In case you thought we hadn’t shared enough pies recently… here’s the THIRD of the pies I made for Thanksgiving. I was eyeing the Cranberry Crumble Pie from Sister Pie, but when I read it in more detail, it just had a few too many steps for me to tackle along with the other pies. But the idea of cranberry pie really appealed to me and then lo and behold, Bon Appetit magazine’s Instagram account goes and posts this recipe for Cranberry-Lime Pie! It was fate! We had to make it. A little less traditional for Thanksgiving, but delicious none the less! Flavor-wise, it reminded everyone of a key lime pie – sweet and sour! The color screams cranberry, but honestly the lime flavor comes through the most. I think my family was a little skeptical at first (they don’t always embrace change so well…), but it ended up being a hit! This pie was also the easiest of the three I made, with a super simple crust and a filling that set in the freezer. And the candied whole cranberries on top might have been my favorite part!
(Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine – Nov ’16)
4oz gingersnap cookies
1 cup pecans
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp brown sugar
16oz fresh cranberries, divided
2 1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
2 limes, zested & juiced, divided
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grind cookies and pecans up finely in a food processor. Add the butter and brown sugar and pulse until combined.
Pour into a 9 inch pie dish and using your fingers, press into the bottom and up the sides of the dish.
Bake for just 10-15 minutes until darkened slightly.
Bring 12oz cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then reduce heat and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens.
After the mixture has cooled, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Now whisk together the cranberry puree, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, lime juice, salt, ½ cup sugar, and zest from 1 lime. Place this mixture in a glass bowl.
Bring water to a simmer in a pot of a size that matches your glass bowl. Set the glass bowl on the pot, above the water. Stir the mixture frequently as it thickens, for ~ 10 minutes.
Now beat the butter into the mixture with a hand mixer. Once well-combined, pour into the crust.
Place the pie into the freezer for ~2 hours.
Meanwhile, combine another 1/2 cup of sugar with a 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer, dissolving the sugar. Then add the remaining 4oz of cranberries. Cook for just 2-3 minutes, until the cranberries have started to soften, but aren’t bursting. Transfer the berries to a wire rack to cool.
Now zest the remaining lime into the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Once the berries are cool, toss them in the lime sugar until well-coated. Top the pie with the sugared cranberries. Keep chilled until ~1 hour before serving.
Happy Thanksgiving! We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! We both love Thanksgiving, and Selim is extra happy this year because I made him his favorite Thanksgiving treat – pumpkin pie! Selim has very strong feelings about pie and dessert in general, and this pie was deemed worthy of Thanksgiving! (I actually made three pies – remade the Salted Maple Pie and a Cranberry-Lime Pie – recipe coming!) We were busy celebrating with family and didn’t take too many (or good) pictures of the pies, but they were all delicious! This pumpkin pie is made with real roasted pumpkin and is full of spices, but cheats with the crust. I made three pies in an afternoon ok? Something had to give! We’re both of the opinion that the filling makes the pie, so we’re not too worried about the crust. But by all means, make real crust yourself!
1 pie crust (we like Trader Joe’s if you’re not making your own)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Place halves facedown on a cookie sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flesh is tender and skin easily peels back.
Turn oven temperature up to 425 degrees.
Once pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop 2 cups into a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the crust (obviously). Using a hand mixer, beat all the ingredients together until smooth.
Prepare pie crust per your own recipe or as instructed on box. Place in pie pan.
Pour filling into the crust.
Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then decrease heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for another 45 – 50 minutes.
Keep a eye on the crust – consider covering the edges with foil if it’s getting too dark.
Cool on a trivet or a wire rack for 2+ hours before serving.
