Deep-dish Winter Fruit and Walnut Crumb Pie

Last year’s Thanksgiving was a bit over the top.  This I realized when I went back through the archives and found out that not only had I made gluten-free pumpkin pie, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, angel biscuits, and peas with mint, I’d also done a flourless chocolate cake.  Thankfully, I decided to tone it down this year, making only this pie, the peas, and a pumpkin pie.  While going through some of the archives, I also realized that there’d been a snow storm around this time last year.  And that I could freeze biscuit dough if I chose to make them.  And, well, that my hypothesis had been correct when I’d begun this blog.  It’s a perfect way to keep track of things, to remember things.  Not only details like snowstorms, but it shows me how my writing, my ideas, have changed.

This week has been wonderful.  Sunday night I slept a record thirteen hours!  I’ve been able to read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (a wonderful book if you haven’t read it), catch up on James Bond movies, you know, vacation stuff.  The James Bond movies are in fact part of a marathon my whole family is doing.  We’re trying to watch them all.  Now, I’ve missed most of it, owing mainly to homework and swimming, but that’s alright.  My brothers love it though.  The youngest has become particularly enamored by the different theme songs, and even spent twelve dollars of his own money to buy all of them.

As I said, I only made two pies this year, a gluten-free pumpkin pie and this one.  I have to say, the pumpkin pie looks perfect, and I am at least sure that this time it won’t be a soupy mess.  The other pie, this one, also looks divine.  This morning I took out a slice so I could get pictures in the nice morning light.  Then I just put it back in the pan.  Hopefully no one will mind.

Though this pie took a while to make, it wasn’t difficult.  And it’s full of so many different fruits (plus cranberries).  Though I haven’t yet tried the pie, I have had little tastes here and there of the crumb, and the fruit that fell out while returning the pie to the pan.  I have a feeling that the richness of the crumb will balance out the many fruits in the filling beautifully.  The only thing I found to be a little challenging was the pie crust.  I ended up adding perhaps a quarter cup of extra water to the crust just to get it to come together.  This might be be because I normally work with gluten-free pastry, which is much wetter.  The pie was well-reviewed though, so at least start with the smaller amount and then add more water if necessary.

Have a great Thanksgiving, enjoy all the scrumptious food!

Deep Dish Winter Fruit and Walnut Crumb Pie
Adapted (in instructions) from Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson via epicurious

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water (I added 1/4 cup extra because my dough was incredibly dry)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Walnut Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup al-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 cup dried figs (dates would probably work well too)
4 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch (You could also use 4 tablespoons tapioca starch)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt and place in the freezer for ten minutes.  Remove from the freezer and pour into a food processor, then scatter butter over.  Run the processor for just a moment, so the butter begins to break up.  Then return to the bowl and finish working the butter in by hand, so that the pieces of butter are around the size of peas.  Or, do the whole thing by hand.  Mix the water and lemon juice together, then sprinkle over the dry ingredients.  Add extra water if you dough refuses to come together at all as mine did.  You definitely don’t want it to be wet, but you’ll have to be able to form it into a disk.  Then, form it into the requisite disk, about 6 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumb topping by mixing all ingredients together.  Place in the fridge.

After one hour, remove the disk from the fridge.  Place on a well-floured surface and roll out to 14 inches in diameter.  Place in a 9 or ten-inch springform pan with 3-inch high sides.  I find that rolling the crust onto your rolling pin and then draping it over the pan works well.  Patch up certain areas as necessary.  Then, once fitted into the pan, cut off the pieces that hang over the sides, so that the crust comes right to the edges of the pan.  Place the crust in the freezer for half an hour while you prepare the filling.

Place the figs in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then boil for five minutes.  Drain the figs and let them cool.  Then, cut off and discard the stems.  Slice each fig into 4 or 5 pieces.  Adjust the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

Combine the figs with the pears, apples, and cranberries.  Whisk the starch and the sugar together, so that uniform.  Then sprinkle over the fruit and toss to combine.  Turn into the the pan.  I used pretty big apples (resulting in lots of filling), and found myself having to really press the mixture into the pan to get it to fit.  Then sprinkle the topping over the apples.  You may have to break the topping up if it has been in the fridge for a while.

Place the pan on a cookie sheet and set in the bottom third of the oven.  Cook for 60-75 minutes (I used the full 75 minutes because mine was so full).  If the crumbs are getting very dark you may want to cover it with foil.  Remove from the oven and let sit for a little while, maybe 30-60 minutes, before serving.





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About Madeleine C.

Hi I'm Madeleine and I am an avid cook and baker! Between school, homework swimming, and everything else in my life, I really enjoy cooking! I am 15 (now 16) years old, and have two brothers, both of whom have celiac disease along with my father. For this reason, I often make gluten-free things that will satisfy them as well as those who can readily consume gluten. I enjoy making the complex and the simple, and enjoy a challenge while cooking. That's just about it!