M. Andrew Gordon

Rustic New England Pie

In Baked Goods, Desserts, Pies on November 27, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Threatened way back in October, here it is: a dessert pie with beets in it.  I took to calling this the rustic New England pie, as it’s flavors of apples and cranberries, beets and maple syrup call to mind the flavors of autumn in New England.

Surprisingly, this was a lot sweeter than many thought it might be.  And coupled with the beet-infused whipped cream, made for a different take on an apple-cranberry pie.  While I almost always like a cup of coffee with dessert, I have to say that Mayflower Brewing’s Porter was a fine accompaniment.

You can use whatever apples you like here so long as they are a firm apple suitable for cooking.  I believed I used Hampshire and they worked fine; more common varieties that would be good substitutes include Macoun or Braeburn.  As for the dough, I use a slightly sweet all butter dough.  I know there are proponents on either side of this divide.  I intend to experiment more with lard in dough but this is a  pretty good dough and since I always have butter on hand, it has become my default recipe.

Rustic New England Pie

  • 2- ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 to 7 tablespoons ice water or more, if needed
  • 2 large beets, peeled and shredded in a food processor
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup

1. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add butter and pulse again until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add the water a few tablespoons at a time and pulse to combine.  When the dough is together, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.  Separate into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about an hour.

2. Place shredded beets in a colander and set over a bowl.  Sprinkle salt and sugar over beets and toss.  Let stand for at least 15 or 20 minutes to draw out moisture.  Reserve beet juice.

3.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Place a heaping cup of beets, the apples, and cranberries in a bowl.  Add brown sugar and maple syrup and stir to combine.

4. Roll out one disk of dough until thin and large enough to fit into a pie dish.  Fit and trim to leave about one inch around the edge of the dish.  Roll out the other disk and reserve.  Pour fruit mixture into dish and place second piece of dough on top.  Trim that and pinch and fold the edges to seal.  Make several cuts across the top to allow steam to escape.  Brush dough with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake for about one hour.  Let cool and serve with beet-maple whipped cream.

Beet-Maple Whipped Cream

  • 1 pint of whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons beet juice (from pie recipe)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Place whipping cream in a stand mixer and begin beating.  As cream starts to thicken, pour in beet juice and maple syrup and continue beaten until stiff peaks form.


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