pie they said, we want pie

Before we get into the pie of it all, I must say you know that your blog is getting popular when you get hit with 261 items of spam overnight.  Thank you WordPress spam filters for doing double time!

Anyway, sometimes a pie just comes together and my Thanksgiving pie was amazing if I do say so myself.

I made apple this year as per the request of my better half.  I made a double crust apple pie with dried apricots, raisins, and cranberries soaked in Calvados.  The crust was dusted with turbinado sugar and pink Himalayan sea salt.

Sounds yummy? It was.  So what I did was make a double batch of pie crust (I have given you pie crust recipes before so I am not doing again now), pulled out my vintage deep dish pie dish and threw my apple mixture in, sealed it up, did an egg wash and a little dusting (turbinado sugar and the pink sea salt) and voila! Yummy deliciousness!

I used about 8-10 small MacIntosh apples peeled, cored, sliced thin.  Tossed them with 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, juice of 1 lemon, fresh grated ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, mace, and 1 1/4 cup of dark raisins, chopped dried apricots, and dried cranberries that had been soaked overnight in Calvados.

I cut my vents, added my pie bird and in it went to a pre-heated oven on a cookie sheet.  400 degrees for 15 minutes, and then 350 degrees for somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes (I forget – so if you are trying to replicate, you will have to simply keep an eye on your pie.)

My yam and pumpkin soufflé topped with toasted butter pecans was a big hit too – another made up mish mosh of a recipe, but I think I am keeping that one to myself for now.  And oh yes, I roasted my turkey the way I saw my late father do it time and again, and guess what?  It was not dry!

For the record, this chef is on strike for a few days.  Executing a fabulous Thanksgiving is like giving birth…and LOL my friend Pamela did just that. (She had a baby girl!)

No, I will not be shopping today.  Black Friday is against my religion. For the most part so are malls.  For those of you shopping, ditch the mall and check out Main Street.  I think supporting independent merchants, small businesses, and BARN sales is where it is at!

And if you are looking for that perfect hostess gift for holiday parties, or a fun present, consider my recently Blurb published photography book chestercountyramblings….four seasons!

as american as apple pie

So the other day when I posted a photo of a pie I baked on my Facebook page, I had NO idea I would get so many requests via e-mail for the recipe.   I baked an apple pie with raisins soaked in Calvados and a sweet cinnamon crust and an oatmeal crumble topping. Yes my own recipe and no, not written down – in my head – so here is I hope good enough to work with….

This recipe was inspired by a pie I had almost 20 years ago at the Brinley Victorian Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. The man who used to bake these crazy good double crust apple pies worked at the B&B (maybe he was a manager, I can’t remember).  And he soaked his raisins in booze (don’t remember what, whiskey I think).

I prefer a crumbly topping on my fruit pies, so anyway, here it is, hope it is proportionate enough that a bunch of home chefs don’t complain something was off  ( it is hard to write down something your hands can pretty much make for themselves on auto pilot)

Soak 3/4 cup of dark raisins in 1/4 cup of Calvados (French apple brandy – if you don’t have that a good bourbon will do as well.)

 Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups  flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

8 teaspoons sugar

8 tablespoons or 1 stick unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into little dots

4 tablespoons ice water

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

Using pastry cutter, cut butter into flour, sugar, salt, spices.  Add ice water.  Form dough gently, do not overwork.  Wrap tightly in saran wrap and toss in refrigerator at least a couple of hours.

When sufficiently chilled roll out your dough and line a deep dish pie plate. My pie plate is like 9 inches in diameter (I *think* – it is vintage pyrex – so I do not recall exactly)

Gently rub bottom of crust in plate with soft butter.  (I saw it on a cooking show once)

Filling:

I use 8 to 10 apples of medium size. (I do not like red delicious apples so I will not use those) I peel them and slice them very thinly.  I toss into a mixing bowl with 1 cup of sugar (2/3 cup white 1/3 cup dark brown), 1/4 cup of flour, 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground mace, and 1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom.  I juice one medium to small lemon over mixture and toss. Fold in raisins that have soaked up their booze.

Topping:

3/4 cup oatmeal (Quaker quick oats, not the instant or steel cut or flavored)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon

Blend all together with pastry cutter in small bowl and set aside.

Toss your apple mixture into your pie crust.

Evenly spread crumbly sugary topping over top of pie

Place in an oven preheated to 425 degrees and bake at 425 for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 to 45 more minutes depending upon your oven.

Hopefully my proportions are o.k.  This is as close as I can get – again – have been making this pie out of my head for years.