C’mon…you know the jingle; baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet…
Between steroids, processed food, and and car companies this all-American tune may have a new connotation but the apple pie stands its ground. Apple pie is so quintessentially American we celebrate this dessert on two days: May 13 and Dec. 6th.
The rumor mill credits tarte tintin as the original apple pie. Perhaps. But it’s the Americans who created that savory, flaky crust, put it in county fairs, served it up on the 4th of July and made it a mandatory part of every summer picnic and Thanksgiving dessert spread alongside the pumpkin pie.
Apple pie is pretty straight-forward. There are variations on the type and amount of sugar, addition of raisins, type of crust, apple variety, how to slice the apples, etc. But an apple pie’s true personality is expressed in the spices.
Want to move beyond the standard cinnamon? Don’t omit it, just enhance it. Here’s an apple pie spice blend that takes just a few moments to put together and will blow away any pre-packaged blend that’s been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months on end.
Homemade Apple Pie Spice Blend
1/4 cup ground cinnamon; 1 tablespoon ground allspice (make sure it’s true allspice and not a blend); 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg; 2 teaspoons ground ginger; 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional) (adapted from bakingbites.com). Creative flavor (and high impact deliciousness): consider adding fresh ground coriander.
Roast the cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and cardamom before grinding if you want a more robust flavor. I prefer this method for autumn dishes. Roast the spices whole before grinding them. Put your spices in a dry cast iron skillet. Stir them slowly and consistently with a wood spoon or spatula over medium heat until fragrant.
Pssst. Sometimes I cheat and put ground spices in my toaster oven tray and toast them for a couple of minutes. Not as thorough but it releases some of the flavor.
Tip: if you’re using fresh ground ease-up on the amounts. And here’s the standard Spice Sherpa disclaimer: spices are a way for you to customize your cooking. Adjust to your personal taste.
What’s your favorite way to eat apple pie? Any secret ingredients you want to share with the internet world?
May 15, 2010 at 2:02 am
homemade apple spice blend how great…I don’t make alot of apple pie–fear of pastry I think..Ha ha..but this would be great to give as christmas gifts, my family would adore this…great tip in using the toaster oven
May 15, 2010 at 10:16 am
It would make a great gift! Now I have to reveal an embarrassing secret. I STINK at making pie crusts. You know who handles that job in our house? Mr. Spice Sherpa! His are amazing. I happily eat the crust before it even has the filling in it! I even steal bits of the dough. Do you feel better now?
May 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm
how funny..I thought i was the only one…i’m going to make your beautiful sugar flowers this week I’m excited..will let ya know when I post
May 21, 2010 at 5:49 am
ROFL This must be the disclosure room – cos I can’t make a decent apple pie if my life depended on it!!! There said and done. The filling I have no problem with, but I can’t seem to put it all together and make a pie that doesn’t weep everywhere or fall apart when you cut it, though it tastes pretty good….
Anyway, I do like the sound of this spice mix and I guess I could always add to a streusel or crumble topping.
Favourite way to eat it is with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce (butterscotch sauce?)
December 28, 2010 at 7:58 pm
my mom always added some flour to the mixture to go in the apple pie with the sugar and sutch you may be adding to much liquid or butter to your pie and she waited till the pie was half way done before adding the crump topping
December 29, 2010 at 12:51 pm
That’s great advice! I will run it by my husband as I still happily let him handle all pie pastries. LOL! Hey, I can recognize a good situation.
December 29, 2010 at 12:54 pm
They are fun aren’t they? We made gingerbread houses this year too…although they look a bit more like gingerbread shanties. 🙂