Thursday, December 16, 2021

Cherry Pie & Chai

Everybody thinks they know cherry pie, but I've never seen anyone buy one or eat one. Everyone goes apple, or berry crumb, or, like, lavender bacon salty caramel. Cherry pie's the red-headed step-daughter, and  I'm having a midlife crisis after belatedly discovering its supremacy. I should have been eating it all along, but am catching up for lost time.

Best cherry pie in NY Tristate is from Salinger's Orchard, up near Brewster. The slice in the photo comes from them.

Here's my intensely polished protocol for pie reheating (this stuff matters, people; for proper inspiration, review my Toasted Bagel Tutorial and Manifesto):
  • Preheat toaster oven to 400.
  • Fold aluminum foil and place on baking tray.
  • Plop pie atop foil. If you're doing two slices, separate them widely.
  • Check after 5 minutes. Crust should have browned an additional shade or two, but, if it's near burning, pull it out STAT. If filling isn't warmed through, next time make it 6 minutes.
  • Serve pie plus foil on a plate, per photo (you'll gum up the crust if you try to spatulize it directly onto your plate; the less you fool around with reheated foods, the better).
I have determined that the best thing to drink with pie is masala chai. I'm very much a milk-with-pie guy, but this is better. Containing milk, it offers all the milkiness of milk. But the spicing offsets the pie beautifully. The masala chai to get is from Blue Lotus, either their Traditional Masala Chai or else their Golden Masala Chai with turmeric and maca, whatever that is (if you're not into turmeric, you know what to do). Their stuff is powdered, which is alarmingly inauthentic, but it's fresh, and not sweetened like crappy mixes, and it's great and instant. Here's how I prepare it:
  • Pour 4 oz milk (whole if you can do it without dying) + a slightly less than 4 oz cold water in a pot.
  • Turn on high.
  • Add a heaping bamboo spoon (included) of masala chai powder
  • Don't add the teaspoon of sugar I use if I'm not accompanying this with sugary pie (i.e. my morning drink).
  • Lower the heat to medium (so it doesn't sputter when you pour out the liquid).
  • Let it boil. This provides free frothing. Watch it, though, to avoid a messy boilover. Yes, you normally must never heat tea to boiling...but this is shit tea; it's all about the spicing. You won't turn it bitter, promise.
  • Pour into cup, and top off with cold milk (for perfect drinking temperature).
You have no idea how happy you're about to be with your pie and chai. Pie and chai!

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