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.

Cherry-Cranberry Lattice Pie

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Before this summer, if you had said “cherry pie,” a crust filled with gelatinous-y marble shapes would have popped into my head.

That was before I met Ellen Gray. She is a “pie-o-neer woman” as she likes to say. Cherry was one of the eight pies we baked for the Longhouse Food Revival. I looked at her with an enormous amount of skepticism when she suggested we make cherry.

Then a white bucket of fruit, swimming in their juices, arrived from Wisconsin. Ellen’s eyes turned into saucers as she pried back the lid. I placed a cherry on my tongue. It looked something like the maraschino cherries that I only eat after 1 am. But instead, I tasted summer. Sweet and tart at the same time.

I tasted this same sensation on Thanksgiving when I made Kate Lebo’s cherry-cranberry pie. Like Ellen, Kate knows the balance of sugar and lemon. Cherry and cranberry. Swoon and pucker.

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Makes one pie//Kate Lebo’s Pie School 

Ingredients

  • Double crust pie dough
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen pie cherries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Egg white wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
  • Demerara sugar for sprinkling

Take your pie dough out of the fridge and roll out the bottom crust. Fit it into a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Return to fridge.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the cherries and cranberries with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the flour and butter and set aside.

Roll out the top crust and cut it into strips for a lattice. Retrieve the bottom crust from the fridge. Pour the filling into the bottom crust. Weave the lattice strips accordingly. Trim, fold and crimp the edges. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Place the pie in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust looks blistered. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the crust is golden and the juices bubble.

Cool completely.