It comes in waves… the grief of losing my great-grandmother. I didn’t cry at her funeral until the very end when a few tears came involuntarily when I saw my grandmother touch her mother’s coffin as they took her away. A swell of tears begin to fill my eyes thinking about it now. During the week, I like to work on recipes that I will make and shoot on the weekend. I wanted to do something for my great-grandmother because she was a chef and loved nothing more than to feed everyone she saw. But… I haven’t been able to think of anything that represents her. I can’t think of anything she used to make. It is like my mind is trying to erase those memories of her. I wish I could speak to her again. Ask her more about her childhood that always fascinated me and ask her for those recipes she promised I would learn one day. She was so proud of everyone. No matter what the accomplishment was, she was proud of it. Family meant so much to her and her love was palpable. My last memory of her before she had her stroke and everything changed was two years ago. I was really involved in my quest to lose weight (a battle I am currently losing) and she was so impressed with my ability to cook delicious and healthy meals (meals I promise I will share with you one day). I could tell she felt so much happiness eating my food and tasting how good it was. Good food meant a lot to her. It is a trait we share. I feel like out of every accomplishment I ever achieved, cooking was the one she was most proud of because I could be someone to pass on her legacy through her recipes. Recipes from her that I never had a chance to learn. Nothing was written down. It all came from her mind and her heart she said. My one childhood memory was baking pie. She baked pie with all her grandchildren. I don’t remember what kind of pie. I actually don’t even remember making pie at all, but I am always reminded of the pies we would make together. So today, I am making a bourbon cherry apple pie because I feel like it is a pie she would love. I hate making pie crust, but my great-grandmother did, so I made this crust for you. It is flaky, buttery and definitely the best part of the pie, as it should be. The cherries and apples blend perfectly together with a hint of cinnamon and bourbon to create a homey warmth that will make you feel safe and happy. There isn’t a whole lot of sugar added because the apples and cherries provide enough of their own natural sweetness.
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut in cubes and chilled
- 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
- 4 tablespoons bourbon, cold
- 4 tablespoons cold water
Cherry Apple Filling
- 1 lbs cherries, pitted and cut in quarters
- 1 1/2 large Granny Smith apples*, thinly sliced and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon cornflower
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 - 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut in small squares
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Juice & zest of half a lemon
- egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
- Mix the dry ingredients for the crust together and cut in the butter and shortening. It is easiest to do this in a food processor, but a pastry cutter or two knives would work too. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
- Slowly cut in the bourbon and the water and mix until a dough forms. It should feel sticky to tough. Cut the dough in two and form two 4 inch discs. Cover the discs in plastic and put in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
- Roll out one of the discs so it is about 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Place on an ungreased pie pan and cut off any overhang. Flute the edges if desired. Chill for another 20 minutes.
- Cover the pie crust with an aluminum foil and weigh it down with dry beans or uncooked rice. Blind bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and discard the aluminum and rice or beans. Set aside crust.
- Roll out the second disc with the same dimensions as the first and chill.
- Mix the cherry and apple together with the sugar, cornflower, cinnamon, bourbon, butter, salt and lemon together. Allow it to rest for about five minutes.
- Use a pastry cutter or pizza cutter to slice 1 inch ribbons from the second pie crust.
- Put the filling in the pie crust and take ribbon of pie crust (I recommend one of the smaller end pieces) and twist it a few times around then begin a swirl at the middle of the pie going outward. Take another ribbon, twist and pinch one end of the ribbon to the one already places on the pie and continue the swirl. Continue until you reach the outside of the pie.
- Mix the egg yolk and the milk together in a small bowl and brush over the pie crust. Sprinkle the top with sugar.
- Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes, or until the crust is a nice golden brown.
The spiral pie top was inspired by the July/August 2014 Martha Stewart magazine.
*Can use two medium apples