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Pear-Cranberry Pie

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A mixture of pears and bright red cranberries make a colorful filling for this winter pie, a perfect choice for holiday celebrations. Making a lattice crust with strips of different widths gives it a fun casual look.

 

Pear-Cranberry Pie

2 rolled-out rounds deep-dish piecrust

2 1/2 lb. (1.25 kg) pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices each

1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) cornstarch

2 Tbs. kirsch

1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) fresh or frozen cranberries

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

2 tsp. turbinado sugar

 

Fit 1 dough round into a 9-inch (23-cm) deep-dish pie dish and gently press into the dish. Trim the edges flush with the rim. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Using a ruler as a guide, cut 10 strips of dough of varying widths, from about 3/8 inch (1 cm) to about 1 1/4 inches (3 cm) wide, from the remaining dough round. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

 

To prepare the filling, in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stir together the pears, the brown and granulated sugars, the cinnamon, salt, lemon juice, orange zest and cornstarch. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are just tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their ripeness. Uncover, stir in the kirsch and let cool to room temperature.

 

Stir the cranberries into the pear mixture and pour the filling into the prepared pie dish.

 

To create the lattice, lay 5 strips of dough spaced evenly apart on top of the pie filling. Fold back every other strip halfway and lay down a strip perpendicular across the unfolded strips. Repeat to place 5 strips of dough evenly across the top, folding back the alternate strips each time. Pinch the lattice strips onto the dough on the rim of the pie dish to make sure they bake together. Brush the lattice crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

 

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling has begun to bubble, 45 minutes to 1 hour; check the pie after 30 minutes and cover the top and edges with foil if they become too dark. Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at least 2 1/2 hours before serving. Serves 8.

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Orange–Poppy Seed Mini Muffins

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With their lively crunch, poppy seeds make a festive addition to quick breads. To enhance and deepen their subtle flavor, steep the seeds in milk before adding to the batter. Like nuts, poppy seeds are rich in oils, and they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if kept for more than a few months.

You can also bake these muffins in 12 standard muffin cups. Fill them three-fourths full, and increase the baking time to 15 to 18 minutes. For a simpler topping, omit the glaze and sprinkle with Demerara sugar before baking.

 

Orange–Poppy Seed Mini Muffins

3 Tbs. poppy seeds

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) whole milk

1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. grated orange zest

2 large eggs

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) granulated sugar

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) plus 1 Tbs. orange juice

1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) confectioners’ sugar

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400°F (200°C). Butter 24 mini-muffin-pan cups or line them with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the poppy seeds and milk and let stand for 20 minutes. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Set aside.

 

If mixing the muffins by hand, in a bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Stir in the granulated sugar, butter, the 1/4 cup orange juice, and the milk–poppy seed mixture, stirring until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula just until moistened.

 

If using a mixer, in a bowl, beat the eggs on low speed until blended. Add the granulated sugar, butter, the 1/4 cup orange juice and the milk-poppy seed mixture and beat on low speed just to combine. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened.

 

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 12–14 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then turn out onto the rack.

 

To make the glaze, in a bowl, stir together the remaining orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the warm muffins in a zigzag pattern.

 

Makes 24 mini or 12 standard muffins

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Cinnamon-Crunch Sweet Potato Muffins

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Sweet potatoes are available year-round but are most abundant in markets in autumn and winter. Some of these edible roots—members of the morning glory family—have tan skin and light yellow flesh; others have darker red-orange skin and flesh. The latter type is often called a yam in the United States, although it is not a true yam. Red-orange sweet potatoes are slightly moister and sweeter than the tan variety, which has the same texture as a russet potato when cooked and mashed.

