sauternes

Apple Pie with Wine

I make killer apple pie. The recipe oddly enough, comes by way of an ex-boyfriend's mother. She loved to cook, and had me help around the kitchen on Sunday nights. I adored her apple pie so much, I paid attention to every detail as she made it. The key ingredient in her apple pie is tart granny smith apples. They offset all the sugar that goes into making the pie. Also, the apples should be cut thin, otherwise they won't cook through. And if you don't make pie crust from scratch, use Pillsbury. Additionally, she would mix in a dash of allspice, not included in most apple pie recipes, giving the pie an added dimension of flavor.  The final key to making the ultimate apple pie is to leave it 5 minutes longer than suggested, letting the crust brown perfectly. You can bet I'll be serving up several apple pie's this holiday season!

Hungarian Tokaji Aszu is to die for with my killer apple pie.  Louis the XIV once declared it to be "the wine of kings and the king of wines."  Tokaji Aszu is a dessert wine made from ultra-ripe, late-harvested, botrytis affected grapes.  Each bottle of Tokaji Aszu lists the "puttonyos" (level of sugar) rating on the bottle ranging from 3-6.  Try the five or six puttonyos wines with apple pie.  The wine has intense aroma's of dried apricot, honey, walnut, raisin, marmalade, caramel and cinnamon.  Both the pie and Tokaji are voluminous and rich.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine, the cinnamon flavors take front stage.  Tokaji Azsu is also balanced by a refreshing acidity, that plays perfectly off my tart granny smith apples.  Don't be afraid to throw a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of the pie either.  This wine will work wonders with it!  Other wines to try with apple pie are sweet German Rieslings, Sauternes, sweet Vouvray, Ice Wine, Muscat, Moscato d' Asti, and demi-sec Sparkling wine.

Pumpkin Pie

I never liked pumpkin pie. Every year at Thanksgiving my mom would barely touch her food.  My grandmother would snicker, and everyone, including me, would give her a hard time for not eating grandma’s delicious food.  Her answer would always be, “I’m saving the calories for pumpkin pie”.  She loved pumpkin pie!  I would watch as she cut a slice of pie, sprayed whipped cream on top, and then practically inhaled it.  I hated the texture and couldn’t understand why she liked it so much.  Without fail, I would catch her in the kitchen hours later, trying to stuff another slice down her throat before anyone would notice.  Today, I actually enjoy a bite or too of pumpkin pie.  Although it’s still not my favorite, what would Thanksgiving be without it?

This Thanksgiving, don't forget the dessert wine!  Pumpkin pie has a creamy texture and a hint of spice.  Madiera (Malmsey) is amazing with this dish.  It's reputation as a cheap cooking wine has done it a great injustice.  Madiera comes from the Portuguese Islands of Madiera.  Its made in a range of styles from dry (almost no sugar) to sweet.  Malmsey is the richest, sweetest style.  The wine has great natural acidity, helping to cut through the creaminess of pie, and an inherent spiciness that mirrors the flavors in the dish.  What's better, is that an opened bottled of Madiera lasts nearly forever due to it's exposure to heat & oxygen during the wine-making process.  Other wines to try with pumpkin pie are tawny Port, Sauternes, sweet Riesling, Tokaji Aszu and sweet Sherry.