I worked as a pastry chef for several years before becoming a nutrition counselor. After culinary school, I skipped around the country working as a line cook, breakfast cook, pastry chef, executive chef and pastry chef again. I ended up with an unexpected reward at the end of it all – interesting friends all over the country. The most valued friend I gained, and probably the most interesting, would be a fellow pastry chef. Long story short, we keep in contact today mostly by speaking of food, a little about our lives, and sharing recipes. We're like foodie pen-pals.
A few weeks ago, she baked a cranberry and walnut pie and sent me a photograph of it. It was one of those moments when I knew I had to get the recipe and try it for myself. The same feeling you get when you see a recipe in a magazine that stands out, so you immediately rip out the page. I asked if I could tweak the recipe to make it a bit healthier, which I did and it turned out lovely. Anytime I enjoy one of her ideas or recipes, I can imagine us back at our old summer job, eating and giggling together in the lunch room.
I plan to make this pie for Thanksgiving, and I hope you do, too. Although my family is unbeatable and our Thanksgivings are always special, I wish I could sit down to such a feast at a large table with all my friends from across the country. A hunting buddy would bring the wild turkey from Montana and a friend from Vermont might roast root vegetables from her farm. My dearest friend would make this pie. As she suggests, it would be served with pumpkin ice cream.
Photo: Rachael Brantene, www.SteerYourOwnShip.com
CRANBERRY WALNUT PIE
Yields 2 pies.
Homemade pie crust recipe of your choice, prepared. Should be enough for two pies. Press into pie tins.
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of salt
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
In a mixing bowl, mix thoroughly all ingredients, except cranberries and walnuts.
Divide the cranberries and walnuts into the two prepared pie tins.
Pour the wet mixture over the cranberries and walnuts, divided evenly.
Place pie tins on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for 35 minutes more.
Let cool slightly before serving. Serve with pumpkin ice cream.