Area Chefs Share Seasonal Favorites
Traditions are big this time of year, and for many families they include getting together for big meals. Looking for a new wrinkle to those annual repasts? We convinced a few local chefs to share some seasonal and traditional favorites from their own tables.
Alaina and Doug Brackett, the owners of Purple Carrot Bread Co. in Lowell, admit there is no family history behind their cranberry apple pie recipe, but “Doug has been a chef for a while,” Alaina explains, “and he brought some recipes along with him [to the Purple Carrot].”
What she likes about the pie is that “it’s a really cool seasonal dish, a real comfort food.” They’ve even begun serving cranberry apple turnovers to give their customers an idea of what the pie will be like.
Cranberry with apple isn’t the most popular combination for a pie, but Alaina insists the two ingredients meld well and that “it’s a little less thick than an apple pie. The cranberries water it down a bit, so the consistency is more like a raspberry or strawberry pie.”
You’ll notice that the recipe for the crust includes vodka, and when Alaina is teased about how much fun it must be to make, she jokes, “Whenever I make the crust I’m in a rush, so I never really get to enjoy the vodka.”
The vodka crust is the brainchild of the TV show America’s Test Kitchen, she says, which is viewed as gospel by many foodies. The vodka is an essential ingredient that somehow ensures that the crust is “flakey, not overly bready or dry, but just right.”
CRANBERRY APPLE PIE
Foolproof Pie Crust:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) cut into slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into four pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka (no substitutions!)
1/4 cup cold water
Prepare the piecrust before the pie filling so the doughball can chill in the refrigerator before being rolled out.
Process the dry ingredients plus the butter and shortening in a food processor until fully incorporated, then add the vodka and water slowly while scraping the dough off the sides as needed.
The dough should form a soft ball.
Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Gala apples
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 orange (zest and juice)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Cut the doughball in half and roll out each half for the top and bottom of the pie. Core and slice the apples. Saute the apples in the butter, and then add the rest of the filling ingredients.
Cover the bottom of the pie pan with dough, add the pie filling, top with the remaining dough and bake in the oven for 50 minutes at 325 F.
Purple Carrot Bread Co.