I spent today making some acts-like prototypes*...of apple pies! The four other Americans in my house and I are organizing a communal Thanksgiving dinner and since none of us had ever made pie before, I opted for a practice run. 

First, a trip to Mercado de Vega for apples. I could have just picked them up at Lider (the supermarket), but trust me, this is more fun. Mercado de Vega officially fills a massive shelter a couple blocks long and leaks into several adjacent streets in the form of tents and blankets with wares spread on the sidewalk as well as several smaller markets. On a Saturday, it seems like just about everyone in northern Santiago is either buying or selling something. The core of Mercado de Vega are the huge piles of fresh produce but you can also find just about anything else-including whole pigs heads, scoops of tea leaves from 50 gallon drums and a store called the pickeleria, which as the name implies sells only pickled things.

This week there are two types of apple, known by their scientific names as big-and-green and small-and-kind-of-speckled. As neither is clearly labeled "for pie", let's try both (it's important not to narrow down your options too early in the design process!). 

On a matter as contentious as traditional desserts, there a fair degree of consensus in the basic components of apple pie and crust in the top 3 google results for recipes (clearly an authoritative source) and since we have no measuring instruments, it's hardly worth arguing over particulars. **

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Pictures: My housemate Abbie filling the loaf-pan; the speckled apples, chunky slicing and thick sauce model

Naturally, when the pies were done we held a design review. For the record, preliminary feedback indicated that:

  • chunky apple slicing > long thin apple slices
  • more cinnamon + nutmeg > less spices
  • thicker filling > more liquid in filling
  • big, green apples > small, speckled ones
  • thin pies > deep-dish
  • Remember to grease the pan

We're looking forward to future iterations and the final deliverable-Thursday! Happy thanksgiving, folks.


*They fall short of looks-like because there wasn't enough crust to do the top, and because one was baked in a soup pot and one in a loaf pan.

**The two recipe-specific choices I did make were using apple cider vinegar to moisten the filling, and using a mixture of butter and lard in the filling. The lard definitely changes the texture-it's "shorter" and more crumbly than most pie crusts I've had, but we didn't reach a definite conclusion about whether this was a good thing. Might need more research...

Posted in: Class of 2013