Momma's Calvinist Apple Pie

For this Thanksgiving people are clamoring for the simplest, most delicious, and theologically accurate desserts to round out their thanksgiving feasts. I thought long and hard about what dessert would perfectly fit the bill. The answer? Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie. I can remember dusting off massive thanksgiving meals with a slice of this delectable treat. It didn’t matter how stuffed I was, there was always room for Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie.

It wasn’t just the absolutely stunning taste that made me choose this dessert this year. No, there are some sentimental and practical reasons. At Thanksgiving we’re supposed to be thankful. I truly am thankful for my momma and her apple pie. I certainly didn’t do anything to deserve her Calvinist Apple Pie every year, and yet there it was. In fact, there were plenty of times we didn’t deserve it, and she gave it to us anyway. She literally shed blood, sweat, and tears making this pie, slaving away year after year. We knew she didn’t make it for us. She did it for her own enjoyment. She delighted in seeing the joy on our faces as we sat around the Thanksgiving table gobbling up the fruits of her labor.

There is also a very practical reason I chose to feature Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie: It’s simple. In fact, the recipe is so simple that you can apply it to just about any Apple Pie you would normally make. You simply need to make sure to add five simple ingredients and it will turn any apple pie into a Calvinist Apple Pie. Are you ready? Here’s the secret to Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie!

1. Start with Mushy, Rotten Apples.

What!? I know. It seems crazy. Seriously though, this truly is a huge part of the secret. You need to use the most bitter, tasteless, mushy apples you can find. Why? Calvinist Apple Pie doesn’t begin with the best apples, it begins with sour apples. It starts with an apple that really brings no flavor to the table. Most of you are thinking that if you start with rotten apples you’ll get a rotten pie. Let me tell you, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Every year I see people chopping perfectly good apples to pieces and stuffing them into their apple pies. They don’t realize that the baking process actually destroys all of the apple’s original flavoring. What this means is that using perfectly good apples does not contribute to a good apple pie. In fact, it actually hurts. Those hard chunks of apple actually stand in the way of a good pie. I know, this comes as surprise but trust me, start with rotten, mushy apples.

2. Next, Choose Any Pie Crust You’d Like

Again, this may come as a bit of a surprise but this is what makes this recipe so versatile. You can choose any pie crust you’d like. However, you should not choose based on what the pie crust can bring to the dinner table. Too often people choose their crust based on how it will perform for Uncle Steve, or Aunt Sally. It’s a fool’s errand.

What’s so great about Momma’s Calvinist Pie is that she chose the crust based on her good pleasure. She didn’t try to please the guest, she chose what delighted her. Her delight in her own work spilled over into the pie, and every mouth tasted it.

3. Be Sure to Limit Your Ingredients

One of the biggest mistakes bakers make is using too much flavoring. They look at fifteen different recipes and try to cram all the spices into one. Part of the problem is they’re trying to please everyone. You can’t use all the ingredients, so choose wisely.

Trying to come up with a recipe that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds will only lead to a Universalist Apple Pie. Trust me, that won’t satisfy any of your guests, it won’t be easy, and it certainly won’t be theologically accurate. If you want to eat heretic humble pie this Thanksgiving, use all the ingredients you can find. If you want to make Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie, limit your ingredients.

4. Don’t Forget Irresistible Plating

This is an often-overlooked aspect of the baking process but it is completely essential to getting Calvinist Apple Pie right. You have to present it in a way that is irresistible. I’m not saying you shove this pie down your guests throats. No. Rather, you place it before them in such a way that it becomes irresistible to them. I suggest cutting the pie into slices and having it at the table before the meal gets there. This may seem like a lot of extra work but it’s worthy the extra effort. So, often we just set the whole pie out before our guests and then watch in horror as guests butcher our masterpiece.

Do yourself a favor. Take the extra time to cut the pie slowly into perfect slices. Plate them for your guests and let them see all the layers before they even start eating their thanksgiving meal. You want them drooling over the pie all meal long. I suggest making it a part of the whole table setting. I also recommend putting a dollop of whipped creme on top or on the side. Whatever you do, plate the pie for your guests so they are irresistibly drawn to it the moment they walk in the door.

5. Perseverance, Perseverance, Perseverance

This isn’t really a secret ingredient, it’s just an encouragement. So often we spend all our time focusing on the other aspects of our Thanksgiving meal and dessert takes a backseat. We may forget the pie in the oven, or try to cook it early and freeze it. Don’t EVER do that! If you want to make Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie, you’re going to have to persevere to the end. Remember, apple pies don’t bake themselves. You’re the baker. This pie is full of rotten apples and desperately needs its baker to stay in the game. Your pie is counting on you to get the job done. If you fail to bring the pie to its completion, you’ll have an Arminian Apple Pie on your hands before you know it!


Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie is the simplest, most delicious, and theologically accurate apple pie I know how to make. You can settle for Pelagian Pumpkin Pie, Charles Finney Fruitcake, Catholic Chocolate Cheesecake or even Arminian Apple Pie. In the end all of them will come up short and leave your guests, well, wanting. Instead, give your guests an unforgettable treat this thanksgiving and make them Momma’s Calvinist Apple Pie!

To you and your family…HAPPY THANKSGIVING from @CalvinistRamsay!

Calvinist Ramsay
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Comments 3
  1. I love your concept. Myself there is a recipe I like. Old Prussian Union apfelkuchen that takes two recipe books Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion and the Lutheran Book of Concord. Also not so sweet, yet very fulfilling. With great chefs like Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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