A black and white sign reading Taste of Country

Taste of Country might as well be called taste of family. Tari Handfelder-Harper and her daughter, Ali O’Brian, teamed up to create this charming restaurant that they named, not for the food, but for the setting at one edge of their family’s farm (located off I-255 at 4200 Hanfelder Road in Granite City, Illinois).

Portraits of Mother and daughter team Ali O'Brian and Tari Hanfelder-Harper

Ali O’Brian and Tari Handfelder-Harper

Roots of the building stretch to Grandpa Hanfelder, who set up a farmers market to sell horseradish and other crops that he grew on the farm. Tari and Ali took over the market in 2017 and expanded it into their restaurant, opening in 2018.

Front of the Taste of Country Restaurant

Patio of Taste of Country in Summer

Today, Taste of Country serves breakfast and lunch on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lunching at A Taste of Country

Menu items include soups, sandwiches, and salads, but it’s dessert that takes the cake.

The dessert case at Taste of Country

So popular and outrageously delicious are the gooey butter cake, bread pudding, and other sweets that customers, wanting to take out whole versions rather than packaged pieces, must order well in advance.

On weekends the facility rents out as event space for private showers, parties, and other celebrations. Although customers can set up their own event, they can cut to the chase and hire Ali and Tari to custom design décor, handle the catering, and other amenities for one-stop shopping party pizzazz.

A collage showing three event set-ups at Taste of Country

Taste of Country is family run and supported. When asked for a recipe, Ali gave us her favorite. “Apple crumb pie,” she said, “is the most requested dessert for our family gatherings. Mom  taught me to make the pie when I was a young and we’re teaching my daughters to make it too. This pie is more than just a dessert to us; it’s a symbol of family, togetherness, and love.”


Yield: 1 nine-inch pie.

Crust ingredients (enough for two crusts; see NOTE)

2 cups flour plus additional flour for rolling doughAn Apple Crumb pie with casual folded

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons shortening (Ali uses Crisco)

6 tablespoons cold water

Filling ingredients

8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (Ali suggests Granny Smith or Jonathan apples)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour (less if you want a juicier pie)

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Dash of salt

Crumb ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

Sprinkling of cinnamon

8 tablespoons butter

Make crust: Mix flour and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. Distribute shortening over top of flour mixture, putting each tablespoon in a different place. With a pastry blender or fingertips, quickly and lightly work shortening into flour until particles are in coarse crumbs. Sprinkle water over crumbs, putting each tablespoon in a different place. Stir lightly with a fork to form a dough. Knead dough once or twice until it is smooth.

Flour a flat surface and roll out dough (or divide dough in half and roll out one half, reserving other half for another use. See NOTE.) Place rolled dough in a 9-inch glass pie plate. Cut excess dough from edges and crimp edges or fold over to make a thicker more casual edging.

Make Filling:  Put apples in a large mixing bowl. Toss apples with sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Spread apple mixture evenly over bottom of prepared shell.

Make Crumb Topping: Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer. Top with butter. Cut the butter into the sugar mixture with fingers—or Kitchen Aid, until coarse crumbs form. Spread the crumbs over top of apples in crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Wrap edges of pie in foil, set pie in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking until apples are tender and crust is golden brown, 20 minutes or longer. (To avoid over browning top of pie, loosely lay foil on top of pie as long as needed until apples are tender.)  Serve pie while it is warm. ENJOY!

NOTE: The crust ingredients make enough dough for two crusts. Filling and topping is enough for one crumb pie. If desired, use half of the dough for this pie, reserving other half for another use. Or instead of crumbs, top the apple filling with the second dough crust (crimp edges and cut slits in top) for a two-crust pie.

For more Taste of Country information click HERE.

OTHER APPLE PIES from Sweet Leisure

Click HERE for a lattice top, caramel apple pie.


Close up of top of Princess Leia Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

And HERE for a cinnamon roll apple pie.