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Cornelius Cooks

Betty Moon’s Brandied Apple Pie is as good as it looks


For Betty Moon, and husband, Dave Moon, Cornelius is the place to be. They built their lake house on Baltic Drive in 2010, having lived in the Ballantyne Country Club neighborhood in South Charlotte for four years.

The couple, who met when they were teenagers, raised daughters Adrienne and Allison in Hudson, Ohio, a small town between Cleveland and Akron. Dave is an HR consultant.

Betty was born in Cleveland, and lived over her family’s tavern.

“Back then those really were the only neighborhood family restaurants around. My father ran the tavern and my mom  cooked,” she says. Fish frys on Friday night are what she remembers most. She talked to the steelworkers when they would stop in for a beer after work, hungry and exhausted.

Betty’s father passed away when she was 11. Her grandmother moved in so her mother could go back to work.

Betty has been in the financial services industry for 30 years, working in a wide variety of roles, from branch financial adviser to managing a trust and private banking organization, to building and leading a nationally recognized bank brokerage firm.

Bank of America recruited her in 2006 when she was completing a doctorate in business at Case Western Reserve University.

Today she works for SAP, a global technology company, helping financial services industry executives embrace new technologies and improve their customers’ experience.

To this day, she believes cooking and baking together can be to bring people together. “David and I cook together a lot!” Indeed, they’ve been married 39 years.

Betty shared her recipe for Brandied Apple Pie with Cornelius Today’s readers. “This recipe makes a really big pie, so its great for get-togethers with family and friends. The entire house smells so welcoming while it’s baking, with the amazing fragrance of apples and cinnamon,” she says.

Brandied Apple Pie – By Betty Moon


  • 5 pounds of your favorite crisp apples like Gala or Granny Smith, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into thick 1/2-inch slices.
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Calvados (apple brandy) or other brandy
  • 3/4 c heavy cream


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

The trick is that you cook the filling before baking the pie by sautéing the apples in a couple of batches.

Mix together the sugars and spices:  cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

For each batch:  Melt 1/2 the butter in a very large skillet.  Split open a vanilla bean, scrape the inside onto the butter, and add the bean to the pan. Add 1/2 the sugar mixture on top of the apples and sauté over medium heat about 15-20 minutes stirring frequently until the apples soften and caramelize.  Pour in about half the brandy and cook a few minutes so the alcohol burns off. Add 1/2 the cream and cook a minute or two longer.  Spread the apple mixture on a large baking tray to cool while you sauté the second batch.  The filling can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to bake it.

When ready to bake, just use your favorite pie crust recipe, or save time with a pie dough from the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  Fill the unbaked pastry bottom with the apples, mounding them in the middle.   Place another pastry on top, cutting a few slits to let out the steam.  Be sure to remove the vanilla beans out of the filling just before baking. Decorate the top by brushing on a little extra cream and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower heat to 350 and bake until crust is a golden brown, about 30-40 minutes more.

Top with French Vanilla Ice Cream and whipped cream!