Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Dinner Party Theme: Eat Dessert First, Apple Ginger Pie Recipe

Happy: Apple Ginger Pie by Karyn Zoldan

It was January 1st and my best friend Mary Jo from Calif. was visiting so I invited some friends to a dinner party. I love to cook and entertain friends around my modest dining room table.

I decided to serve dessert first. After all, it was January 1st, the first day of a new year. What better way to start the new year and make people smile?

I made a pie. See recipe below. I never bake but this apple ginger pie recipe knocked around in my brain so I decided to put it on the table.

The pie (see photo above) was sitting on my counter when the guests arrived. Everyone laughed when they saw it. Bonnie commented: That looks so good. I could eat that first. (Does she have ESP?)

The dinner was somewhat of a potluck as Marianne brought cheese with apples, carrots, and crackers for a bit of nosh prior to sitting down. Bonnie bought three bottles of zinfandel for six people…that’s about right. And Kate and Edie brought dessert — cookies and assorted cream-ish pies and vanilla port.

When everyone sat down, I put the pie on the table and explained my theme of eating dessert first. Applause and smiles exploded around the room. Some were disappointed that real food was going to be served and hoped the entire meal would be dessert. Hmm, I’m going to ponder that for another time.

After the pie or first course, I served roasted root vegetables, a green salad with citrus, and barbecue beef sliders — all house made, of course. The food was simple and simply marvelous and we ate and drank and drank and ate.

Then out came more dessert which Edie and Kate brought as well as DrunkenRaisins (to be reviewed later next week) plus sips of vanilla or chocolate port washed down with more wine.

This being the new year, I asked my girlfriends to answer three questions:

  1. What improvements do you want to make for yourself?
  2. What one thing is on your bucket list preferably as it relates to the greater good?
  3. What person did you have the best sex with and what made it so good?

The ensuing conversation included tears and laughter and delicious little secrets. I might have to make this January 1st dinner party an annual tradition.

Karyn’s Apple Ginger Pie

You could make your own pie crust (or omit entirely). Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

1 frozen pie crust, thawed (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
2 cans apple pie mix+ 1 Tbsp. sugar
20 ginger snaps, crushed and chopped fine in the blender (makes about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup diced dates
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. butter, cut into quarters

Place pie crust in a 9-inch pan. Cut off extra dough, set aside. Using the tines of a fork, press the dough down around the rim.
Empty the 2 cans of pie mix into a strainer and rinse well. Rinse off all the high fructose corn syrup gelatinous stuff. Drain well. Pour into a bowl and gently toss with one Tbsp. sugar, crushed ginger snaps, dates, cranberries and lime juice.
Place into pie plate and dot with butter.

Take remaining crust and make a face and hair or decorate your pie with other cookie cutter designs.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 375-degrees.  Serves 6.

I used Trader Joe’s triple ginger snaps but any will do. Serve, if desired, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

  1. I love the smiley face pie! Food should be fun, fun, fun. As for the gin, I’ve always wanted a massage with Tanqueray gin.

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