Downstairs, the commercial kitchen in the belly of the Common Ground Café in Hyannis is like any other I've visited. Racked with stainless steel and industrial spices, it is clean, orderly, and not the least bit homey. There is no wood, no stoneware. This is a place of plastic and metal, hygiene and production.
The sudden cry of a baby changes all this. Suddenly, I realize there is a mother and a crib, a woman baking pie alongside a nursing infant. There is a grandmother, too, and a father and a cousin, and they are chatting and laughing as though it's Saturday supper.
A teenage girl scrapes deftly with a spatula. "Mix it well," her mother advises, pointing to the scrawled text of her carrot cake recipe. "It bakes at 350." Who knows how many generations are at work here—two, three, maybe four in a day?
The café workers are all members of the Twelve Tribes. The religious group lives, works, and eats together, bound by common possessions and a shared faith. Scattered over tables and pinned up on the bulletin board upstairs are religious pamphlets espousing their way, but the waitress is just as happy to serve you a reuben.
Eating fresh, local, organic foods fits into their philosophy well. "We try to eat what's healthy, to live for our God," grandmother Hannah Sage tells me. If He lives in a fresh baked apple pie, well then, I say, I'm ready to dig in.
She smiles and I wait as she digs through the pages of a tattered book in search of her recipe for apple pie. Finally, it appears, edges crinkled and batter-stained, and she hands it to me to copy down.
HANNAH SAGE'S APPLE PIE
Makes one lattice topped pie
Mix 4 and 1/2 cups pastry flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoons baking powder. Cut in 1/2 pound butter and 1/8 cup oil gently. Add water as needed. Divide in two and roll out bottom crust.
Thinly slice 8 cups apples, leaving peels on. Mix with: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 cup pastry flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup honey and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and add to the first mixture. Pour into crust. Dot top with 2 tablespoons butter. Roll remaining crust and cut into strips; weave lattice over top and press edges down securely with a fork, removing excess dough.
Bake on convection at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cover with foil and then turn the oven down to 325. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, taking foil off at very end for about 4 minutes.