Maple Walnut Pie

I know I said they would not have had pie. And that is true. Not only did they not have flour, and probably did not have enough butter and sugar, but they also did not have ovens for baking. So this is totally unrealistic. But I did attempt to make a completely authentic dessert with corn meal sweetened with maple syrup for the crust and a blueberry, cranberry compote and I have to say you will thank me for this diversion from reality. It was pretty terrible.

Anyway, Maple and Walnuts were very abundant, and Thanksgiving just needs pie.

For the shell
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not authentic)
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits (probably not authentic)
2 1/2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening (not authentic)
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

For the filling
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon maple extract or flavor (available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (not authentic)
3 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (not authentic)
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (not authentic)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound chopped walnuts (about 2 1/3 cups)

a thin strip of orange zest, removed with a vegetable peeler, for garnish if desired
whipped cream dusted with cinnamon as an accompaniment if desired

Make the shell:
In a food processor blend together the flour, the salt, the butter, and the shortening until the mixture resembles meal and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the water, toss the mixture until the water is incorporated, adding as much of the remaining 2 tablespoons water as necessary to form a dough, and form the dough into a ball. Dust the dough with flour and chill it, wrapped in wax paper, for 1 hour. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 9 1/2-inch (1 1/2-quart) deep-fish pie plate. Crimp the edge of the dough decoratively and chill the shell for 3 minutes.
Make the filling:
In a bowl whisk together the syrup, the butter, the cinnamon, the maple extract, the flour, the eggs, the grated zest, the juice, and the salt until the filling is smooth and stir in the walnuts.
Pour the filling into the shell and bake the pie in the lower third of a preheated 450°F. oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F., bake the pie for 30 minutes more, or until it is golden and just set, and transfer it to a rack. Let the pie cool, garnish it with the orange zest strip, and serve it with the whipped cream.


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