Don’t Sigh, Eat Pie

Calvin Trillin, one of my favorite writers, credited his father with this excellent four word poem. And I agree with the sentiment, especially as it is applied to apple pie. 

apple pie
Judy’s apple pie

Apple pie has been, since childhood, my favorite desert. So much so that I have always wanted a birthday apple pie, rather than a birthday cake. (My birthday is in October, after all, so it seems appropriately seasonal.)

This year my birthday fell during a week of great busyness and distraction, so we just went out to eat with our son Danny and his girlfriend. However, this past Sunday, while I was busy widening the path on the side of the garage, Judy was making a surprise apple pie. 

And it was an excellent pie. The apples were tender but not mushy, not too sweet and with just a bit of zing. The crust was flaky and crisp – even the bottom crust, which often gets soggy from excess liquid.

How did she do it? She took a classic apple pie recipe from a very conventional source, and then put her own spin on it: 

  • She used Granny Smith apples instead of Jonathans.
  • She put in a full teaspoon of cinnamon (instead of 3/4), and added 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, and a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • Finally, she mixed in 2 tablespoons of flour to absorb excess liquid.

What desert do you always want for your birthday?

46 Comments on “Don’t Sigh, Eat Pie

  1. I think I’ll start asking for pecan pie for my birthday (No, really) Will mark in my google calendar.

    May I pry into your family life a little? Well, I will anyway: Does Danny bring home a lot of girls? Too many to mention, so accordingly you didn’t mention her name. Or, does Papa disapprove of this one and hoping she will soon be forgettable?

    And some people don’t believe jogging can be fun???

  2. Happy Birthday to you!!! AHHH I just love apple pie! My grandmother made the most amazing pies when I was a child. It was so effortless for her. How wonderful of Judy to make you this scrumptious pie! It looks divine! And I’m with you…pie is where it’s at! I will have to give you the name of an outstanding pie shop my brother took me to in Chicago…I can’t remember the name off hand (I will ask him for the name) It was amazing!

    • Yes, I sometimes like the walnuts cooked into the pie. I love it with or without the ice cream, but I want to try it with a slice of sharp cheddar.

  3. Apple pie is yummy! I always want chocolate cake on my birthday. Good for Judy, making you such a nice surprise. Happy Birthday!

  4. I have an October birthday too and always crave pumpkin cake or pumpkin pie… but this year we had carrot cake for a change! Belated birthday wishes Jason, and hope you get apple pie more than once a year!

  5. Looks delicious. Don’t want anything in particular for my birthday – food is so important all year round. 😉 Belated happy birthday wishes to you, Jason.

  6. Happy birthday wishes to you! Judy’s pie looks yummy–the ginger was a nice touch. I’m favoring old-fashioned pound cake for my birthdays lately. Susie

  7. Happy Birthday. I hope you had vanilla ice cream with that pie, which looks delicious. I am one of the few people who actually prefer pies and tarts to chocolate desserts, so they are usually my birthday “cake” of choice.

  8. Happy Birthday. I see we share the same passion for Apple Pie. I love all kinds of apple cakes, and they are a must here in autumn when the apples are at their best,
    Apple and spices are just a match made in heaven.

  9. Happy Birthday! Apple pie is certainly delish but when it comes to dessert I can’t resist anything with pumpkin.

  10. Happy Birthday to a fellow October birthday gardener! I had to laugh, since I have been known to bake my husband a birthday apple pie before. He even got candles in his. Once he got past the odd idea of a birthday pie, he really liked it. My apple pie secret is to always double the cinnamon.

  11. Happy birthday in the month of October, Jason. I love apple pie and do make it on occasion, but my husband does not really like pies in general. I could never understand it since it was something his own mother made very well.

    • How can he not like pie? Have you considered taking him to a specialist (doctor, I mean, not baker)? Just to make sure nothing is wrong.

      • I just stopped back to let you know I made apple pie yesterday and my husband took a piece. He made a point to come and tell me that he really liked it. I was shocked since he does not eat pie anywhere. The difference in the pie I made this time was I added cranberries, lemon peel and powdered cloves. It added just the right amount of ‘kick’ compared to the sweeter pies. I think he smelled it baking and thought the smell tempting. I thought it tasted really good too. I experiment often in cooking and this one was a slam dunk. I featured my maple syrup apple pie recipe on my blog a long time ago, maybe I will do this recipe sometime.

      • That sounds delicious! I am always happy to add cloves and cranberries, though I may prefer fresh lemon juice to the lemon peel. I do agree that one of the most common failings of fruit pies is being too sweet. That, and having soggy or heavy crust.

  12. My sister used to make an apple upside down cake that was delicious. She always made that for my birthday. I love apple pie too, but there’s no better way to pack on the pounds.

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