Pumpkin Custard Pie


Next week is Thanksgiving (for us here in Canada) and while my family and I don't usually get too into celebrating this holiday, I know that some people go nuts for it, like I go nuts for Christmas. And while holidays are not usually the time to stray away from the classics, I think this pie is a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie!




Don't go thinking this is some sort of wild and crazy take on a pumpkin pie, though. This tastes almost exactly like a pumpkin pie, but the texture is creamier, smoother, and not so stodgy and dense. That's my problem with pumpkin pies. The amount of pumpkin purée versus everything else is just too high, so the filling is basically just pumpkin purée. I love custards (as evidenced by the crazy amount of custards I have on this blog, in one form or another), so to make a pumpkin custard pie was just a no-brainer. The flavour isn't reduced or "watered down" by the custard, but you now have a silky smooth texture.


For any long term fans of this blog (are there any, apart from my Mom and Dad?), you will recognize this pie from two years ago. I won't even link back to it because the photos are just awful and I'd rather not have people going into my way way back archives and discovering how bad this blog used to be. But in any case, this is the first repeat recipe I've had but I can't help it! This pie is just too good and I will choose it over a traditional pumpkin pie always. It needs to be seen! 


So for all my fellow Canadians, I hope you have your menus planned out for next week and you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family! For all my American readers, save this one for, what, November? Is that when yours is? It's close to Christmas I think. Anyways, save it for then. Or just make it now, I won't judge.


Pumpkin Custard Pie

Pie Dough

175 g pastry flour
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
113 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, freezer cold
57 g ice-cold water
1 teaspoons distilled white vinegar


Pumpkin Creme Anglaise Filling

1 Sugar Pie pumpkin, about 2 1/4 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
OR
400 g pumpkin puree


165 g whole milk
115 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground/fresh grated ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
134 g packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Maple Molasses Roasted Pecans
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
8 ounces (225 g) pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Caramelized Hazelnuts


375 g hazelnuts
140 g granulated sugar
45 g water

Cinnamon and Vanilla Chantilly

200 g heavy cream
20 g icing sugar
2 g vanilla paste
1/8th teaspoon ground cinnamon


For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. Fold the overhand up and over towards the inside of the pan and use your hands to gently press on the dough all around the circumference to form a neat pastry rim about 1/2 inch thick. Create your desired border. Use the trimmed dough to create pastry leaves or whatever decoration you wish.

Chill the dough for 15 to 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the pastry-lined pie tin with a piece of parchment and fill it with dried beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake until the bottom of the dough is baked through but not browned, 55 to 60 minutes. 

Remove the pie shell from the oven and remove the parchment, beans, rice, or pie weights. Bake the shell for a further 15 minutes to create an even golden brown colour. Remove the pie shell from the oven and let cool completely.

For the filling, if you are roasting your own pumpkin (which I highly recommend), preheat your oven to 400 F. Use a large heavy knife to quarter the pumpkin, then scrape out and discard all the fibers and seeds. Cut the pumpkin quarters in half crosswise to yield 8 pieces of pumpkin. Put the pumpkin pieces in a baking dish and toss with oil and salt. Arrange the pieces rind sides down, cover the pan with foil, and use the tip of a knife to cut a few small steam vents in the foil. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the pumpkin feels quite tender when poked with the tip of a paring knife, about an hour. Remove the foil and continue to roast until the pumpkin is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel off and discard the skins. Put the pumpkin flesh in a container of a blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 400 g of pumpkin puree. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 300 F.

Combine the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and place the scrapings and pod in the milk. In a separate bowl, add the yolks, spices, salt, and brown sugar. Whisk until slightly paler in color. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove the lid from the saucepan and bring back to just a boil. Add a ladle of the hot milk mixture to the yolks, whisking vigorously. Add the warmed yolk mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately pour the creme anglaise through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl.

