I’m kicking things off with pie. Which I rarely make. But I went pumpkin picking over the weekend, and was drooling over the pies in the farmer’s market case until I eyed the price tags. Fourteen bucks for a cranberry apple pie! No way anything that came out of my kitchen would even cost a third of that. Pie always seems like such an undertaking, what with the rolling of the crust, and the prepping of the filling, and the baking, and the a-la-moding.
I saw Ree’s Nantucket Cranberry Pie years ago and it’s since held my curiosity. It’s called pie, but it doesn’t have a traditional pie crust. It’s filled with fruit on the bottom, and topped with a cake-like batter that gets light and golden and crunchy when baked. And when it’s served piping hot, and a la mode, it can beat the pants off a fourteen dollar, farmers market special.
I had to.
The cranberry, apple, ever so finely chopped walnut (though the recipe called for pecan) combination is one of the most winning I’ve tasted. The sweet apples help perk up the tart cranberries, and the nuts bring a crunch that comes through in every bite. I’m not usually a nuts in baked goods gal, but these create a subtle crunch, not an in-the-way crunch. And while there’s no way this wouldn’t be great nestled into a traditional crust, the cake is fun and unexpected.
To make a pie, you will need:
- 1 1/2 C fresh cranberries
- 1 large apple (more sweet than tart), peeled and chopped to pieces about the same size as the cranberries
- 3/4 C pecans or walnuts, very finely chopped
- 2/3 C sugar
- 1 C flour
- 1 C sugar
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 T sugar
- vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate. Pour in cranberries, apples, and nuts. Swirl everything around till it’s good and mixed up. Sprinkle 2/3 C of sugar on top of fruit and nut mixture. In bowl, combine remaining ingredients, except for that last T of sugar. Whisk till smooth. Pour over pie filling. Even out with spatula if necessary. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle last T sugar on top of pie and bake 5 more minutes. Serve immediately, with a giant scoop of ice cream on top.