Ever so often I turn my tiny mailbox key to find treasures from friends in the food world. This past fall, I found myself face-to-face with a copy of Ashley English's delectable book, A Year of Pies. While devouring the delicious words and imagining the sweet aromas, I paged through pie recipes to find the chai. The warming spices and matly black tea in chai are a baker's dream. They seem to sing when mixed into sweet apple slices and covered in a buttery crust.
Needless to say, I tagged her "Chai Spice Apple Pie" and made my way into the kitchen. At the moment, I was out of a few of the single spices in her chai ingredient list (1 tsp cardamom seeds or ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp black tea, 1/4 tsp whole cloves, 1/4 tsp black peppercorns, 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger). So, I reached into my tea cupboard and found a chai tea. I added three and a half teaspoons of the chai tea blend to my spice grinder, and pulsed until I achieved the fine powder. Although, a mortar and pestle would do just fine.
As you can see from the tiny photos above, I opted to make a few mini pies in my pale blue ramekins. I find that petite treats are perfect for a tiny pot of tea, not to mention self-imposed portion control (which can be oh so hard with Ashley's recipes). And even when a pie is not crisping in the oven, I often page through A Year Of Pies and dream of spring strawberries. Although, I'm tempted to ground myself in the wintry season with her comforting Chicken Pot Pie that might call for a smoky lapsang souchong tea twist.
But before you go, I'd like to thank Ashley and Lark Crafts for generously sharing this perfect pie book with me. I highly recommend that you add this gem to your cookbook collection.