Pour the creme anglaise into the blender (that still has the pumpkin puree in it). Add the whole eggs and the vanilla extract. Blend on high speed for 1 full minute. Turn off the blender and use a spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom to make sure everything is mixed enough. Blend for a few more seconds if necessary.

Leave the pumpkin custard in the blender and allow the mixture to rest and allow any bubbles to rise to the top, about 15 minutes. Use a small ladle to skim off and discard any bubbles.

Pour the pumpkin filling into the pastry shell and transfer it to the oven. Bake until the custard and set, about 1 hour. When the pie is done, the custard should jiggle just slightly in the center when you shake the pan gently.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.

While the pie is cooling, make the pecans. Increase the oven temperature to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment sprayed with vegetable oil spray or use a silicon baking mat.

Combine the honey, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl. Add the pecans and toss to combine well. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring the nuts with a rubber spatula halfway through the baking time. Remove the pecans from the oven and pour them into the bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then spread the pecans on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment to cool.

For the caramelized hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the hazelnut on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The hazelnuts need to be warm and de-skinned when they are added to the caramel.

While the hazelnuts are roasting, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the syrup to 116 C. Add the warm hazelnuts now and stir to coat them evenly. 

If you wish to have some candied hazelnuts, remove some when they are white and sandy-looking in the pot, before they start to caramelize. Continue cooking the hazelnuts and syrup until they are a deep amber colour and no sandy white bits remain. Spread onto a silpat lined baking sheet to cool completely. Roughly chop around 150 g of hazelnuts into pieces the size of sunflower seeds. Reserve in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

For the cinnamon and vanilla chantilly, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Whip until stiff peaks form, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small circular tip. Pipe your desired design onto the completely cooled pie, then add some hazelnuts, pecans, and any pastry leaves or decorations you may have made.


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Peach Pie


Have you guys seen the Netflix show Chef's Table? If the answer is no, you need to fix that right now. Because it is so good. It's basically a bunch of mini-documentaries of some of the best chefs in the world and their restaurants, lives, philosophies on food, etc.

As someone who works in the food industry, I find chefs and line cooks to be fascinating. Pastry cooks and line cooks are two very different people that do two very different jobs, so their world of blistering hot kitchens and orders coming in every minute and expediting food is new and thrilling and scary. I know that the world of kitchens is completely different to what the customers experience, so I love seeing their behind-the-scenes.



The first episode I watched, I was so inspired. I won't give too much away for those who haven't seen it, but I kept thinking to myself, "Man oh man, I want to live in Italy." This may also be because I've been to Italy three times and I just love the country and I want to back again and again. 

Then I watched the second episode and thought, "I want a farm! I want to raise animals and make my own butter and grow everything!" You see where this is going. Every episode, I wanted to do what that chef did (except that weird hippy dude that lived in the middle of nowhere, I think I'd go crazy after a week). I was so inspired and motivated to do something that, honestly, I don't actually want to do (except maybe live in Italy. I might want to do that.)



In each episode, it gave some background on the chef and their childhood, their culinary training, early career, and basically the path that they've walked to get to where they are now. 

And what was great is that it wasn't all rainbows and happy customers and celebrity status. I like that they focused on how gruelling and stressful and exhausting, mentally and physically, it is to work in a kitchen. The kitchen that I work in isn't as bad as some restaurant, but a 10 hour day is normal and it's physical and there's a lot of pressure to be better, faster, more efficient, cleaner, constantly. Come October to December, we'll be working at least 12 hour days, up to 15 hours, sometimes 6 days a week in order to meet the demands for the Christmas season. Some line cooks and chefs work 15 hours every day, all year. It takes a toll. 


And what surprised me was that even these incredibly accomplished chefs were still struggling with how stressful it was, every single day. I thought it would get easier, especially if you run an acclaimed restaurant. You know you're doing a great job, you know you're doing it right. But then again, that's where the pressure comes from. You have to keep that standard up, constantly, all while creating new dishes and evolving and growing. That's the tough part. Consistency is everything in a kitchen (or any business) and it's just incredibly taxing to give 110% every single day. 


