November's Can't-Miss Dish

Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and something to sip alongside it. 

On the plate: Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Where to find it: As Somerville’s undisputed doyenne of pies, Renee McLeod is happy to talk about her signature creations. They’re on offer at Petsi Pies, her heartwarming bakeshop on Beacon Street. “It’s my 16-year-old baby,” says the chef-owner, referring to the business. McLeod, whose nickname is Petsi (pronounced “peet-see”) grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and Ozark, Alabama, learning the art of pie-making from her grandmother and great aunt. “My family is full of good bakers,” she muses. “It was almost a competition. It was never cake. It was always pie, the crazier the better.”

Notes on the nosh: Her Salted Caramel Apple Pie is not crazy—just genius. Sourcing apples from Red Apple Farm in Phillipston and Smolak Farms in North Andover, McLeod and her team take tart varieties like Granny Smith and Mutsu, as well as all-purpose Cortland, and combine the thinly sliced fruit with made-in-house caramel. A generous portion of the cinnamon-kissed filling goes into a butter crust. More of the pastry is woven into a pretty lattice pattern on top. And that subtle crunch you experience? It’s a blend of coarse sugar and—surprise!—pink Himalayan salt. Like all sweet pies on offer, this flavor is available in 5-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch sizes. Get the largest for $28. “Most people make 9-inch pies,” says McLeod. “The 10-inch looks so much more magnificent.”

Sip alongside: Get caffeinated as you dig into this sweet treat. The Dirty Chai, made to order with your choice of milk (almond and soy are also available) hits the spot. Hot or iced, this beverage—fragrant with cloves and a hint of gingery warmth—gets its oomph from a MEM Tea blend and an espresso shot pulled from the glossy beans of Fazenda Coffee Roasters.

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