Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review: Penzeys Apple Pie Spice

I do not typically buy spice blends for baking. I think I've been turned off by the supermarket brands that are bland and flat and offer me too little control over the ratios of the ingredients. Instead, I buy single-ingredient jars, mainly from Penzeys. I don't work for them or anything, I'm just a happy long-time customer. They do make several savory blends that we use a lot of in our house--various chili powders, their taco seasoning (far better than the packets), curries.

About a month ago, I placed one of my yearly(ish) massive orders to replenish things I'd been running low on. My box arrived with a bonus: Apple Pie Spice.  I scratched my head. I prefer to mix my own apple pie spices because I can use a blend of different cinnamons (cassia, korintje, a tad of ceylon), plus nutmeg, cloves, and a bit of mace.  I checked the ingredients: China cinnamon, Korintje cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves. I checked the color: a deep rich brown (not the cardboard-pale of the supermarket brand).

Is this where I sing, "I spiced a pie and I liked it"?

The apple pie was delicious.

  • Pastry for double-crust pie
  • About 2 pounds (about 8 medium) granny smith apples, peeled cored and sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 teaspoon Penzeys lemon peel powder (or about 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest)
  • 1 teaspoon Penzeys apple pie spice

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place an empty cooking sheet into the oven to preheat.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9" pie plate with the bottom crust.
  3. Stir apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon peel, and apple pie spice. Arrange in the pie crust.
  4. Top with the second crust and cut vent holes (I used a mini cookie cutter to cut candy-cane shaped ones before placing over the apples). Crimp the edges.
  5. Bake on the cookie sheet at 425 about 25 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 and bake about 30 minutes later.

Note that doing the two-temperature approach kept me from needing to protect the crust with foil but still kept it flaky and crisp.

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