I know Christmas was over 2 weeks ago. It has taken me that long to recover.
Dan and I spent 3 glorious weeks in the US for the holidays. We saw friends and family. We raced Hot Wheels with our nephew. We drank homemade eggnog and red wine that wasn’t chilled (why, Japan? why?!). And we ate. I gained 2 pounds in the first week, then stopped counting. I knew what I was up against when I witnessed my mother-in-law buy 8 pounds of butter.
I was responsible for at least a pound of that edible gold. For Christmas eve dinner I made two of my favorite pie recipes — deep-dish winter fruit and bourbon pecan.
I haven’t talked about my pie obsession in a while, probably because I am still grieving the loss of a real oven. So for a full afternoon my dad and I barricaded ourselves in the kitchen, drank brandy, and rolled out two beauties. It’s just not Christmas until the kitchen smells like cinnamon. Or there is day drinking. My Christmases involve a lot of that, too.
Try them for yourself!
Deep-Dish Winter Fruit Pie with Walnut Crumb Topping
From Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Walnut Crumb Topping
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup dried figs
- 4 small apples, peeled and sliced
- 4 pears, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen (In a pinch, I use craisins. This year I used brandied cranberries.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (I usually skip this.)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Add the butter and mix just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Stir the water and lemon juice together, then pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. (The key is to keep the water cold so it doesn’t melt your butter. Keep your butter chunky, this helps create a flaky crust.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your pie. When ready, roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch disk, then line a 9 or 10 by 3-inch springform pan with the rolled-out dough.
Topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl. Stir in the butter, then work it in with your hands until the texture of crumbs.
Filling: Remove the stem from each fig, then boil the figs in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice each fig into 4 to 5 pieces, put them in a large bowl, and add the apples, pears, and cranberries. Gently toss the fruit with sugar until evenly coated.
Transfer the filling to the pie shell and top with the walnut crumb. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the crumb is golden, the fruit juices are bubbling thickly around the edges, and the fruit is tender. If the crumb is getting too dark, cover it with foil while baking.
Bourbon Pecan Pie
Adapted from Bon Appétit, November 2006
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup agave syrup
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- 2 cups pecan halves, very coarsely chopped
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F.
Crust: Combine flour and salt in food processor. Add the butter and mix just until the mixture becomes coarse and crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Pour the water over the dry ingredients and pulse just until the dry ingredients are moistened. (The key is to keep the water cold so it doesn’t melt your butter. Keep your butter chunky, this helps create a flaky crust.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prep the rest of your pie. When ready, roll the chilled dough into a 10-inch disk, then line a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with the rolled-out dough. Fold the extra dough under and crimp to make a decorative edge.
Filling: Whisk eggs in large bowl. Whisk in both sugars, then next 5 ingredients. Stir in pecans. Pour into crust.
Bake until filling is puffed and just set in center (filling may begin to crack), about 55 minutes.