Apple, Pear and Cranberry Pie

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Since I last posted, I had my last day as a professional baker, got a job working at a tech company that connects local restaurants to people in offices who want lunch, joined a new fitness community that twerks for a workout and was featured in the food + drink section of The Seattle Weekly.

In late February, my two pie muses representing the East and West Coasts came together to join me for a pie class and drink. We bantered back and forth about pie apples and the future of food writing. Kate Lebo, my Washington pie princess, and Ellen Gray, my best pie soulmate from New Jersey, made the perfect pitch for Seattle Weekly.

I emailed food + drink editor Nicole Sprinkle and a couple weeks later had a spread. The night before the issue went on the stands felt like Christmas Eve. On my way to work on 1st ave., I skipped over to the news stand to grab a fresh copy. And then another.

Nicole later told me my article had been in their top ten for overall views that week. A proud moment? Ah, yes. To honor the great muses in my life, here is Kate Lebo’s pear and cranberry pie recipe that I made for Christmas last year and never posted. The golden brown beauty was a treat on our Christmas dinner table. Though my mom was a skeptic, I promised her Kate knows her sweet to tart ratios.

Makes 1 pie//Kate Lebo

  • 1 double pie crust
  • 2 Gravenstein or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Egg white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Follow your pie crust recipe and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll out the bottom crust and place it into a 9-inch pie plate. Tuck the edges into the pie plate and trim the edges. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the apple and pear slices in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Stir in the cranberries, granulated sugar, candied ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Taste the filling and adjust to your preferences.

(In Kate’s pie classes she says if you don’t want to eat the whole bowl of filling on its own then it needs adjusting. Add lemon. Add spice.)

Stir in the flour and set aside.

Roll out the top crust and retrieve the bottom crust from the refrigerator.

Pour the filling into the bottom crust and rearrange it in the plate as necessary to reduce air pockets. Dot the filling with butter. Drape the top crust over the filling. Trim, tuck and flute the edges. Cut steam vents in the middle of the pie. Brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle it with turbinado sugar.

Bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 35 to 45 more minutes, until the crust is dark golden brown and the filling bubbles.

Cool for at least an hour before serving.

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Cape Cod Chopped Salad

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Consumed with writing essays for professors and working at a noodle bar, I have neglected this blog.  The other day a friend left a bag of my favorite Easter candy (Easter egg shaped Recees) on my doorstep.  It has taken all of my self control to not eat the entire bag in one sitting.  I promised myself that if I wrote a post I could have several pieces upon finishing.

This salad is positively scrumptious.  The dressing is light with flavors of citrus.  The acidic nature of it compliments the fatty bacon.  Crunch and chew are added with dried cranberries, apples and nuts.  To round it out, the cheese offers a hit of creaminess to the exceedingly fresh salad.  Ina Garten, whose recipe I adapted from, suggests using blue cheese.  Since I have an aversion to the stank of blue cheese, I am willing to give up the sophistication that Roquefort might bring to my life by instead using goat cheese.

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Serves 4 or 5

  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon
  • 8 ounces baby arugula (I prefer mixed greens including spinach)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 ounces blue or goat cheese, crumbled (Even try feta and let me know how it goes!)

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons good apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup good olive oil

Toast the walnuts in a dry saute pan over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minutes, tossing frequently, until lightly browned.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and lay the bacon slices on the rack.  This is an easy way to cook a lot of bacon at once and have it cook evenly without splatter.  Roast the bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Let cool.

In a large bowl, toss together the greens, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and cheese.  For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Chop the bacon in large pieces and add it to the salad.  Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well.  Serve the salad immediately so that the greens don’t wilt.