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Pair fruit with filling to make unique pies

  • Pair fruit with filling to make unique pies
    Copyright Times News 2009
Published October 21. 2009 05:00PM

When a conventional apple pie just isn't enough to satisfy an autumnal craving or to use up all those apples you picked, go deep with a Dutch Apple Pie. This deep dish-style pie from Laura Washburn's "Cooking with Apples & Pears" cookbook is easy to assemble and has a wonderful flavor.

Dutch Apple Pie

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 8

For the pie:

18 ounces prepared pie dough

3 pounds apples

1/2 cup sugar

cup golden raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the streusel topping:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

Pinch salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Whipped cream, to serve

Heat the oven to 350 F. Butter and lightly dust with flour a 9 1/2-inch springform cake pan.

On a lightly-floured surface, roll out the pie dough, then use it to line the prepared pan. The dough should run all the way up the sides of the pan. To trim the dough, fold the excess over the rim, then run a rolling pin over the rim. Refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Peel, core and dice the apples. In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, raisins, cinnamon and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside.

In a food processor, combine all of the streusel ingredients except the walnuts. Process to form coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts and pulse several times to just combine.

Transfer the apple mixture to the pie crust. Sprinkle the streusel mixture over the apples in an even layer. Cover the pie with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Let cool a bit before serving. Top with whipped cream.

If apples just don't do it for you, why not try your hand at making a banana cream pie?

This banana cream pie from James Peterson's "Baking" gets a nutty butterscotch flavor from the addition of browned butter.

And while he doesn't call for it, whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg is always a good topping for this pie.

Banana Cream Pie

Start to finish: 3 hours (1 hour active)

Servings: 8


9- or 10-inch pie pan

Dried beans or rice, for baking the pie shell

For the pie:

1 basic prepared pie crust

3 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

cup sugar

cup cornstarch

cup plus 2 tablespoons brown butter (see recipe below)

3 to 4 ripe bananas

Roll the dough into a round about 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Line the pie pan with the dough, folding the excess under the edge to make it a double thickness. Pinch the rim to make a fluted edge.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pie shell, then fill it with enough dried beans or rice to come up the sides. Bake until the edges are golden brown, then remove the beans and parchment and bake until the center is golden brown, about 15 minutes total.

Set the pie shell aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan over low, bring the milk to a simmer with the vanilla bean or extract.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Pour half of the simmering milk into the egg mixture, stir to combine thoroughly, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.

Increase heat to medium and whisk for about 5 minutes, or until it bubbles and thickens. Remove the vanilla bean, if using. Transfer the custard to a bowl, whisk in the brown butter, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool to room temperature.

Spread a third of the custard over the bottom of the pie shell. Slice 2 of the bananas into between and -inch-thick slices and arrange half of them over the custard in a single layer.

Spread half of the remaining custard over the banana slices, then arrange the remaining sliced bananas on top of the custard. Cover the bananas with the remaining custard.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving, but serve at room temperature. Shortly before serving, slice the remaining banana and arrange on top of the pie.

Browned Butter

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Makes cup

1 cup butter

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium, heat the butter. As it melts, you will notice a lot of foam. After about 3 minutes the foam will subside and the milk solids will coagulate into small but visible particles.

Cook for another 2 minutes, by which point the particles of milk solids should be brown and be clinging to the sides and bottom of the pan. Immediately set the saucepan in a bowl of cold water.

Using a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels or a coffee filter, strain the butter into a storage container. Discard the solids in the filter. Use immediately or refrigerator (where it will keep for months).

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