dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table

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. 

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie |A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table
dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table

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.

dry mango spiced apple cranberry pie | A Brown Table

standard double crust pie dough (pastry recipe adapted from the Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

yields: one 9 inch double crust pie

ingredients

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

ingredients

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

300gm jaggery

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! 

 

a spicy pork and mushroom pie plus butternut squash and apple casserole

pork and mushroom pie | A Brown Table

Moving is exciting but doing the work necessary to move is no fun. One would think that, now that we’re t minus 4 days away until the big move, I should have had a good game plan but to be honest I have made none. I’ve packed nothing and I keep dreading every moment of it! We’ve moved four chairs and two bar stools to the house (since the contractors will wrap up in a few days) and I almost forgot, a dog bed. I think my desire to move but not pack is motivated (or not motivated depending on which way you look at it) by the fact that were moving an hour or so away. All I want to do is snap my fingers and make this happen with magic!

However, there are other things that I’ve actually planned out , like my thanksgiving menu. This year, along with my favorite kitchen cookware company, Le Creuset, I've created a couple of special savory dishes for the holiday using their Heritage bakeware collection. These dishesare easy and can be prepared in advance to save time. You can refrigerate the dishes ahead of time by wrapping them up airtight with cling film and foil and then reheat them in the oven just before serving.

The first dish is a spicy pork and mushroom pie which is inspired from the traditional shepherd's pie while the second one is a casserole made with apples and butternut squash (Recipes in links). As you've guessed, comfort food is the theme in each of these two savory dishes.

I flavored the spicy and hot pork and mushroom pie with a dash of garam masala and hot sauce (I used sriracha) then topped it off with a layer of mashed potatoes and parmesan for a delicious cheesy crust. For the apple and butternut squash casserole, the eggs were whisked with a little freshly ground nutmeg and parmesan (the leftovers are also great at breakfast) and that I then used the liquid to envelope the vegetables and apples. An added bonus, the aroma of parmesan sneaking out from your oven!

pork and mushroom pie | A Brown Table
pork and mushroom pie | A Brown Table
Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole | A Brown Table
Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole | A Brown Table
Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole | A Brown Table

Note: This post was sponsored by Le Creuset but all opinions stated are my own.

apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips

apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table

I'm afraid of both the mandolins I own. I've nipped the tips of my fingers a few times in the past (even with the safety guard) and it's a painful and bloody experience where I end up wondering if my fingerprints will be permanently affected. So when I set out to make candied apple chips as the garnish for this post, I was extra careful. So careful, that I couldn't really get that perfect round apple slice. The safety guard really didn't help to hold the apple in place and I had to use my hands and went extra slow which then led to the mandolin slicing the apple at an angle. The mandolin is one of those tools I know I will always need to own to get that perfect thin slice but one that I know will demand a payment in kind. I should get a safety glove at some point. Anyway, fears and fingertips aside, this post is all about apples. 

The weather here has been very hot of late. The roof heats up by mid-afternoon and our living room becomes one big oven as it gets hit by the sun's rays. Snoopy stays in the bedroom where it's cool and windy and only emerges every now and then to eat, a pat or to go out. Consequently, the floor in the bedroom is strewn with puppy toys and tennis balls that I must clean up. To keep him entertained and cool, I make frozen homemade stock cubes but for me, last week, I made myself this fruit and lemony sorbet. An apple sorbet infused with lemongrass and topped off with candied apple chips. 

Except for the fear of slicing the apples, these candied chips are the easiest things to make and also the tastiest. The sweet crunch made me want to eat them all before I could use them to decorate the sorbet. Lemongrass gives a very gentle citrus note to the apple in both taste and fragrance. And on any sweltering hot day, I'd welcome this lemongrass infused apple sorbet because of the refreshing flavors to cool down with. 

apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table
apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table
apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table
apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this dessert;

  • The chips: be extra careful with the mandolin. As soon as the apple is sliced, you must work quickly to prevent browning by covering the slices in the sugar syrup. 
  • Work quickly when transferring the apple chips to the marble surface as once they cool down they will crack on the silicone mat if you try to peel them off. The have to be transferred hot so they are still pliable at that stage.
  • Use fresh lemongrass versus the dry kind, in my hands the flavor was very weak when I tested the dry variety.
  • Apple Juice: If you have a juicer by all means make your own. I recommend Golden Crisp apples or a 50%-50% mix of golden apple and granny smith apples. Otherwise a good quality store bought apple juice (100% apple juice) will work as well.

