A Festive Apple Pie for the Holidays
A Festive Apple Pie for the Holidays
Having immersed myself in the subject of apple pie for the last few years,
developed something of a blind spot to the usual rhythms of the baking year.
I know, for instance, that for the coming days and weeks the fragrance of
and sugar-dusted stollen should be emanating from my kitchen. But I just
can't seem to
get apple pie out of my system. One imagines it would be otherwise - that
the last three months promoting my new book, Apple Pie Perfect, that I'd
have tired of the
subject. But the opposite seems to have occured: the more apple pies I make,
and the more I
talk about apple pie, the smitten I become.
So just how does an inverterate apple pie maker like myself spin apple pie
for the holiday
season? With just a few simple touches that you'll probably be able to find
in your pantry
or pick up at a local store.
The first is dried cranberries or cherries, both of which I love to bake with
holidays. I recommend either because you might have a regional bias for one
or the other.
I like the sweetened cranberries, known as Craisins. And the dried tart
cherries of the sort
I buy at my local Fresh Fields or, on occasion, order by mail straight from
The best tart cherries are grown in northernwestern Michigan and Door county Wisconsin, so try King Orchards or Wood Orchard to order cherries right from the orchard.
Borrowing a page from the fruitcake makers' book, I like to soak that dried
fruit in some
sort of orange liquer - Grand Marnier or another. If you have the time, let
it soak overnight
so it really absorbs into the fruit. Then add all of it, fruit and any loose
to the filling. It will give the pie a heady holiday flavor.
Finally there's the little bit of ground cloves I include. That really says
as a bonus, the smell reminds me of all those gingerbread people I'm NOT
baking - absorbed,
as I am, with creating yet another variation of America's favorite dessert.
Apple and Dried Cranberry (or Cherry) Pie with Gran Marnier
(from Apple Pie Perfect, Harvard Common Press, c 2002 Ken Haedrich)
1 recipe All-American Double Crust, refrigerated (below)
1/2 (one-half) cup dried cranberries or tart dried cherries
1/4 (one-quarter) cup Grand Marnier or other orange liquer
7 to 8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples
1/2 (one-half) cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 (one-eighth) teaspoon ground cloves
Milk and sugar
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- Put the dried fruit in a small bowl and add the liquer. Set aside for at
least one hour.
If you haven't already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate it until firm
enough to roll,
about 1 hour.
- On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the larger piece of
pastry into a
13 1/2- (thirteen and one-half) inch circle with a floured rolling pin.
Invert the pastry
over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently
tuck the pastry
into the pan, without stretching it, and let the edge of the pastry drape
over the side
of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400
- To make the filling, mix the apples, sugar, orange zest, and lemon juice
in a large
mixing bowl. Mix in the cranberries and Grand Marnier. Sprinkle the flour
and cloves over
the filling and mix well. Turn the filling into the refrigerated pie shell
and smooth the
top with your hands to even it out.
- On another sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the top pastry into
an 11 1/2-
(eleven and one-half) inch circle. Lightly moisten the edge of the pie shell
with a wet
fingertip or pastry brush. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center
it, and peel
off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampened
the pastry with scissors, leaving an even 1/2- (one-half) inch overhang all
sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Poke several steam vents in
the top of the
pie with a paring knife; put a couple of the vents near the edge of the
crust, so you can
check the juices there later. Brush the top of the pie with a little milk
lightly with sugar.
- Put the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the pie
from the oven and place on a large, dark baking sheet covered with aluminum
the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put the pie on the baking sheet back in
the oven and
bake until any juices - visible at the steam vents - bubble thickly, another
30 to 40
- Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 1 hour
All-American Double Crust
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 (three-quarters) teaspoon salt
1 1/2 (one-and-one-half) sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 (one-quarter) cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 (one-half) cup cold water
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss well, by
hand, to mix.
Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients; toss. Using a pastry blender or
2 knives, cut
the butter into the flour until it is broken into pieces the size of split
peas. Add the
shortening and continue to cut until all of the fat is cut into small
- Sprinkle half of the water over the dry mixture; toss well with a fork to
mixture. Add the remaining water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to
toss and mix,
pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl on the upstroke and
down on the downstroke. If it seems to need more water in order to cohere,
add it no more
than 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls, as you would pack a
one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust.
Knead each ball
once or twice, then flatten the balls into thick disks on a floured work
Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before
Makes enough pastry for one 9-inch deep-dish double-crust pie or two 9-inch