Pie is the favorite dessert of my family. For Thanksgiving I make a pie for each person: Jenny, strawberry rhubarb; Matthew, pecan; Tom, apple; and for me, generally a mince pie. If we have family and friends joining us the pie list increases: generally pumpkin is added. I always love making the pies. Crust doesn’t bother me at all, I’ve been making it since I was a kid. In my pastry classes at work I try my best to take the mystery out of pie crust. It is just fat, flour and water blended gently together. For the pies we entered in the Martha Stewart pie contest I used this recipe:
Adapted from Paul Bergeron:
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ cup ice water
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons cold leaf lard, cut into pieces
Mix together salt and water in a small bowl until salt has dissolved; set aside.
Add flour and sugar to the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter , pulse several times until the butter is in small pieces. Now add the lard and pulse several times until the fats are in small, pea sized pieces.. Add the salted water and pulse until dough just comes together. Pour dough onto a floured work surface(a silpat is perfect) and press dough and crumbs together. Divide dough into two equal pieces, form into flattened disks, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before using. You will use only one crust for this pie. You can freeze the second pie dough until you need it.
This recipe is the same as my grandmother’s except it adds some butter instead of using lard alone.
The most important part of the crust recipe is using high quality lard. I order mine from the same source that Chef Bergeron uses:
Dietrichs Meat Market, located in Pennsylvania. You call them ( 610 756 6344) and they calculate the cost of your order. They don’t accept credit cards; you send them a personal check and then they send the lard.
The lard arrives frozen in 1 pound containers.
After you make the crust you chill the dough until you are ready to make your pie. You can chill the dough for a day; otherwise freeze it. Defrost one day before using.
The pie filling is adapted from a Sunset Magazine recipe.
I have changed the proportions; I didn’t like the amount of liquid or flour in the filling; I also changed the amount of flour in the topping. And I altered the spices.Try Sunset’s original or try my version. I’m sure both will give a great result.
APPLE CRANBERRY CURRANT PIE
2 TBS. brandy
1/4 cup dried currants
1 cup organic cranberries
1-1/4 cup sugar
4 TBS all purpose flour
grated peel of one organic orange
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
7 apples (I used Ida Red, Stayman, Granny Smith)
1 stick butter (unsalted)
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
Soak the currants in brandy overnight. Peel apples, quarter them and then slice each quarter into 4 to 5 slices. You want them thin but not paper thin. Mix the apples with the 1-1/4 cup sugar, 4 TBS flour, orange peel, and currants along with the brandy. Let rest while you roll the dough.
Roll one disk of the dough into a 14″ circle. Fit into your 9″ deep pie dish. Flute the edge.
Now make the crumb topping:
With a pastry blender mix the butter, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup flour until it forms into a nice crumb mixture.
Pour the apple mixture into the unbaked pie crust. Top with the crumb mixture.
Bake for 55-65 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. The filling should be bubbling at the edges.
The organic cranberries I use are quite small. If you need to use regular cranberries you might want to cut them in half.
Using the very best apples makes all the difference in the flavor of your pie. I am so lucky that we have such great farmer’s markets.
I hope you enjoy this pie. Martha Stewart’s judges did!!