Tag Archives: apple

Pies, Pies, Pies

24 Nov

The Ginger Spices with their finished pies

One of the things I love most about coming home is that my friends at home bake just as much as I do. Instead of getting together to watch movies or whatever it is most teenagers do, in High School we would usually make cookies or a cake or something whenever we were hanging out. So of course, when I found out

Megan brought her own ingredients. And zester.

that my friend Megan was going to be home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well, I proposed a pie bake-off. This basically meant that Roxie, Megan, and I all gathered in our kitchen to simultaneously make pies, which predictably turned out rather crazy. We ran out of sugar, and I think we’ll need to pick up some more butter before the real Thanksgiving cooking begins. There was pie crust being rolled out on every surface and manic pleas for another clean mixing bowl, but somehow we got three pies in the oven safely and they all look delicious. Unfortunately, we can’t actually judge the bake-off until after tomorrow—but seeing as both families are only having four or five people at their dinner, and three pies each, I’m sure we’ll have some leftovers to trade.

Gina: "Wait, I have to look serious while I'm peeling"

Roxie was planning on trying to make a pecan pie this year, but our mother bought a pecan chocolate pie the other day so, alas, she will have to conquer that next year.  Instead she made a Nantucket cranberry pie, which is not so much of a traditional pie as it is lots of sugar piled over cranberries with cake batter on top.  Whatever it is, she already ate too much of the batter because it tasted so good and now reports that she feels slightly sick.

Roxie putting the finishing touches on her pie.

I am making an apple cream pie with a pecan crumble topping and many decadent things like heavy cream as well as sugar, eggs, etc, and Megan is making a lemon meringue pie.  I made the all-butter crust Roxie posted here previously for both of these pies, although after making it I started worrying about the fact that Megan’s Aunt Heather is a baker and will be very judgmental about my crust. I also made it in a food processor instead of by hand, but it looked like it came out pretty well. We par-baked Megan’s pie crust while she was furiously making the lemon curd, which was scary but seemed to work.  We covered it with foil and put beans in the crust for the first 20 minutes, and then took off the foil and let it brown for another 10 minutes.  Although it puffed up a bit, I am confident by the look of the end product that everything has worked out fine.

Megan furiously stirs the lemon curd

Amazingly, even though the kitchen looked like a tornado of sugar and flour for a couple of hours, it is all cleaned up now in preparation for the storm of cooking our family will be doing tomorrow.  We will be posting some pictures of the madness tomorrow, as well as a possible Father Spice guest post.  Happy cooking (and eating) everyone!

Here are the recipes we used:
Megan’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Roxie’s Nantucket Cranberry Pie (She used hazelnuts instead of pecans to avoid pecan-overload)

Gina’s Apple Pie


Granny’s Apple Chutney

27 Oct

All the apples ready to go!

We’ve been making apple chutney in our family for as long as I can remember—when I was little we had an apple tree right out front, so we used the many surplus apples to make it. When we moved to New York, a fall apple-picking trip would always mean time to make chutney. It is the perfect accompaniment to a good old lunch of bread and cheese. The recipe comes from our grandmother, and once again the English measurements baffled me slightly, but hopefully the conversions are fairly accurate.

I like trying to get the whole apple peel off in one

I was at home in New York a few weekends ago, and the weather was absolutely perfect the whole time—sunny, warm, with just a little bite in the air. My parents and I drove up to Rhinebeck to enjoy the fall colors and have a mosey around, and happened to be there on the day of their farmer’s market! It was a great market… we found venison and a blackcurrant bush, neither of which you see in America very often. But we also bought a ton of apples and pears to make this chutney. We hadn’t done an apple-pear version before, but since we still had some all-apple left in the basement from last year, decided to make a variation. We ended up doing about four pounds of apples to two pounds of pears, and upped the other ingredients (except for the sugar) approximately in proportion.

This recipe really is super easy once you’ve peeled and chopped up the fruit and onions. Just throw everything in the biggest pot you have (or two pots, if you don’t have a huge one), and let it cook until you think it’s ready! You definitely want it to be thick and starting to look jelly-like, but when it’s hot it will still be pretty runny. The fruit will mainly disintegrate, but there should still be some chunks. It thickens up in the fridge somewhat, but it’s a pretty runny spread, so don’t be worried! There are plenty of instructions for jarring all over the internet, but don’t get put off by them, it is really not scary. We just run the jars through a hot dishwasher before pouring the chutney in while still hot.

Oh, and no, I did not mistype the amount of sugar. Three pounds does seem a little obscene… but granny knows best!

The finished product

Apple Chutney

Equipment: Very large pot, peeler, knife, mason jars.


4 lbs apples

3 lbs sugar

2 oz (3 ½ tablespoons) salt

¼ oz (½ tbsp) whole allspice

¼ oz (½ tbsp) cayenne pepper

1 lb (3 cups) raisins

½ oz ginger

2 large onions

1 pint (2 ½ cups) apple cider vinegar


Peel the apples and cut into quarters and then chunks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Put all ingredients in large pot. Bring to boil and then turn down heat and simmer for three to five hours, until mixture has thickened but some apple chunks remain.

Let cool slightly, but while still hot pour mixture into sterilized mason jars and seal. When you open a jar, the lid should have to be popped off. Refrigerate after opening.