While I was daunted by the life of the line cook and the chefs who run the kitchens of some of the best restaurants in the world, I was really proud to be a part of this industry. I take pride in working hard, in waking up at 3:30am to go to work, in getting burns on my arms every week, in carrying 20 kilogram bags of flour on my shoulder up a flight of stairs, in busting my ass every day, and never being satisfied with my work, that I can always do better. 

It's stressful as hell and sometimes I think, "I just can't do this anymore, it's too much", but those moments are only moments and I keep going. Because at the end of the day, I'm proud of what I do and what I create and I'm so eager to see where my talents and passion take me in life. Who knows, maybe I'll have a documentary made about me one day. 



Peach Pie

Peach Filling

900 g ripe peaches, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
100 g sugar
5 g vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
15 g all-purpose flour

Pie Crust
Recipe from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

350 g pastry flour
100 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
226 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
60 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
114 g water, ice cold
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Egg wash
Coarse sugar


For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. Fold the overhand up and over towards the inside of the pan and use your hands to gently press on the dough all around the circumference to form a neat pastry rim about 1/2 inch thick. Create your desired border. Use the trimmed dough to create pastry leaves, feathers, or whatever decoration you wish. 

Remove the second disk of dough from the fridge 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling. Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut strips 1 inch in width for your lattice. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Chill the dough.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

For the filling, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to combine. Pour the filling into the chilled pastry shell and arrange the lattice on top.

Brush the pastry with egg wash to coat, being careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry. Sprinkle with the desired amount of coarse sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake for a further 60 to 70 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Remove the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.


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Cherry and Peach Galette


There's something pretty magical about nature and the fruits that come into season around the same time. Peaches and cherries go together so well and they're in season at the same time. Peaches and blueberries, same thing. Strawberries and rhubarb, the classic spring combo. Apples and pears, the fall duo. Do they go so well together by accident or have we been conditioned to like them together simply because they are both around at the same time? 

These are the things that keep me up at night.

Just kidding, that would be my anxiety-filled self-doubts about work and life and my future.


I'm going to be honest with you guys on this one - this galette was kind of an afterthought. I made the pie dough for an peach-cherry experiment that didn't turn out well, so I used the rest of the dough and fruit to make this galette simply because I didn't want to waste anything. I didn't really plan to take photos because it's just a galette, you know? I try to do more challenging things on this blog, more interesting and complicated. This was too easy for the blog.

But hot damn, it was too good not to blog it. I get too hung up on what should be on the blog, as if there's a panel of judges awaiting my every post, criticizing and critiquing my baking skills and techniques. 



Which is ridiculous, I know, but it happens. It's also ridiculous how I will not give away what I bake if I think it is not great because I don't want people to think that the dessert is a direct reflection of my skills. And even if I somehow bring myself to give away a sub-par dessert to my family or boyfriend, I can't help but babble on about how it's not good. 

"Oh, it's not that great, really. It's not what I wanted it to be, there's too much of this and not enough of that and I didn't bake it at the right temperature and I over mixed it so it's really not that good at all. I won't be mad if you don't eat it. You can throw it out."

Which is a terrible way to give someone a dessert. And they're not that bad. I hope my family has come to realize that I'm not actually giving them shitty desserts, I just want them to know that it's not my best.

But you know what? Screw that mindset! I made this and it's awesome. I don't care if my pastry chef would approve of it or if it's not the most complicated thing I ever made. It's tasty and that's that.



Cherry and Peach Galette

Pie Crust

175 g pastry flour
50 g all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
113 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
30 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
57 g water, ice cold
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Filling

150 g fresh cherries, pitted and halved
300 g fresh peaches, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 lemon, juiced and zested
75 g sugar
2 g vanilla powder or 1/2 vanilla bean

Egg wash and coarse sugar for finishing



For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into a flat circle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

For the filling, combine the cherries, peaches, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and vanilla powder or vanilla seeds. Gently toss to coat everything. Set aside.

