crusts! Those are definite signs of fall!

  7. Maria at Fresh Eats — September 20, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    I’m going to make a pie soon, and this crust is going to be my inspiration. I’m all about the all-butter variety. Shortening scares me. : )

  8. RavieNomNoms — September 20, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Love it!

  9. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 20, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    I could have written this post! I’ve used the Pillsbury crust for years and to be honest…still would without guilt but have found that if I make a double crust version like you have…I don’t need it because I always have a homemade version in the freezer.

    I use the standard Pate Brisee crust with a bit more sugar for a sweet filling which is almost exactly like yours but with a bit less sugar; is that the southerner..needing things a bit sweeter? 🙂

    In anticipation of knowing I’ll be making my own now, I also take a pound of the butter I get from Costco (you know…4 lbs at a time!), cube it and stick it in the freezer. I guess I end up with my own little pie dough section in there after all is said and done but those things keep the convenience factor up and the buying Pillsbury no longer a factor!

  10. May Ling Wu — September 20, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    I always use store bought crust but this year I’m gonna try to make my own. Thanks for the post!

  11. Kate @ Savour Fare — September 20, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    (Trader Joe’s frozen is really good). I’ll have to try this recipe, because while I love the rollability of my sour cream pie crust recipe, it’s almost too rich for some pies. I need to improve my pie dough skills, too. Husband loves pie.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 20th, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

      We don’t have a Trader Joe’s here, but I sure wish we did. Sour cream pie crust? Oh, my. I’m going to have to try that. That sounds like some serious goodness.

  12. Megan Gordon — September 20, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Yes…today has felt like fall big time here in CA. The light’s just different…I’ve had pie crust on my mind a lot lately. When I was in Seattle for IFBC, I took a pie class from Kate McDermott and she uses lard in addition to butter. I just started and I have to say, it’s kind of awesome (but strangely hard to find here!). But a classic butter pie crust? What’s better. Yours looks beautiful.

  13. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — September 21, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    This is absolutely magical MJ. I am afraid of pastry and when I was at culinary school, it was the class where I had to keep leaving to room to calm down because I felt I was taking out all my frustration in my pastry! I have bookmarked this though and will try it soon with a fall pie!!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

      Okay, Mardi. You, the macaron master, can absolutely handle a pie crust. If I can do it, I KNOW you can.

  14. Heather @ The Single Dish — September 21, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    Homemade pie crust is the best! I use Ina’s recipe- has Crisco and butter in it. Delicious! I might switch things up and try your all-butter dough. Thanks!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

      Heather – I’ve used Ina’s recipe, too, and I like hers. The Crisco is just a little freaky to me. Something about the consistency. I’m weird, though. I admit it. 🙂

  15. Kirsten — September 21, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this crust yesterday in a mascarpone apple pie, and it was wonderful! And so easy!! I had never made my own crust before- I, too, was a long-time purchaser of the Pillsbury. I usually abhor pie crust, but I found this to be quite palatable.
    Thanks for curing me 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

      Yay, Kirsten! You just made my day. 🙂

  16. Judy — September 22, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    It’s amazing how much people are moving away from brands and store-bought convenience like Pillsbury. I recently just moved away from storebought breadcrumbs, amongst many, many other things. It’s great that once in a while your repertoire includes pie crust, home made! It’s also great that you guys have seasons. Looking forward to fall chowder and winter soups isn’t as dreary as it might sound. I would love it if it snowed on the tropical island where I am!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 22nd, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

      Judy – We sort of create our seasons here in north Florida. We have a very long summer and then a brief winter. Our fall and spring last for about 5 days each. 🙂

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  18. Chris — September 25, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    I am TOTALLY with you on the fear of shortening. I refuse to have it in my kitchen–there is something so processed and un-natural about it!– so all-butter pie crusts are all you’ll find in my kitchen. I am a diehard fan of Jamie Oliver’s all-butter crust recipes (I have a couple of them) but am intrigued by your addition of kosher salt. This is a must-try for my next pie. Thanks!

  19. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 26, 2010 @ 12:31 am

    So glad to finally see a pie crust made with all butter (and none of that Crisco business). I know some people swear by it, but I’ve always made pie crusts with butter and they’re incredibly flaky. The trick is to have the butter and water super cold and not over process!

    Thank you!! Love your blog.

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