I think pie is one of those foods that is synonymous with certain food memories for a lot of people. Whether it’s your grandma’s famous pie, your favourite type of pie that you always pick over everything else, or just the fact that it was the dessert of choice around family holidays and get togethers, pie seems to have a place in a lot of food scenes.
Or maybe it’s because it’s that dish of fear, met with the daunting task of making the perfect pie crust. Kind of like making bread comes with the unspoken need to reach that perfect loaf: well risen, soft and fluffy on the inside, and dotted with pockets of air, while crusty and golden on the outside.
My memories of pie always come back to my mom’s apple pie. It is her specialty as far as pie flavors are concerned. And she is the most consistent pie crust maker I have ever known. Every pie she crafted baked up flaky and perfectly puffed, the fruit juices leaking out where they were supposed to, the sugar caramelizing where it was supposed to, the outside going golden where it was supposed to. And while I had her teach me her ways, I never profess to try to become equal in her pie making skills, just knowledgeable of them.
And maybe it is her skill and consistency that also inspired me to make my own take on apple pie. Quite far from the classic apple pie, but not so removed that it is not pie at all. Rather an apple pie alternative for those times when you want the satisfaction and completion of making (and eventually eating) a whole pie, but without the thoughts of thinking that you are just going to have a sugar-filled pastry sitting in your house.
Because pie is best when it is made as a whole. Not miniature, or in single serves, but that whole, round, complete dish that you get the joy of cutting into when it is still warm, and carefully, gingerly removing the first slice, trying not to have it all fall apart or have all the filling stay behind in the dish. And while it is also probably made best in a pie dish, you’ll be happy to know, that when you want pie, but have no dish available, a skillet works just as well. It yields the same satisfying, cut into it with anticipation delight, and when it’s non-stick, helps avoid any of those delicious, juice-soaked pieces from being left behind at the bottom.
You can probably see from the photos that I indeed had to make this pie in a skillet. My pie cravings and inspiration overcame me and there was no turning back, or holding off until I could get a pie dish. But I assure you that this Caramel Apple Pie is completely necessary, right now. Even if you have to make it in a skillet or a square baking dish, or a baking tray. Because honestly, the earthy vegan crust, filled with the naturally date sweetened caramel filling, amidst soft gooey apples doesn’t really leave you much room for anything but wanting it now. Or wanting a second piece. And then wanting it again tomorrow. Really, as proud as I am of the pie, I’m more proud that I made it last several days in the house. Between that, the delicious recipe and the skillet success, this pie is totally a win.
Hurry. Go get your skillet. The recipe is waiting . . .
Do you have a favourite type of pie or a particular memory surrounding pie?