Which is why, when I ran across this incredibly odd recipe, I was immediately reminded of Azeroth's mages. It was also why I immediately had to create it for myself, and test it out on my family. This apple pie passed with flying colors, and it's so easy to make, you'd swear it was magic. The ingredients list is relatively short for this particular concoction ... oh, and the apples? You can leave those out entirely, we won't be needing them. You heard me.
Let's head to the kitchen and conjure up some Dalaran "apple" pie, shall we?
Dalaran "Apple" Pie
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 2 tbs. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
- 2 tbs. butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup margarine, melted
- 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers (any plain, round butter snack Ritz-like cracker will do)
- 1 unbaked pie shell
- In a saucepan, combine two cups of water with two cups of sugar, and two tablespoons cream of tartar. What's cream of tartar? It's an ingredient commonly used to make meringue -- it keeps the water and sugar from crystallizing. Fancy!
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then add your two tablespoons of lemon juice. Reduce to low heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After your 15 minutes are up, turn off the heat and let the sugar, water, and lemon mixture cool for another 15 minutes. While you're waiting for it to cool, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Time to make your apples! What apples? Those crackers, of course -- take 36 of those crackers, snap them in halves, and put them in the pie shell. You don't have to be precise about it. Yes, I'm serious here.
- This is where you're going to begin to question reality as you know it -- after those 15 minutes are up, take that syrup from your saucepan, and fill up the pie shell. Be careful not to overfill it, because you want to leave room for the topping, and you don't want the filling to spill over in the oven. Your nose should be telling you that that syrup you just made smells exactly like cooked apples.
- Take one tablespoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it liberally over the top of that weird cracker and syrup mixture. You can use more, if you like cinnamon. If you like nutmeg, sprinkle the nutmeg on top while you're at it. Dot the top of the "pie" with your two tablespoons of butter. Trust me.
- Time for the topping! In a bowl, crush another 25 of those crackers into fine crumbs. Add your brown sugar, another half tablespoon of cinnamon, and the melted margarine. Stir until it's a coarse, crumbly mess, then sprinkle that on your pie, completely covering the filling.
- Pop the pie in the oven for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Marvel at how your kitchen smells like apple pie. When it's done, pull it out and set it on a rack to cool before serving.
What you pull out of the oven is going to surprise you, because it looks, smells, and tastes exactly like apple pie. Serve it to your friends, don't tell them what's in it. My father thought this was a really good apple pie, my brother felt it was more like an apple crumble as far as texture was concerned, but went back for seconds. They were both absolutely shocked when I told them it didn't have any apples in it at all. They could have sworn it was just another apple pie. It's the combination of ingredients -- they trick your brain into thinking what you are eating is in fact, apple pie, regardless of what's actually inside the thing.
So why on earth would anyone want to make an apple pie without any apples? This is actually a very, very old recipe whose roots can be traced back to the days of pioneers, if not further than that. During that time period, apples were in short supply -- and some crafty wizard discovered that this particular combination of ingredients came out looking and tasting like the real thing. During the Depression, the recipe experienced another surge of popularity due to the fact that most families simply couldn't afford the apples for the real thing -- but crackers were cheap and affordable.
This is one of the easiest recipes I have ever made, perfect for kids that want to try their hand at cooking, but might not be up to the more complicated construction of real apple pie. The origins of the pie are just unusual enough that the accompanying history lesson should be pretty interesting to kids, too. But heads up -- due to the fact that this recipe is essentially sugar and carbs, I really wouldn't recommend making it often. It's a cool talking point for a potluck, a neat lesson in history and chemicals for your kids, but not something you want to eat a ton of.
In short, it's just like mage food, best eaten in small amounts, not a regular part of your diet. Smells like the real thing, looks like the real thing, might even taste like the real thing -- but it's all an illusion, mostly created by your mind ... and maybe just a little bit of magic.
Questions? Check out the included gallery for an illustrated guide to conjuring up this weird and tasty treat!
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