Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Pie

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."
~President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

The carrying on of a legacy, the ushering in of a new era....

No matter which side of the political fence you stand on, whether you agree or disagree with the proposed policies and reforms of the party now entering our capitol, whether you are excited for or disappointed in the choice of our new president, yesterday was a moment to pause and reflect, to recognize that this nation is about to embark upon a new page in history, for good or for ill. And each and every one of us can and will take part in etching the blank slate that lays before us.

How can you live as a true, loyal American citizen linking our invaluable heritage with our emerging future, preserving what is good, eradicating what is deficient?

This momentous day in history deserved a special, commemorative meal. And, although, we did not eat on fine China like those feasting at the Capitol (in fact, Styrofoam as our dishwasher was uncooperative in washing the dishes all day), our meal contained all the pomp and circumstance worthy of such an historic day.

We feasted on baked brie wrapped in phyllo and topped with cranberry sauce, a dish of maple chicken with sweet potatoes and onions, Caesar salad, and sourdough bread.

But the highlight of the evening was the star-studded Inauguration Pie. The recipe comes from the annals of Pilgrim history, straight from the cookbooks of the original citizens of this great country. It was an apple-cranberry pie with cornmeal crust.

The crust from this recipe was the best I have ever tasted in a pie. The cornmeal gave it a slightly more earthy flavor than your basic pie crust, and a delightful texture. I've been brainstorming other fillings I could use with this crust and perhaps a sable-type cookie, capitalizing on some of the flavors captured in the crust. I'll keep you updated... :-)

Apples and cranberries were a winning combination for this pie. Truly, they perform a perfect duet for any autumn or winter pie. I used American Cameos. It was my first experience with the Cameo. They were a perfect choice for pie apples. They reminded me of Galas.

Inauguration Pie
adapted from Colonial Times Apple-Cranberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust on

2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. yellow cornmeal

5 T. sugar

1 1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 t. salt
3/4 c. plus 2 T. butter, cold

(recipe called for room-temperature shortening but I prefer real butter in my crusts)

6 T. buttermilk (roughly, I used a little more)

Mix dry ingredients together. If using butter, cut in diced butter and mix with your fingers. Add buttermilk by the tablespoonful slowly, mixing with your hands until the dough comes together. Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in fridge for about an hour. (Can be made a day ahead.)


1 c. fresh cranberries

2/3 c. brown sugar

2 t. pumpkin pie spice

3 - 3 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used
American Cameos)
1/2 c. dried cranberries (or currants)

5 T. all-purpose flour

buttermilk for brushing on top of pie

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coarsely chop cranberries with sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a food processor. Place in large mixing bowl with apples, dried cranberries, and flour, and toss well.

Roll out one dough disc between two pieces of plastic wrap and place in the bottom of a deep pie dish. Fold extra dough under edge and crimp down. Roll out second dough disc and cut out with a 3-inch or so cookie cutter of your choice, such as a leaf, heart, or animal. I used a star cutter to keep with my patriotic theme.

Place the cut-outs around the edge and over the top, overlapping the pieces together. Brush the pastry with the buttermilk. (I wanted to place a bit of blue food coloring in some of the buttermilk to achieve a red, white and blue pie, but, alas, couldn't find any in the pantry... :-( )

Bake the pie 45 minutes. Then, cover the pie with foil and continue baking until juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes. (I missed this step as I went out for a walk which singed my crust a bit on the top... It was only in the oven a total of 65 minutes.)
Cool for at least an hour.

Adorn with a scoop of ice cream when serving. (The original recipe called for rum raisin ice cream. I managed to find some by Haagen Daaz but it wasn't very popular with the family. French vanilla was the flavor of preference.)

1 comment:

Rye-Rye said...

Is this the actual recipe or your altered version? It really doesn't matter to me since I usually am the one eating the things you make and not baking them myself, but I thought I would ask anyway. :-) The pie was esquisitely delicious and purely American! It will surely have to be a new tradition! But, do we really have to wait another four years to eat it?