So it seems like our cookbook club is the only thing that’s keeping us blogging this fall… I guess that’s a good thing! We’re still really enjoying participating and are loving the variety of cookbooks selected. For November, we’re cooking (or baking as it were!) through Sister Pie, by Lisa Ludwinski. The selection is certainly appropriate, given how pies abound during November and December. Ask Selim about this; he feels VERY strongly about the necessity of pie on your Thanksgiving table! We’re still reluctant bakers over here, so it’s good we had the book selected for us. Maybe one day we’ll finally feel comfortable with baking. But until that day, we’ll keep following baking instructions to the letter! That’s a great thing about this book – there are very detailed instructions about all aspects of creating the pies and especially the dough. Which we definitely appreciated. So there’s very little that we changed about this recipe from the original.
So our first selection from this cookbook jumped out to both of us. Salted Maple Pie – how could we resist?! Selim loves maple, and I love anything sweet that’s salted. We spent a lovely but chilly weekend with some friends in the mountains and this was a perfect dessert! Decadently sweet, with great maple flavor and perfectly topped with salt! It’s a perfect dessert for these cool, late-fall, almost-the-holidays weekends. And it’d definitely be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving spread. One big note though: making this pie is time-consuming, with several resting/cooling periods. So I’d advise reading the instructions all the way through before starting!
So after all this work, what’d we think? We all loved the flavor! The crust was nice and flaky – I think we were successful in not overworking it. A tough crust was a common complaint in the Cookbook Club Facebook group, and the consensus is that overworking the dough is the problem. The texture was not quite what we were expecting. We both thought it would be like a pumpkin pie, but it’s more custard-y than that. Selim kept describing it as “eggy,” and I think the texture through him off a little bit. Full confession though. We only let it cool for an hour (instead of the prescribed 4-6 hours) before digging into it. The filling definitely had set a little better by morning when we had some more for breakfast. Sooo… edible and delicious as soon as it’s cool, but better after sitting for awhile!
Salted Maple Pie
(Minimally adapted from Sister Pie)
1 1/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, very cold
3 tbsp cold water*
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
Place your stick of butter in the freezer for ~20 minutes prior to getting started.
*Take a 1/4 measuring cup and fill with just an inch or so water and place in the freezer too.
In large bowl, combine dry ingredients – flour, sugar, and salt. Working quickly, use a box grater and grate the butter from the freezer into the bowl. Stop a few times and gently incorporate the butter with the dry ingredients.
*Get that measuring cup with the now-frozen water. Add the apple cider vinegar and then fill up the rest of the way with water. Add this mixture to the bowl.
Scrape the sides of the bowl, pushing dough from one side of the bowl to another, until there are no longer any pools of liquid. Now switch to your hands -“scoop up as much of the mixture as you can, and use the tips of your fingers… to press it back down onto the rest of the ingredients.” Keep doing this until you have a fairly combined dough ball. Don’t overwork it – stop when the ball is just holding itself together.
Remove from the bowl and pat down into a thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Now it’s time to roll out the dough. Lightly flour the counter. Using your rolling pin, “press and roll along the edge of the [dough] round one single time, enlarging the circle. After each press of the edge, rotate the disc 45 degrees.” Now place the rolling pin in the center of the dough and rolling outwards. Keep rotating the dough disc and rolling outwards from the center until the dough reaches a diameter of 12-13 inches.
Invert your pie pan in the center of the dough circle. Cut out a circle of dough with ~3 inches of dough outside of the pie dish. Flip the pie dish back right side up. Gently fold the dough in half, place in into the dish, and unfold.
Next you should crimp the crust. Or don’t. We didn’t quite figure this out. You’re on your own for this step. Good luck!
Place the crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Ok, now we blind bake the crust. Preheat your oven 450 degrees. Place a large piece of aluminum foil inside the pie dough and fill it up with dry beans. Bake for 25-27 minutes on a cookie sheet. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the aluminum foil and beans.
Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Now we’re moving on to the filling. Whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla. Then slowly pour the egg mixture in the maple mixture, stirring until just combined.
Brush the pie crust with the beaten egg. Then fill it with the maple mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until just the center jiggles slightly when the pie pan is shaken. (Ours took the full hour.)
