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Apple pie: alternatives to "pie spice"


powerdog
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Not sure how cinnamon, cloves,etc. became the default flavorings for apple pie, but I'm not crazy about them. They seem especially dominant in cheap supermarket pies. But plain apples and sugar can be bland. What non-pie-spice flavorings do you use with apple pie?

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In our house, it's just plain apple and sugar and I am more than welcome to add cinnamon to my own pieces as cut if desired.  Mostly I don't bother and we eat apple pie with 5-year old cheddar.  The cheddar provides all the 'spice' needed.   But then we are Canadians.... :rolleyes:

 

I would tend to try cardamom. 

Darienne

 

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I use a combination of ground caraway, allspice and black pepper - especially long pepper  or one of the other "fruity" flavored peppers.

I have also used a small amount of Szechuan or Sichuan pepper and sumac along with allspice.

I've also added a bit of lemon balm or anise hyssop syrup and cooked the apples prior to assembling the pie.  

 

For a savory pie with apples, sausage, sweet potatoes and onions, (or shallots) I use a combination of sage, rosemary, thyme and pepper - with minimal salt as the sausage is usually already salted quite enough.

 

 

P.S.   My grandmother often prepared an apple tart with lavender flowers - fresh or dried, but I haven't thought of this for decades and am not sure if the recipe is in the box of cards I inherited. 

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Cardamom and apples  are as common here as  cinnamon and apples.   I do have a lovely apple pie made with pie crust, grated apples and grated marzipan, lovely and easy to make.   My former mother in law made an apple pie with  sponge cake and chocolate chip topping and I make a mean  toffee apple pie  every  autumn.

Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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Mostly I don't bother and we eat apple pie with 5-year old cheddar.  The cheddar provides all the 'spice' needed.   But then we are Canadians.... :rolleyes:


I love cheddar (or sometimes stilton) with apple pie... but when I eat it that way, most of my fellow Canadians from the area where I live look at me like I have a horn growing out of my forehead. :biggrin:

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I love cheddar (or sometimes stilton) with apple pie... but when I eat it that way, most of my fellow Canadians from the area where I live look at me like I have a horn growing out of my forehead. :biggrin:

It don't know where you live, Tri2Cook, but I am in Ottawa and I also eat my apple pie with old cheddar cheese. And I too get weird looks.

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Bourbon and triple sec, a la Bo Friberg's Caramelized Apple Pie (I'm actually making this pie right now).

Chris,

I can walk away from apple pie almost anytime. If the cheddar is fine enough I might have a tiny sliver of pie with my cheese but bourbon and triple sec.....i dunno. You might have me hooked.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Boiled cider makes a great apple pie.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

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I like apple pie, apple cobbler and other cooked apple dishes with cream cheese.  I have a mozzarella cutter which "slices the cream cheese better than using a knife.  Especially good if the pie is still a bit warm.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've been seeing a lot of people putting bitters in their apple pies these days.

 

On the subject of cheddar cheese with apple pie - my dad always said "apple pie without cheese - is like a hug without a squeeze".

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I am a traditionalist, and like only cinnamon, or cinnamon with a little cardamom, in my apple pie. Can't abide clove, can tolerate nutmeg. Since there is talk beyond spice to what goes in or on, I like sour-cream apple pies, apply and raspberry pies, apple walnut pies (this is divine, but nuts must be freshly shelled), and apple-crumb pies. Here is a picture of my apple pie with cheddar--in this case, melted, not just alongside.

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Personally I think the pie crust is more critical than the spices, and I prefer a very buttery crust made with almond meal.

Many people have mentioned caramel, but you can also caramelise apples and use that - works well.  Cook loads of apples with butter and brown sugar and eventually you get apple caramel - brilliant.  Nuts and glace ginger would be worth trying too.

A more subtle approach is to leave the apples un-spiced, and flavour the custard or cream you serve it with.  A splash of rosewater in custard or cream is different enough to be noticed but so mild it probably won't offend anyone.

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