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Apple Pie Day
“Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.”
- Jane Austen (1775-1817)
'Tis the season ... for mulled cider and apple pie! If these holiday treats could magically transform into their colourful essence, they might appear in this vibrant tartan form! The holiday spices and scents of tart apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cardamom, and cloves elicit the spirit and sensation of Christmas cooking. If you're a Christmas caroler, a spicy cup of mulled cider (with the requisite cinnamon stick) might inspire you to reach for those high notes! And apple pie devotees cherish their family recipes with just the right blend of spices. Whether or not to top an apple pie with cheese, however, is one of the most contentious of modern food controversies for a vintage tradition! Fans of apple pie with cheese still exist everywhere, but most are most concentrated in the American Midwest, New England, and parts of Canada and Britain. In Yorkshire, apple pie was traditionally served with Wensleydale, while early New England settlers who carried on this tradition made do with colonial Cheddar. Today, apple pie recipes that follow this tradition call for Wensleydale, Cheddar, and the more robust flavours of Gouda, Gruyere, Roquefort and Parmesan! Hmmm ... would you or wouldn't you? 😀 🍎 🥧 🧀
“Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.”
~ Robert Green (1589)
December 3rd marks Apple Pie Day for the latter half of the year as this dessert so popular that it has multiple days in which it is celebrated, not to mention the apple pie equivalent of a beverage, mulled cider.
The first references to apple pies occurs in 1381. 14th century pies were very different from modern pies, as they did not contain sugar and the pastry (coffins) were generally not meant to be eaten, but used as a container for the filling only. Although sugar was available during this period, it was very scarce and extremely expensive.
According to historians, one of the first records of the modern apple pie comes from a cookbook compiled around 1390 by one of the master cooks of King Richard II - "Tak gode Applys and gode Spryeis and Figys and reyfons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed co-lourd wyth Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and do yt forth to bake well."
Apple pie was brought to the American colonies by the British, Dutch, and Swedes during the 17th and 18th centuries. Even though there were no native apples except crabapples, which yielded very small and sour fruit, the apple pie developed a following, enhanced by subsequent plantings of European varieties selected for their cooking qualities.
For a modern take on an old classic, click the spices for a recipe for Homemade Apple Pie with Chai Spices from Sally's Baking Addiction which includes: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, black pepper, sugar, and vanilla.