Posts Tagged ‘Tammy Hicks’

Blue-Ribbon Apple Pie

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Tammy Hicks of Charlemont, Massachusetts, won first prize for this pie years ago at the Cummington Fair. I’m sure Tammy’s version of the pie looked a lot more polished than mine; as you can see from the photo above, my pastry was a little spotty.

My pie tasted good, however, and I’ll trade a spotty but delicious crust for one out of a box any day!

I found the recipe in a lovely family recipe book Tammy’s mother, Pat Lowell, helped put together, Mangia. The book pays tribute to Pat’s grandparents, who came to this country a century ago from an area of Switzerland where Italian was spoken. (It is now part of Italy.)

Mangia nicely blends family history and recipes. Pat and Tammy told me that they cherish the book particularly in this pandemic year, when they can’t have their usual large family reunion. The book connects them to the people they love.

Tammy says she likes to use Paula Red apples for this recipe. I used my favorite assortment of apples, those from various trees in my neighborhood.

Tammy’s Pie


for the pastry:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
5 to 7 tablespoons cold water in ice cubes

for the filling:

6 to 8 cups peeled, sliced apples
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pie spice
1 dash cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
2 teaspoons butter
milk or cream as needed


Begin by making the pastry. Sift together the flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry knife or blender, 1/3 cup at a time, if you do not have it you can buy it at Add water, a tablespoon at a time, and mix until the dough begins to stick together.

Turn onto a floured board and form into a ball. Cut the dough in half, wrap the halves in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

While the dough refrigerates, prepare the apples. Take half of the dough and roll out your bottom crust. (Leave the other half refrigerated until you are ready to use it.) Fit the crust into a 9-inch pie plate and fill it with the apples. Mix the sugar and flour with the spices, and pour them over the apples. Top with the butter.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the top crust, and adjust it over the apples. Crimp the edges, using a little water to seal the crust. Cut steam vents in the top crust and brush a little milk or cream on top.

Cover the crust with foil, and bake for about 50 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the crust lightly—or even a bit longer. Serves 6 to 8.


Tammy’s Tangy Kielbasa

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Tammy Hicks postmarks an envelope.

Tammy Hicks postmarks an envelope.

I fully intended to post a poppy-seed cake for Memorial Day in honor of my favorite Memorial Day poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place…….


Somehow, I never got around to making the thing. Next year, I promise I will!

Luckily, I found an easy and tasty substitute on Friday while at the Post Office in Charlemont, Massachusetts.  Postmaster Tammy Hicks and I started comparing notes on our weekend cooking tasks. Tammy said she was going to throw some sweet-and-sour kielbasa into her crock pot slow cooker a couple of hours before she needed to serve it at a Memorial Day picnic.


When I asked for her recipe it sounded so good (and so much NOT like work) that I ran to the store and bought the ingredients.


There are only three of them (ingredients, that is).  No kidding.


You may certainly dress this dish up by buying really good kielbasa (we have a terrific local smokehouse, Pekarski’s in South Deerfield). And you may use homemade jelly and homemade barbecue sauce.

I just bought what was available at Avery’s General Store and went home and cooked. It was yummy.


Tammy usually makes a LOT of this, tossing between two and five pounds of kielbasa into her slow cooker. For one to two pounds she uses the amounts of jelly and barbecue sauce I indicate here.  For more she doubles them.


She suggested cooking the dish in the slow cooker for two hours on high or for four hours on low.


I am only serving four people at my Memorial Day picnic–and my slow cooker is in another state–so I as you can see from my recipe I cooked one pound of meat on low heat on the stove top.



The Very Easy Recipe




1 pound kielbasa, cut into bite-sized pieces (turkey kielbasa will do—ANY kielbasa will do)

1/2 of a 12-ounce jar of grape jelly

1/2 of an 18-ounce jar of good quality barbecue sauce




Stir the ingredients together in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover, and cook for 2 hours over low heat. Stir once or twice if you’re worried.


Serve on Memorial Day with cornbread, devilled eggs, and coleslaw.

Serves 2 teenage boys or 4 normal people.


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