Here are some other sorbet recipes that you might enjoy:

apple lemongrass sorbet with baked candied apple chips | A Brown Table

apple and lemongrass sorbet

yields: around 4 cups of sorbet

ingredients

1 cup water

3/4 cup (5.29 ounces/150g)brown sugar

4 stalks fresh lemon grass, chopped

2 cups apple juice, fresh

2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained

1 tablespoon honey

1. Place the water, sugar and lemon grass in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the contents to a boil on high-heat, then reduce to a gentle simmer and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow to simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool. 

2. Strain the lemongrass syrup into a large mixing bowl using a strainer and discard the stalks. Stir in the apple juice, lemon juice and honey.  Place the syrup in a gallon ziplock bag and chill in an ice bath for about 30 minutes. 

3. Prepare the sorbet using the manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker. Transfer the sorbet when ready into a freezer-safe airtight container and allow to firm for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with the candied baked apple chips when serving. 

candied baked apple chips

yields: around 20 -30 slices (exact numbers will vary depending on the size of the apple and thickness used)

ingredients

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 large granny smith apple 

a pinch of cream of tartar

1. Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep it simmering.

2. Using a mandolin, slice the apples into discs, as thin as possible. Place the apple slices in a small heat-proof pan or bowl. Quickly stir in the cream of tartar into the simmering hot sugar syrup and pour this liquid directly over the apples. Ensure that all the slices are submerged in the syrup. Allow to sit for at least 1 hour before baking or cover with a lid or clingfilm and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

3. Place two wire racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 200F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats (do not use parchment paper). Drain and reserve the liquid from the apple slices and place them in a single layer on the lined baking pans. Blot them with a parchment paper and place them in the oven for 2 hours. Working with one pan at a time, quickly peel the baked apple slices and transfer them onto a clean marble surface to cool. Transfer the cooled chips into an airtight container for storage. Use as needed.

caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns

caramelized apple sticky buns |A Brown Table

Before we get to these delicious caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns, I need to announce the winner of the giveaway for the Smitten with Squash cookbook by Amanda Paa. Kelli who made a fall themed strudel with butternut squash, caramelized onions and kale is the winner of this giveaway. Kelli, please shoot me an email with your details so I can have your book sent out to you at abrowntable [at] gmail [dot] com.  

caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns |A Brown Tablecaramelized apple and coconut sticky buns |A Brown Table

As a kid, when I thought I would someday enroll in culinary school, I also harbored a not-so-secret desire to become a pastry chef. Pastry chefs are like magicians (or more appropriately culinary scientists) in my head. They come up with wondrous edible marvels that require a good knowledge of chemistry and food both of which make the inner geek in me rather happy. That desire didn't pan out as I would have wished but then this blog came about and now I find myself baking sticky buns at home! 

caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns |A Brown Table

Sticky buns are definitely an indulgent treat however, if I am going to make a batch at home, I like to have them stuffed up with something other than cinnamon and sugar. I decided to fill the swirls in these buns with little bits of apple and golden raisins enveloped with the delicious flavor of coconut. There's a little bit of applesauce to bring all the flavors together in the filling with a hint of cinnamon, all in all I think these are great to serve at a fall inspired brunch or breakfast.

caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns |A Brown Table

I got the basic dough recipe for the sticky buns from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing these guys;

  • Make sure your yeast hasn't expired or else the dough will not ferment and rise properly. 
  • Use fresh cinnamon and firm and ripe Granny Smith apples. Cut those apple bits into small bits so the dough will fold over easily during rolling. Granny Smith apples hold their texture well during baking but they also have a little tartness to them which balances the sweetness of the filling.
  • Personally, I don't like too much of a sugar glaze, so I made a very small amount of glaze for these buns. You can easily increase the amount of glaze by doubling the quantities of the ingredients listed for the glaze below. 
  • I used sliced almonds to top the buns but you can use pecans, walnuts, pistachios and probably any other type of your favorite nut.
caramelized apple and coconut sticky buns |A Brown Table

caramelized apple sticky buns (adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book)

yields: 12 buns

ingredients 

filling

1 lb granny smith apples

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

1/2 cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder, freshly ground 

dough

3 larges eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) brown sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant/rapid-rise yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher sea salt

