Yesterday I had the mission of tasting 22 different apple pies at the Trout Lake Farmers' Market. Yup, 22. The day was a wet one here in East Vancouver and although we had some kind of cover, really the rain just rain off the edges of the tent and down the back of my neck. I was soaked through to my most intimate layers within about ten minutes.
But about the pie(s). The pies are important. As you might imagine, there were some tasties, and some beauties, and some tasty beauties. They were made with BC-grown apples, and I loved the fact that some of the pie-makers told us what varieties went into the filling. The winning pie (name Yin Yang) was made with ground pecans in the crust—yum. The second prize went to my personal favourite: a Persian Apple pie flavoured with two things that always go straight to my heart: cardamom and rosewater.
I'd had cardamom in apple pie once before and the flavour has been haunting. That was a pie I ate in an extremely no-frills cafe attached to the "supermarket" (more of a grocery store really), in Tahsis, a tiny remote village on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. You might never have heard of Tahsis; most people haven't. Getting there requires a long, patient drive down a sometimes-terrifying logging road. But this cardamom-apple pie waits at the end of the road and provides an excellent incentive. That was the first truly memorable apple pie I'd ever eaten. It was fresh-made by the proprietress, and Indo-Canadian genius. Ever since tasting it I've had this deep conviction that an apple pie just ought to have cardamom in it. As natural a pairing as oatmeal with cinnamon.
So you can imagine how happy I was to taste that Persian Apple pie yesterday. Soaked to the skin, shivering a little, and crashing just a little on the post-sugar buzz. But awfully happy to have apple pie with cardamom making my tastebuds smile. If you're inspired to make pie, the winning recipes are here.