‘Tis the season for holiday parties, which provide an excellent opportunity and some captive guinea pigs to try some new winter desserts on. At the last party, someone had rather sweetly been disappointed I hadn’t made pie, so I thought I’d investigate some new pie recipes appropriate for the season. Enter: winter fruit pie, an interesting combination of tart and sweet fruits.
adapted from Epicurious
¾ cup dried fig
4 small apples (like Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced ½” thick
4 pears (Bosc), peeled, cored and sliced ½” thick
1 cup fresh cranberries
½ cup granulated sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
Nut crumb topping
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted
Pie dough (1.5 recipe) with an extra tbsp of sugar added
Preheat the oven to 375 F. To make nut crumb topping, mix flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and pecans together in a bowl. Stir in the butter and work it with your hands until it has the texture of crumbs. Chill in refrigerator until needed. Slice each fig into 4 or 5 pieces and put into large bowl. Add apples, pears and cranberries. Separately stir together cornstarch and sugar, then add to fruit and gently toss until evenly coated.
Roll out prepared dough into a 12″ disk to fit a 9.5″ deep dish pie plate. Pour filling into pie shell, making sure to even out the filling so that the crumb lies flat. Sprinkle crumb thickly over top until fruit is completely covered. Bake in lower third of the oven for 75 min, or until crumb is golden and fruit is tender when pierced with a toothpick. Cover with foil if crumb is getting too dark. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. When covered with a tea towel, pie will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
A few notes on preparation: In order to test out ways of preventing a soggy crust, I tried brushing the pie sheet with a slightly beaten egg white before adding the fruit filling (which is supposed to create a seal and prevent fruit juices from en-soggifying things).
I made the pie the night before the holiday party and warmed it the next day. Yummy noises were made, and the pie voraciously consumed, though funnily enough, I didn’t actually get a chance to eat it until the following morning for breakfast. I really enjoyed the combination of pear, apple, fig and cranberry flavours–the fig was rich, sweet and creamy against the tartness of the cranberry, and the apple and pear provided a mellow sweetness. The crumble was also a delicious touch–a nice crunchy texture to balance out the deep dish of softened fruits.