Place the pie on a wire rack to cool for 4-6 hours. Once cool, top with the flaky salt.
Direct quotes come from Sister Pie. I quoted where I thought her explicit directions were important or hard to paraphrase.
Tonight we made our second recipe from October’s cookbook club selection – Indian-ish! Participating in the cookbook club has already expanded our cooking horizons and we’ve only been doing it for about 6 weeks. The first one this month was Indian-ish Chicken Breasts. We tweaked this recipe a little, but the Indian(ish) flavors are definitely still there. This side dish is definitely spicy and full of flavor. It was close to being too spicy for me, so if spice is intimidating, maybe cut down to one serrano pepper or eliminate altogether. We also cooked with chaat masala for the first time here, which is always fun! We love trying new (to us) ingredients! Selim grew up eating a lot of Indian food, but I didn’t so these were different flavors for me especially. Side note, the original recipe called for topping the potatoes with fresh chopped cilantro. We (cough, Selim) may or may not have accidentally bought parsley instead of cilantro, but we think it’s probably great here, so we left it in the recipe even though we didn’t taste it that way.*
Chaat Masala Smashed Potatoes
(Adapted from Indian-ish)
1 lb baby red potatoes
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced/grated fresh ginger
1/2 small onion, diced
2 Serrano peppers, diced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp chaat masala
Fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped*
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake potatoes on a cookie sheet for ~45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the toppings. After dicing the pepper and onion, place them in a bowl and cover with the vinegar to macerate for at least 15 minutes.
Once cooked, pierce each potato with a knife and then smash each with the back of a large utensil.
Top the potatoes with a sprinkle of salt, then a dollop of yogurt on each potato, and evenly divided portions of the ginger, peppers, and onions. Then sprinkle with the chaat masala and generously top with cilantro.
Our first month of participating in the Kitchn’s Cookbook Club was a resounding success! We impressed ourselves by making several things out of September’s selection – Salt Fat Acid Heat. [See: Pasta with Clams & Sausage, Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Cream, and Sausages & Roasted Veggies in Agrodolce] For October, the book selected is Indian (-ish): Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family, by Priya Krishna. I’m super excited about this selection because this is exactly why we joined the cookbook club… this is not a book I probably would’ve picked up on my own. It’s apparently pretty popular though (or tons of people in this city are doing the cookbook club too), because all of the copies are checked out at my local libraries. Henrico County Public Library has NINETEEN holds ahead of me! Luckily, I’m in decent position on the e-book wait list. But until I get a hold of the actual book, we’re going to give some of the recipes from the book that are published on the internet a whirl.
This first choice turned out to be a good one. The marinade is easy to make, though with a one new-to-me ingredient (amchur powder). We loved the flavor and the method of cooking the chicken kept it moist. We made a few adjustments, but didn’t want to experiment too much since we’re not Indian cooking experts by any means!
Today’s the last day of September and therefore the last day of our first month of the Kitchn Cookbook Club. We did an even better job than anticipated of cooking through Salt Fat Acid Heat, by Samin Nosrat. We shared our Pasta with Clams & Sausage and Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Cream, but we also made a gorgeous salad from her Avocado Salad Matrix, a nice roast whole chicken, and some green beans that we didn’t love. We still have a few more recipes bookmarked – the Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts in Agrodolce, the Autumn Panzanella Salad, and the Vietnamese Cucumber Salad in particular. We clearly won’t get to all of them before the end of the month, given that we only have a few hours of September left, but for dinner tonight we riffed on the squash and sprouts recipe.