Unwrap the disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 10 inches in diameter and about 1/4th inch thick. Transfer it to a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

Arrange the peach slices and cherries in the centre of the galette. Fold the edges up and over. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
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Raspberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream


The first pie of the year! And the first ice cream of the year! I couldn't help but include both in the same post because after all, what's pie without ice cream? And this pie and this ice cream were made for each other. Both are sweet with a punchy tangy note to remind you that HEY - the sun is out, the birds are singing, and it's light out until like 8pm, holy crap.



Both the pie and the ice cream are awesome on their own, so don't feel like you have to make both at the same time, but you really should make both at the same time

Think about it this way: Bread is pretty good. Cheese is also pretty good. But grilled cheese is better. 

And what kind of person would I be if I didn't recommend that you make a grilled cheese?

I think in carbs, I can't help it.


The nice weather we've been having here in Vancouver (for the most part) has totally given me a kick in the butt, in a good way. Not only am I all about the spring fruits and bright flavours, but on the weekends, I've been cooking actual meals (falafel wrapsbroiled corn tacospizza, and just this morning - sumac and tomato focaccia!). Some awesome cookbooks came in the mail the other day and I've been having a field day looking through them! I'm a little overwhelmed by the amount of things that I want to make from them, I almost wish I had a big family to cook for every night instead of just me and my cat.



I used to regard cooking as a bit of a hassle. Of course I wanted to eat nice meals and the act of cooking was pretty fun too, but finding a recipe, hoping I have all the equipment, getting the ingredients form multiple stores, and then finding time to make everything was a daunting thought. It was easier just to have toast, you know? But it's so much easier than I thought and totally worth it! You can't beat that sense of satisfaction that comes from making a good meal from scratch, either. 

I don't really get that with desserts, but I think that's because pastry and baking in my career so I'm always worrying about the technical side of things, how long it takes me to make something, and the tiny details in presentation. It's nice to have a break from all that pressure with cooking for myself. 

Of course, I'm never going to stop making desserts in my free time. A nice dinner is great and all, but there's something to be said for finishing the day off with a big warm slice of pie topped with a slowly melting scoop of ice cream.




Raspberry Rhubarb Pie with Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream

Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream
Recipe from Frozen Desserts

542 g whole milk
103 g heavy cream
3 lemons, zested
183 g granulated sugar
62 g egg yolks

110 g buttermilk

Pie Dough

430 g all-purpose flour
3 g kosher salt
15 g granulated sugar
230 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
250 mL cold water
62 g cider vinegar
100 g ice


Pie Filling

450 g fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
200 g raspberries
150 g granulated sugar
80 g light brown sugar
12 g cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg

Egg wash
Coarse sugar



For the ice cream, combine the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until slightly paler in colour.

Combine the milk, cream, and lemon zest in a saucepan set over medium heat. When the milk mixture is just below a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and, whisking constantly, slowly pour one-third into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture. Transfer back to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook the anglaise until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and reaches a temperature of 80 C.

Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl set over an ice bath. Stir in the buttermilk while the mixture is still warm. Cool to room temperature, then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin and refrigerate overnight.

Place your ice cream container in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Churn your ice cream according to the manufacturer's instructions, then transfer to your pre-frozen container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and freeze for two hours.

For the pie crust, stir the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture, working quickly until mostly pea-sized pieces of butter remain.

Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup. Sprinkle two tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the flour mixture, and mix and cut it in with a bench scraper until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, using the bench scraper or your hands (or both) to mix until the dough comes together in a ball, with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine. Divide the dough into two flat disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow.

