Friday, November 25, 2011


Ah, Thanksgiving! That day of the year when we reflect on how much blessings we have been given. It should be done every day but the thought that in this one particular day we are all in the same frame of mind on showing gratitude just makes it extra special.  And even when life is not as good as we hope it to be, our blessings are overflowing, much more than we deserve in fact. So often, we take for granted to be thankful for the very things that are most important in life- our health, the roof above our heads, our jobs, our family and friends.  Thanksgiving, just like Christmas is a beautiful day to celebrate our blessings with love ones.  There is nothing like the warmth and comfort, the fuzzy feeling of being with family. 
So with a grateful heart I promised myself to make something special and 'homemade' for Thanksgiving.  I have never made apple pie and cranberry sauce before. I chose these two because of Jennie.  She is making these for Thanksgiving and have shared the recipe on her blog.  This is her family's first Thanksgiving without her husband....  I have been following her blog religiously since her husband passed away in August and the way she carries on with their life in these difficult times just inspires me and gives me a different perspective in life.  

I just thought it would be appropriate to make her apple pie and cranberry sauce to celebrate my gratitude  that I have my family with me today..

apple pie
makes one 9 1/2-inch pie

sweet butter pastry crust
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tablespoon  granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces cold butter, cut into 24 pieces
6 to 9 tablespoons ice cold water

for the filling
4 tablespoons butter
6 medium apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (Granny Smith, Jonah Gold, Empire, Golden Delicious apples, crispin, mutsu)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

egg wash
1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
1 large egg yolk

To prepare the pie dough, add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it forms a sandy crumb. Starting with 6 tablespoons, sprinkle the water over the flour-butter mixture and pulse, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.

Dump onto an unfloured counter and divide into two 4 inch flat discs. Wrap in plastic and let chill until firm, but still pliable, about 1 hour (or stick it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes while preparing the apples) or up to 2 days before rolling out.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

For the filling, melt butter over moderately high heat in a small heavy bottomed skillet. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the apples, sugar, salt and flour to a deep bowl, and toss with a rubber spatula to coat well. Pour in the brown butter, scraping in those browned bits too, and lemon juice, stir well. Let sit on counter so juices can thicken while you roll out your pie crust.

After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator, you can take it out to roll. If it is too stiff, you may need to let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat, clean work surface and on top of the disk of dough you intend to roll out. Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough to make sure it is not sticking. You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.

Fit dough into the bottom of a 9.5-inch pie plate.

Roll out the remaining pie crust for the top.

Spoon the apple filling into the pie plate, and place second crust on top. Flute edges and cut a hole in top to create a steam vent.

Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

Bake pie for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then turn temperature down to 350ºF and bake for 35 to 40 minutes more, until top is golden and juices are bubbly.

For visuals and details for making the crust check Perfect Pie Crust

Cranberry Sauce

Makes about one quart

One 12 ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup molasses or 2/3 packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, uncovered. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and jam-like, about 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool to room temperature or chill before serving. May be prepared and stored in a glass container 3 to 4 days in advance.

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