The dish as written is vegetarian and would make a beautiful side dish – Samin says she serves it on her Thanksgiving spread! (Selim wants to do the same!) We decided to throw some sausages in the oven with the veggies to make it a full meal with a protein. I was initially attracted to the recipe because of the vinegar. I love vinegar and have learned from this book how the punch of acid improves most dishes by brightening other flavors. And now, I know what agrodolce means! “Agro” + “dolce” = “sour” + “sweet” in Italian. At its most basic, an agrodolce is a sauce of vinegar and sugar. It can be adjusted in many different ways – various vinegars, subbing honey or syrups for the sugar, and adding other ingredients, like herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, olives, and basically anything else!
We both loved this recipe and plan to add it to the regular rotation. The roasting and the vinegar really brought out the inherent sweetness of the vegetables. The sausages were a welcome addition and their fattiness stood up well to the vinegar. The end result is a little messy, but really delicious. We both independently thought that it would have been better if we’d cut the squash into cubes, instead of slicing as the original recommended. I think we’ll try that next time, but left the recipe with the sliced recommendation since that’s how we made it.*
Sausages & Roasted Veggies in Agrodolce
(Adapted from Salt Fat Acid Heat)
1 large butternut squash
1 lb brussel sprouts
5 Italian sausages
Salt & pepper
1/3 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh mint leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Slice the squash in half, scoop out any seeds, and slice into crescents*. Halve these if too large. Place in a large bowl and toss with enough olive oil to coat and ~ 1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of fresh ground black pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet.
Halve the brussel sprouts and do the same as above with additional olive oil, a pinch of salt, and pepper. Place them on a second lined cookie sheet.
Place the sausages on another sheet, or on one of the previous ones if there is room without crowding. (Mine fit easily with the brussel sprouts.)
Place the veggies and sausages in the the oven. Roast for 25-30 minutes, turning and adjusting the position of the cookie sheets in the oven about halfway through so everything roasts evenly. [Keep a close eye out towards the end – the brussel sprouts may cook faster than the squash. We like ours on the burnt side of crispy, but you may want to take them out about 5 minutes earlier.]
Meanwhile, submerge the onions in the vinegar to macerate while everything is cooking (at least 20 minutes).
In another small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp olive oil, sugar, red pepper flakes, and garlic.
Once the veggies are cooked, place them in large bowl. Slice the sausages into bite-sized rounds and place in the bowl as well. Whisk the onions and vinegar into the olive oil mixture and then, once well-combined, pour the mixture into the large bowl. Toss to coat.
Serve on a platter topped with additional salt if needed and a handful of torn mint leaves.
In our last post, we mentioned how we started participating in the Kitchn’s Cookbook Club. Our first recipe was an amazing success, so we’re dipping our toes into a dessert today! This recipe is originally published as a cake, but we decided to make cupcakes instead. (Samin encourages that in the recipe, so don’t worry, we’re not improvising too much!)
The cake portion turned out well – nice and chocolately with a good texture and moistness. We really liked the combination of the chocolate cake with the rosewater icing. We personally love rosewater, but it can definitely be a polarizing ingredient. Using 3/4 tsp of rosewater in this recipe gave it a discernible rosewater flavor, but isn’t overwhelming. If you’re a rosewater novice, maybe start with a little less. Another update: I still don’t know how to ice cupcakes. I tried. Sorry. At least they taste good.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Rose Cream
(Adapted from Salt Fat Acid Heat)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 neutral oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs, room temperature & whisked
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp rosewater
Optional: a drop or two of red food coloring, to give you pink icing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in top third of oven. Place cupcake liners in a cupcake tin.
In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients for the cupcakes: cocoa powder, sugar, salt, flour, and baking soda.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the wet ingredients: vanilla, oil, boiling water, and eggs.
With mixer running, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Mix until the thin batter comes together.
Divide the batter into the cupcake molds, filling roughly 2/3s full.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the whipped cream frosting. Refrigerate the mixing bowl and whisk attachment for at least 20 minutes.
Then start by whipping the cream and rosewater together over medium-high speed until beginning to thicken. Then slowly add the powdered sugar with the machine still running. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Frost the cooled cupcakes with the cream frosting, either by spreading with a knife or by piping on top.