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling. Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and about 11 inches in diameter. Line your pie tin, trim the excess, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove the second disk of dough from the fridge 5 to 10 minutes before you begin rolling. Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness and cut strips 1/2 inch in width for your lattice. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

For the pie filling, combine the rhubarb, raspberries, granulated and brown sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Stir in the egg. Pour the filling into the chilled pastry shell, arrange the lattice on top, and crimp as desired.

Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and centre positions, place a rimier baking sheet on the bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425 F.

Brush the pastry with egg wash to coat, being careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry. Sprinkle with the desired amount of coarse sugar.

Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the temperature to 375 F, move the pie to the centre oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout, 30 to 35 minutes.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a generous scoop of ice cream.


Cranberry Sage Pie


I'm going to tell you right now that I haven't worked with fresh cranberries until now. Only frozen or dried. Crazy, right? I can't really remember seeing fresh cranberries in store when I was younger but I think that's because cranberries were not on my radar. Around Christmas time here in Canada (and around Thanksgiving in the States), bags of fresh cranberries are everywhere. I must not have been very attentive as a kid.

I've already used cranberries in a couple posts this Christmas season (these macarons and this tart) but those both used frozen, although you could totally use fresh. But this recipe is aaaalll about the fresh cranberries.



You might think, "Woah, hey now, cranberry and sage sound pretty...savoury. What's goin' on here?". But let me assure you, this is a sweet pie. The sage just adds a little herby note at the end while the cranberries take center stage in all their tart glory. A little hint of warm spices in there, a bit of apple to cut the tartness of the berries, and a good amount of white and brown sugar to make sure you're not making that sour face. You know, the "eyebrows raised, squinty eyes, and puckered lips" face. 

I just made that face right now while trying to describe it.


I really do love pies. They're simple and rustic, but just so darn delicious that they need no fancy-ing up. I like making refined and fancy desserts, I really do. But sometimes I love making a good ol' pie that embodies warm fires and blankets and Christmas music. And that's what this is. 


It's also a lovely coincidence that cranberries and sage are wonderfully natural Christmas colours. That's enough reason to make this pie. 

So make this pie, get the kettle on, and get cozy. It's going to be a good time.





Cranberry Sage Pie


Pie Crust

350 g pastry flour
100 g all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
226 g unsalted butter, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
60 g vegetable shortening, freezer cold, cut into 1/2 inch dice
114 g water, ice cold
2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Filling
Recipe adapted from Food52

1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
115 g granulated sugar
100 g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
700 g fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small apple 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg

Eggwash and coarse sugar for finishing



For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in an electric mixer. Add the cold butter and shortening and mix on low speed until the mixture look shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find bigger chunks, smear them between your fingers.

Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup and stir to combine. Add the water-vinegar  to the flour-fat mixture on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.

Turn off the mixture and scrape the sides and bottom of the mixer to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together in a clump. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time. 

Remove the dough from the mixer, shape into two flat circles, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Unwrap one disk of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8th inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and gently press the dough into the sides of the pan. Trim the excess dough to a 3/4th to 1 inch overhang. 

If you wish to make a lattice top, take out the second disk of dough from the fridge. Roll the disk out in a roughly rectangular shape to a thickness of 1/8th inch. Using a ruler, cut 8 strips of dough, each about 1 inch wide. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the fridge.

Chill the dough-lined pie tin while you make the filling.

For the filling, combine the sage, both sugars, salt, cornstarch, cinnamon, and allspice in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

Use a food processor to roughly chop 350 g of the cranberries. Add them to a large bowl along with the whole cranberries. Using a box grater, shred the apple and add to the cranberries. 

Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss to coat the berries and apple evenly. 

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the vanilla extract. Add to the berry mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the filling to the pie crust and create the lattice or your desired crust top. Chill for 15 minutes.

Carefully brush the pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.

Position a rack in the lower third of your oven. Place it on a baking sheet on the rack and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack in the center of your oven and bake for a further 35 to 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until cooled completely, about 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or reheat in a 350 F oven for a few minutes.