When you are making an apple pie, you may encounter a recipe direction to add apple pie spice rather than separate spices. Premixed apple pie spice blends are available from several companies. The popular one from McCormick is a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. As this is the one you will usually find in the grocery store, it is a safe bet that these are the three spices that your recipe wants you to include.
You may have these spices available to you. To avoid a trip to the supermarket and the expense of buying an apple pie spice blend, you can easily make your own. See how to mix it yourself and store it for future recipes.
You will need ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. The ratio to use can vary but one suggestion is 4-to-2-to-1. To make over 2 tablespoons and use simple measures, you will need these amounts:
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
Alternatively, you can cut back the amount of nutmeg and make a 4-to-1-to-1 blend. It will be up to your own palate as to which you prefer.
Some cooks will add a small amount of ground ginger to the blend, but that is not listed on the McCormick apple pie spice blend. It might already be listed as a separate ingredient in your recipe. If you don't have allspice available, you may use cloves instead, although you may want to reduce the amount in the ratio even further as cloves can be quite strong.
Mix all of the spices together. This will give you enough to make several pies. Store the amount you don't use immediately in an airtight container. A small spice jar or tiny plastic container will work. Store it with your other spices, preferably in a cool, dark cupboard. Freezing spices can also help maintain their potency.
Alternative Substitutions for Apple Pie Spice
If your recipe lists apple pie spice rather than separate spices, you may want to check other recipes for apple pie. It is easy to find recipes that list separate spices rather than a blend. You won't have to do the math or end up with extra apple pie spice that you need to store.
Checking other recipes may not be your preferred alternative if you are using a recipe that you found to be delightful or one passed down to you from your parents or grandparents. In such a case, you may want to make the blend or take a trip to the store and buy apple pie spice. Spices can be a bit tricky and you may not want to chance getting the proportions out of whack if you're seeking to recreate a particular memory of the perfect apple pie.
Remember that spices lose their potency when the container is opened and during storage. You may not get that remembered flavor because you are using stale spices or your grandmother was using stale spices. Experiment and see what works best.