Ashlae of Oh Ladycakes is one of the friendliest bloggers I know, she's fun and full of good energy. She's a whiz when it comes to baking vegan pastries and recently, she and her husband visited all the places in India that M's being wanting to see such as the Taj Mahal and the beautiful palaces of Rajasthan. At one point, we even talked about meeting up with her in India on her trip but then things got busy with house hunting and we had to skip any big trips for the year. However, I did get an opportunity to do something fun with her this year and it's all about pies! Ashlae organized a fun virtual pie party for which I've baked this apple and cranberry whole-wheat lattice pie that's infused the filling with dry mango powder and jaggery.
Here's a confession: I've always avoided lattice pies on the blog because honestly, it is easier to show how to weave the framework versus writing how to do it. I hope the large panel of photos below makes it a bit easier to see the weaving. Your basically draping a few strips of pastry in one direction and then you keep alternating and folding the other strips over each other.
I've announced, the winner of the America's Test Kitchen cookbook giveaway on Instagram! Have a great holiday and stay warm.
Here are some of my kitchen tips when preparing this pie that you might find useful;
- Use chilled ingredients and make sure even the equipment is cool. Anything that the pastry will touch should be cool to touch, that's my rule when it comes to making a flaky pastry.
- Choose apples that are low in water and not too sweet when making an apple pie. Granny Smiths are great but this time I used Golden Delicious apples (you can also use a half and half ratio if you want to mix things up).
- I've incorporated two ingredients commonly used in Indian cooking. Amchur, is a powder obtained by dry raw green mangoes and it balances the tart flavors of the cranberries and apples in the filling by giving it a mild hint of tanginess yet warmth. I use jaggery which is a type of raw brown sugar found in most Indian stores and even online. I advocate using jaggery because the filling doesn't end up being too sweet and it also gives the filling an earthy flavor, it's almost smoky (if that makes any sense). Brown sugar on the other hand though a good substitute can make the filling cloyingly sweet.
- I've included step-by-step photos for the lattice prep process. It's easier than it looks and requires a little extra effort and patience. But it's worth it. I'm not the best
I used Rose Levy Bernabaum's recipe from her book The Baking Bible . Her cream cheese technique is pure genius and the crust is flaky. I did make a few changes by using whole-wheat pastry flour which is low in gluten (so the pastry is flakier and made with whole grain) and I also incorporate a little sugar in to the pastry dough to give it a hint of sweetness.
standard double crust pie dough (pastry recipe adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
yields: one 9 inch double crust pie
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks/170gm) unsalted butter, chilled
290gm whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 teaspoons fine grain sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
128gm cream cheese, cold
3 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1 tablespoon (15mL) cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar or sparkling sugar
1. Cube the butter into small chunks, wrap with plastic film and freeze for 30 minutes.
2. Dry whisk the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder and freeze in an airtight container for 30minutes. Attach the dough blade to a food processor, then put the flour mixture into the bowl of the food processor. Cube the cream cheese into 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Pulse the mixture for about 30 seconds until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cubes of frozen butter and pulse until the butter cubes are reduced to the size of small peas. Add the cream (or milk) and cider vinegar and pulse until the entire mixture resembles chunky particles. Transfer this to a dry clean gallon ziploc bag. Remove most of the air from the bag and then seal it. Using the heel of your hand knead and press the mixture from the outside of the bag to bring the dough together. Open the bag and transfer the dough to a large sheet of cling film. Form a large ball of dough and then divide it into two-thirds and one-third. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before using (you can make the dough up to 2 days in advance).
3. For the pie shell, use the two-thirds portion and for the 10 strip lattice use the one-third. To roll out the dough, either use a lightly floured cold surface such as marble stone or a silicone pastry mat. Alternatively, you can also roll out each pastry portion between sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough out from center outwards with uniform pressure to get a thickness of 1/8 inch. Add very little flour when rolling it out, just enough to prevent it from sticking. For a 9 inch lattice pie, roll it out to get a 12 inch diameter circle. Place the rolled out circle of pastry over the pie pan and fit it to the pie plate. Take care to avoid stretching the pastry or it might might shrink during baking.
4. Fill the pie with the apple cranberry filling (at room temperature) and spread it out evenly using a large spoon or spatula.
5. Roll out the remaining 1/3 portion of pastry and any remaining scraps of pastry together to form 10 inch circle. Using a fluted pastry roller cut the pastry into twelve, 1/2 inch wide strips. Use the strips to weave a lattice as shown in the step-by-step images above in the instructional panel. Start by layering 6 strips across the length of the pie at equal distance and then weave the remaining 6 strips of pastry to form the lattice. You can trim the excess pastry strips hanging off the edges of the pie and then fold the pastry from the base to wrap the edges. Optional:If you have leftover pastry, you can also cut out small stars and glue them with a little water and line them along the edge of the pie to form a border and put one large star in the center.
6. Brush the lattice lightly with the remaining tablespoon of milk and sprinkle with the sparkling/granulated sugar. Refrigerate the pie for 45 minutes wrapped loosely with plastic wrap. In the meantime, place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 400F. Bake the chilled pie for 45 to 60 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving warm.
dry mango apple and cranberry pie filling
yields: enough filling for one 9 inch pie
3 lbs (1360gm) Golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 cups (300gm) fresh/frozen cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons amchur (dry mango powder)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1. Mix the apples and lemon juice together and keep aside.
2. Place the cranberries, amchur, water and jaggery in medium thick-bottomed saucepan and heat on medium-low heat. Cover with a lid, stir occasionally and crush the cranberries with the base of wooden spoon, cook until the jaggery has dissolved.
3. Fold in the apples and cover the saucepan with the lid. Cook for another 10 minutes until the apples start to get translucent. Stir in the cornstarch and cook for another 5 minutes until the mixture becomes very thick. The apples should be tender but not mushy. Remove from stove, cool to room temperature or refrigerate if preparing a day or two in advance.
Note: Thank you to PieBox for sending me one of their gorgeous handcrafted pie boxes for this post!