4 1/4 cups (21 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour + extra for dusting

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled + 1 tablespoon for brushing the dough and greasing the pan (*you can also use a neutral vegetable oil spray to coat the pan, but don't use olive oil)

1/2 cup sliced raw almonds

glaze (if you want more glaze, double the quantity)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground

1. Wash the apples, peel and cored them. Chop the apples into very tiny pieces (the smaller the better as it will be easier to handle when wrapping the dough). 

2. Heat a thick bottomed medium-sized saucepan on a medium-high flame. Melt the butter in the saucepan and then add the apples along with the lemon juice, apple sauce, coconut, raisins, sugar and cinnamon. Mix evenly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for about 8-10 minutes with occasional stirring to prevent any burning. Remove and keep aside until ready to use.

3. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer whisk the eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes. Add the buttermilk and whisk for about 1 minute. Then add the brown sugar, yeast and salt and combine for about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix with the paddle attachment until combined. Then remove and replace the paddle attachment with the dough blade. Add the next 2 cups of flour and the 6 tablespoons of melted butter, mix until the dough comes together for about 5 minutes. 

4. Transfer the dough to a clean and lightly floured surface. Knead with hands for about 5 minutes adding the remaining 1/4 cup flour as needed to bring the dough together. The dough should not be sticky but should be soft and pliable. (You might need to add a little more flour if the 1/4 cup isn't enough, avoid adding too much flour). Once the dough has come together, transfer it to a well-oiled bowl, place it in there and brush lightly with a little oil (a neutral vegetable oil spray would work too). Cover the bowl with cling film and keep it in a warm place. Allow the dough to double in size for about 2 1/2 hours. 

5. Transfer the risen dough to a clean and lightly floured surface and shape it into a small rectangle with your hands. Using a rolling pan, roll out the dough into a 16 X 12 inch rectangle, dusting lightly with flour as needed. Brush the dough with the remaining tablespoon of butter, leaving a half inch border along the top edge. 

6. Using a large flat spoon or silicone spatula, transfer and spread the apple filling over the dough. Smooth with your hand or the spoon. Lightly grease your hands before you handle the dough. Starting with the longer side, begin to lift the dough and roll, pressing tightly but gently to form a cylinder. Pinch the ends firmly to seal the cylinder. Using your hands, gently shape the cylinder to an even diameter. The cylinder should be around 18 inches in length. Using a sharp serrated bread knife, gently cut through the center of the cylinder with a sawing motion. Cut each half similarly into 6 equal parts. Line a rectangular baking (13 X 11 inch) dish with parchment paper, grease lightly with a little butter (or spray lightly with an oil spray). Place each of the 12 buns in the pan cut side down, arranged next to each other. Cover and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm spot. 

7. While the buns are rising, prepare the glaze. In a small stockpot, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter on a medium-high flame. Add the sugar, honey, water, salt and cinnamon and stir until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring the syrup to a boil and then cook for another 5 minutes with constant stirring until it just begins to caramelize.  Immediately remove from stove and keep aside until ready to use. If the glaze begins to harden, warm it slightly before use to melt and add 2 -3 tablespoons of water to dissolve it. 

8. Place a wire rack in the center of the oven and a pizza stone on it (if you don't have a pizza stone to bake with, just use the wire rack). Heat the oven to 350F. Once the oven is warm, sprinkle the almonds over the buns and bake the pan with the buns for about 20-25 minutes until just golden brown. Immediately remove from oven and carefully drizzle with the warm glaze all over the top of the buns. Transfer the buns back into the oven and bake for another 6-8 minutes until the glaze just begins to caramelize (watch it carefully to make sure it doesn't burn). Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Slide the buns out of the pan using the parchment paper onto a wire rack. Serve warm by pulling the buns apart or cutting through with a serrated knife.