It’s Christmastime, all over the world. In places near and far. And so my friend, wherever you are…
Så riktig God Jul, Feliz Natal, Shenoraavor Nor Dari, Feliz Navidad, Sretan Bozic, Ein fröhliches Weihnachten, Kala Christougenna, Yoi kurisumasu..
When I was a little girl, I would play that song over and over again on my little kiddy record player, with the penny taped tightly to the arm on so the needle wouldn’t skip. I listened so intently to try to decipher the languages of “Merry Christmas,” closing my eyes and imagining myself breathing in the baked-fresh goodness of the holidays on European cobblestone streets or sitting down to a family-filled feast on a remote island. Wow, food was part of the storyline of my heart even then.
If I could invite folks from places near and far to celebrate Christmas at CasaRock, two pies would certainly be on the menu. One would be Susie Davis’s buttermilk pie with that super-good no-roll pie crust. I don’t understand how buttermilk can transform from something so, well – buttermilky to something so divine, but I’m glad someone thought enough to make it happen.
The second pie would be Rustic Cranberry-Apple. The maple-infused cranberries hug up to cinnamon-kissed apples and then snuggle under a wonderful crumble blanket. It even looks and smells like Christmas. I’m not a huge apple pie fan, but this one has me hooked. While it does take a little time to prepare, simmering the apples and cranberries a bit before baking means pie is ready sooner. And that means celebrations start sooner. Oh, and the “rustic” part? That just means it doesn’t have to look perfect. No matter what, it will BE perfect.
So what would be on your “must serve” list for Christmas PieDay? Better than that, who would be on your “folks from places near and far” list? You’d definitely be on mine!
Rustic Cranberry Apple Pie
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cranberries
1/4 cup maple syrup (use a richer syrup – I have a bottle of Blis from William-Sonoma, which is a bit magical)
1 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
5 apples – peeled, cored and sliced (I do a mixture of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell and some extra dough for decorations
1 cup quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saucepan, mix together white sugar, 1/4 cup flour, salt, spices and vanilla. Stir in cranberries and maple syrup. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly. When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir apples into simmering mixture, and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until apples are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in walnuts. Pour apple mixture into pie shell; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine oats, 3/4 cup flour, brown sugar, and melted butter. Mix well, and sprinkle over apple filling. Bake 30 -45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm, if you can wait that long. I can’t.