Homemade Apple Pepper Pie
How do you think we get new recipes?
Many of us use the recipe for another reader’s great-grandmother’s special chili sauce when she sent it to a magazine competition.
Or Grandpa’s Norwegian Christmas grog that the children should not be offered. Or we have a family classic recipe of renown simply because of a misprint in the directions.
When these became family kitchen secrets they may owe to the fact that they contain a drop of spirits that no one wants to admit. Besides, that just adds to the mystique.
Last week Dave and I joined several others for an evening of Bible study and friendship at the Shepacks’ home just a few blocks from ours. All went very much as usual. Discussion was lively, prayers were raised, jokes exchanged.
Having finished the readings, and standing to stretch briefly, some of us sat down again to check the status of each others’ children and grandchildren. The volume and sudden intensity of conversation, then laughter coming from the kitchen, drew our attention.
It was about the apple pie.
Nancy retired a year or two ago from a long career teaching Fayette County’s science students, and she loves to laugh and learn. So it took her no time at all to figure out what happened: She had cooked her apples in the same skillet Jim had used to blanche down his peppiest peppers.
In a letter she posted to Southern Living magazine, where the recipe originated, she tells the story better than I could:
Subject: Habanero/Ghost Pepper Chile Easy Skillet Apple Pie
Dear [Contact for Southern Living],
My husband enjoys making hot sauce from peppers we grow in our backyard garden. This year, besides habaneros, jalapenos, and serranos, he successfully grew one of the hottest of all peppers, the ghost chile pepper.
When he makes his sauces, I vacate the premises. Coughing, sneezing, and crying are the norm as he blanches his peppers in vinegar and water.
Recently, I noticed the recipe for Easy Skillet Apple Pie in the September issue of Southern Living and thought it would make a great dessert for our Bible study group. The pie in the photo on page 101 looks delicious in a cast iron skillet. I decided to prepare the pie and it turned out perfectly.
Or so I thought.
The first people to receive their servings began making comments such as, “Wow, I have never eaten pie like this before” and “My goodness, this pie is spicy.”
I was thinking, what is spicy about a teaspoon of cinnamon, when it hit me. My husband had used the cast iron skillet to blanche his peppers!
I took a bite and the pie exploded in my mouth. I began apologizing, but my friends kept right on eating. In fact, they ate every bite.
They suggested I submit the recipe to you. It would be difficult to replicate, but you might have fun trying.
I can make one suggestion: If you make this pie, serve it with lots of ice cream!
Oh yes, thanks for a wonderful magazine. My family and extended family have subscribed for years.
Peachtree City, GA
I don’t like hot peppery flavors, but this pie was a delicious surprise, especially with vanilla ice cream. I did ask Nancy if it was a two-crust pie, or was that a crumb topping.
She said it caramelized in the baking process and apparently soaked up the burn from Jim’s peppers.
It was a double crust pie, she said, with brown sugar and melted butter going into the bottom of the skillet first. One crust went on top of the brown sugar; then came the apples, and then\the top crust.
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime pie,” Nancy said in awed tones.
And it comes from an honorable heritage of accidental beginnings.