Monday, December 1, 2014

Apple Cranberry Pie

And the season of eating begins, inaugurated by a perfectly bronzed turkey. Anointed by a succession of sides. Ending on sweet notes. This coma-inducing meal leads straight to the couch! The road to perfection is fraught with hurdles. The hustle and bustle that predates this expansive meal exhilarates and confounds! Lists are written, only to be scratched off and rewritten. Sloppy shopping results in exhaustive repetitive grocery store ventures. Then I gain a handle. Things fall into place.

We start early in the morning. Tom Turkey has been marinating for a few days. Corn bread for stuffing, has been baked. We vacillate between new and old recipes. This year, it's a bit of old and a lot of new. Shauna makes goat cheese and butternut squash crostini. She then makes sweet potatoes the Smitten Kitchen way. I make a corn bread and kale stuffing. We make a corn and roasted poblano pudding. Of, course there has to be buttery, creamy mashed potatoes. Gravy from scratch. And freshly made cranberry relish. Dessert indulges the chocoholics with a tart. And a wonderful apple cranberry pie made by Shauna. The table is laid. Wine is decanted. Rehan makes a crisp charred lemon cocktail. It definately puts everyone in a good mood!

Serves 6

3 pounds Apples (6 heaping cups)
1/2 cup dried Cranberries
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon 
3/4 cup light Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Arrowroot 
A pinch of Kosher Salt

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup cold Butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup cold Vegetable Shortening (Crisco), cut into small cubes
5 tablespoons Ice Water

2 tablespoons Butter
1 Egg

Start by making the crust. Add flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a processor. Pulse twice.

Drop cubed butter and vegetable shortening over flour and pulse till flour looks like peas. It should take 10-15 pulses.

Sprinkle ice water over flour and pulse till mixture comes together in a ball, about 5-8 pulses.

Dump dough onto a floured surface and gather into a ball.

If you do not have a processor, place flour in a bowl. Drop butter and shortening into flour and work the mixture with two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips till flour resembles peas. Add water and gather the dough together.

Flatter dough into a disc and wrap in Saran or a plastic bag and refridgerate for an hour.

Let dough sit for 5 minutes before you roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

Roll dough gently to fit a 9 inch pie plate by folding dough in half, then quarters and lifting it on to the pie plate. 

Trim the edges with a knife. Gather trimmed pastry leftovers into a ball.

Make indentations in the pie crust with a fork along the edges of the plate.

Heat oven to 400F.

Refridgerate pie plate while you make the filling.

Peel, core and slice apples. You should have 6 cups.

Place apples in a bowl and add all the filling ingredients and stir.

Take pie plate out of the fridge and arrange apple slices on crust.

Dot with small bits of butter.

Gather scraps of leftover pastry and roll. Using a pastry cutter or freehand, trace and cut out as many leaves as you can to cover the filling. Shauna traced out a large turkey freehand and surrounded the turkey with leaves. Feel free to use the leftover pastry in any design. You need to cover the apples, leaving some open spaces to let the steam out as the apples bake.

Beat egg lightly.

Paint crust with egg wash.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or till crust is golden brown.

Eat the pie hot, warm or at room temperature. It's good in every which way!!!

We all pay the price for our gluttony. I read a Frank Bruni article about overindulgence. After demolishing  a large part of of the bounty, I can safely add a disclaimer that a huge repast is not limited to Italians. There is one resounding complaint from the maker of this pie. Not enough leftovers!!! This, said by the person who's freezer bag contains the remains of this meal!!! To the dessert chef the spoils!!!