You know it happens. Every year, someone gives you that one gift. The one gift that you hate more than socks as a kid, as ugly sweater as a teenager, that post holiday credit card bill as an adult. A gift so horrid, so vile, so despised that it strikes fear into the most courageous of men and stoic of women. And yet the only thing that one can do is try not to shriek in terror and say thank you to the elderly aunt who bestowed the darkness upon your doorstep.
You know which one I’m talking about. I’m talking about that dried fruit on a basket plate that you get every year, probably from the Hickory Farms kiosk in the mall. The one with the disgusting strawberry bonbon candies on it.
Anyways, so now you have this plate of fruit rocks on your hands you’re stuck with something to do with all that… regularity. Throw it away? No, that’s wasteful. Feed it to the dog? Don’t want to chance sudden death. It’ll just sit there on the table for days, weeks, even months before someone (in a moment of desperation) fishes out the apricots to use in breakfast oatmeal one morning.
Been in this situation?
Fear not, dear reader. I have your solution to the conundrum of what to do with all that dried fruit. A solution so grand, so beautiful, it could make the angels weep. This year, I made all of that into a pie masked heavily with cranberries. Maybe you should too, and then really mean those thanks to Aunt Bessie next year.
For the dough:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-1 1/3 stick butter, very cold, chopped
-Pinch of salt
For the filling:
-1 bag fresh cranberries
-2 granny smith apples, peeled and chopped into a small dice
-2 fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped into a fine dice
-1 orange, juiced
-Zest of half of that orange, julienned into 1/2″strips
-2 cups chopped walnuts
-1 cup dried apricots, chopped fine
-1 cup mission figs, halved
-1 cup smyrna figs, halved
-1/2 cup raisins, plumped in water
-1/2 cup currants, also plumped in water
-7 whole cloves
-1 thumb sized knob ginger, peeled
-1 star anise pod
-1 stick cinnamon
-1 cup sugar
-3/4 cup water
-1/8 cup cider vinegar
-1 tablespoon kosher salt
1. start the filling. Put all ingredients (except the spices and ginger) into a heavy bottomed saucepot. Tie the spices and ginger into a cheesecloth bag and drop that in the pot too. Turn the heat on low.
2.Start with your pie dough. In a large bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Add the butter and cut it into the flour until it is well incorporated.
3. Add the ice water to the flour and butter one tablespoon at a time and continue to blend everything. You should use about 5-6 tablespoons.
4. When the dough holds together well, combine it all in a ball and wrap it in plastic film. Set it in the fridge and let it rest at least 15 minutes, but about an hour should be fine if you have the time.
5. Stir the filling. Cook it down slowly, stirring occasionally, until it thickens on its own. It will take seventeen forevers to do this.
6. When the filling is thickened, turn off the heat. Then roll out your pie dough. Also, preheat the oven to 450 degrees now.
7. When you have the pie crust in the dish, brush the inside of the crust with egg white. This will prevent the pie filling from making the crust soggy.
8. Pour in the filling. Cover the top with the second pie crust and secure the edges.
9. Wash the top crust with more egg white and poke a few decorative vent holes in the top of the crust.
10. Cover the edges of the pan with foil to prevent burning. Put the pie in the oven.
11. Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 450, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for 35-45 minutes more.
12. In the last few minutes of baking, remove the foil from the crust edges to allow them to brown.
13. When the pie is finished (the top will be firm and golden), remove it from the oven to cool.