Thursday, February 13, 2014

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Cran-Apple Pie



Much like the title of this recipe, this pie is quite a mouthful. But there are so many delicious ingredients! And I didn't even mention the lemon zest, or the fact that it is gluten free, or that it only contains honey as a sweetener. How do you like them apples? Very bad pun intended, as it isn't even that funny.

Whatever.

I do what I want these days.

Also, saying that I do what I want is probably just a cover-up for the fact that I don't do what I want. But it is fine. 

This is me attempting to get it together. Time to get back on the horse. Months of sickness and I have experienced much, found health, hope to keep it for a long, long time, and in the midst of processing all of the feels, and what I have learned, and where I should go from here, I sometimes get a little bit stuck! But no longer! There is no time for that. 

I spend a lot of moments brainstorming about how to thank all of you who have been so wonderful to me during very hard times, and I find that my heart gets really overwhelmed and I have to make pie.

Valentine's Day is a commercial joke, but if it encourages others to give love more than usual, let's celebrate it! This is my valentine to you, a little pie with hearts on it to let you know I am so thankful for your support and prayers.

This also may or may not be for a very special dinner this evening. Two of my best friends from my growing up years are DATING! Double dates?! All of the love! It's too much for me. I just can't. 

Enjoy the snowy day! Stay in! Make delicious food, and don't forget dessert! Give someone some love tomorrow whether or not you have a hunny, got it? I personally will be at a ladies only party for fondue and I am not sorry. 

And for G, you are the butter to my bread and the breath to my life - love you! Thanks for that special quote, Julia Child! 

The Best Gluten Free Crust
makes one double crust

2 and 1/4 c gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
10 tbs chilled butter, grated
1/2 c chilled whole milk
1/4 c ice water 

- Combine the dry ingredients, then mix in the grated butter with a fork until it resembles meal. Remember throughout this process that there is no gluten in this dough, so you can't overwork it! Add in the milk to incorporate and add enough ice water until it comes together to form a ball. Divide in half, refrigerate in saran wrapped discs for 30 minutes. While in the fridge, begin on the filling.

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Cran-Apple Filling
if you only desire to make this as a compote, just cook down the apples with the cranberries for a tasty sauce to accompany ice cream!

3 tbs butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2  generous c frozen cranberries
1/2 c water
3 tbs honey
4 generous cups apples with skins on, diced to the size of the cranberries for consistency
zest of 1 lemon

- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and vanilla beans over medium heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl to set aside. Add to the same saucepan, the cranberries, 1/4 c water and 3 tbs honey. Simmer until the cranberries pop and the mixture starts to gel, about 3-4 minutes. Toss in the apples, the brown butter vanilla mixture, the lemon zest, and add another tbs of honey or so to taste. Preheat the oven to 375.
- Take one of the discs of pie dough out of the fridge and place between two pieces of parchment or plastic wrap and roll out. Place into the bottom of the pie plate, pour in the filling. Roll out the second piece of dough and create a top layer OR cut into the shapes you desire, keeping the dough chilled and the cut pieces in the freezer as this gluten free mixture softens and breaks easily. Work quickly and keep things cold! Brush the top crust with egg, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes until top is browned to your liking.