Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Perfect Pie For Epiphany

January 6th is a  pretty special day. Known as The Twelfth Day Of Christmas (regardless of how many drummers you  have drumming)... Twelfth Night... the first day, or Feast of Epiphany... and around here, we also remember it as Dad's birthday. It's a day to mark  transitions (maybe even more so than New Year's), as well as the revelation of something remarkable. To me, that's a date that deserves special observance.

This is the perfect pie for the occasion.* Sweet, but not too sweet. Festive, but without strict nostalgic ties to any other holiday. Comforting, as all apple pies should be. Sparkling, with surprising flavors to awaken your palate from all the hearty winter foods of late. A transitional pie. A revelatory pie.

What good is a transition from the old unless it holds the promise of the new? What I'm talking about is a pie that brought with it an epiphany of it's own. You see, while baking these pies, I just might have discovered something possibly almost semi-groundbreakingly new. I've got that feeling you get when you think you've invented something cool, only to find out that everyone already knows about it... and has known for years. More experimentation is necessary (in other words, more pies need to be baked) before I can unveil it though. And that means more butter must be procured.

A little patience... a lot of butter... and many more pies... I can tell already, it's going to be a great year.  A great NEW year. Make of it what you will....

But first make a pie.

Apple-Ginger-Cranberry Pie from Williams-Sonoma

Notes: The original recipe is for one double-crusted deep-dish pie. Since I don't have a deep-dish pie pan, I made two regular 9" pies. For the first, I used the pie crust recipe that was included. I didn't like it much but I made it work... somehow. It didn't have enough water, I took too long to make it, and it was way too hot in my kitchen. The fact that it not only turned out, but tasted good too, should prove that scratch pie crusts are not as hard to pull off as their reputation would have us think. 

More Notes: For the second pie crust, I went back to Martha. Her pie crusts never let me down. I used her Perfect Pie Crust since it used less butter (running low), but I ended up getting distracted and put two whole sticks in anyway. Oops. To make up for it, I rolled the crust out on the thin side and was able to cut the top lattice out of the scraps, giving me enough dough left over for another single-crust pie or quiche! Talk about yanking victory out of the jaws of defeat... sometimes I even impress myself.

* Yes!... I know that there is a "traditional" cake for Twelfth Night. I didn't make one of those though. I made a pie instead. Check out some of the fascinating history of the King Cake and Gallette Des Rois, Twelfthcakes and Epiphany Tarts, The Feast of Epiphany, and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night play (also made into a movie).
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