 

Cinnamon-Crunch Sweet Potato Muffins

For the topping

3 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the muffins

2 sweet potatoes, about 14 oz. (440 g) total, peeled and cut into chunks

1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil or walnut oil

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) milk

1/2 tsp. orange oil, or grated zest of 1 orange

3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) pecans, coarsely chopped

Unsalted butter for serving

To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

To make the muffins, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until slightly fluffy. Scrape the sweet potatoes into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, milk and orange oil and whisk vigorously for 1 minute. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and beat until completely blended. Add the flour mixture and stir until just evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans until just evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them three-fourths full. Sprinkle with the topping, dividing evenly. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve them warm, with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

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Recipe Roundup: Fall Baking

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As much as we love sweet berries and stone fruits, we’re looking forward to a new season of baking! Enjoy early autumn’s gems in these gorgeous treats.

 

Apple and Cranberry GaletteApple and Cranberry Galette
This beautiful open-faced pastry, with scarlet cranberries nestled among golden apple slices, is a gorgeous finale for a harvest (or holiday!) meal.
Apple & Butterscotch Cobbler with Pecan StreuselApple & Butterscotch Cobbler with Pecan Streusel
This cobbler courtesy of Chef Thomas Keller is baked right in the pot used to make the butterscotch sauce, which both minimizes cleanup and makes for a fun, casual presentation.
Pumpkin Cream Cookie SandwichesPumpkin Cream Cookie Sandwiches
For a fun twist on the traditional sandwich cookie, a cream cheese filling flavored with pecan pumpkin butter is tucked between chewy ginger-molasses cookies. They’re perfect for Halloween parties!
Spiced Pear Tarte TatinSpiced Pear Tarte Tatin
Traditional Tarte Tatin uses apples and a classic pastry crust, but this delicious variation substitutes pears and flaky puff pastry. Crystallized ginger packs a gentle heat and plays against the pears’ sweet, floral flavor.
Brown Sugar-Cranberry Oat MuffinsBrown Sugar-Cranberry Oat Muffins
Studded with tart cranberries and packed with wholesome oats, these delicious muffins bake up moist, with nicely rounded, golden-brown tops.
Autumn Fruit StrudelAutumn Fruit Strudel
Here, a mix of fresh and dried fruits is tucked into layers of flaky phyllo dough for an easy, lightened up dessert.
Spiced Cider DoughnutsSpiced Cider Doughnuts
You may wonder if making your own doughnuts is worth the effort. Just one bite of these sugar-glazed deep-fried treats will prove it is. The spicy flavor is sure to bring back memories of crisp autumn mornings and relaxing breakfasts in flannel pajamas.
Cranberry & Pear CrumbleCranberry & Pear Crumble
Warm, gooey, sweet-tart pears and cranberries covered with a spiced crumble topping — this is the ultimate no-fuss fall dessert. Don’t forget vanilla ice cream for serving.
Salted Caramel Apple PieSalted Caramel Apple Pie
A traditional autumn favorite — apple pie — gets a modern twist here with the addition of salted caramel. A lattice crust makes it pretty enough for a special occasion.
Brandied Apple Cake with Figs and WalnutsBrandied Apple Cake with Figs and Walnuts
Loaded with apple chunks, dried fruit and nuts, here is a not-overly-sweet cake that can be enjoyed for breakfast, afternoon tea or as a casual dessert when topped with whipped cream.
Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan StreuselPumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel
This coffee cake is lighter than you would expect, with the rich flavor of pumpkin and spices and a thick layer of crunchy brown sugar and pecan streusel. Serve it for an autumn brunch.
Cranberry Chess TartCranberry Chess Tart
With its simple custardy buttermilk filling, chess pie is a classic dessert of the American South. This updated version is baked in a square tart pan and includes sweet-tart cranberries and orange zest, giving it a festive twist for the fall and winter tables.
Deconstructed Apple Crisp with Buttermilk Ice CreamDeconstructed Apple Crisp with Buttermilk Ice Cream
Here, Liz Williams, Pastry Supervisor at Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm, gives the classic apple crisp a creative makeover: The topping is transformed into oatmeal cookies that are served atop the apple filling in individual bowls. A scoop of buttermilk ice cream adds the perfect finishing touch.
Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese SwirlPumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl
This spiced pumpkin bread has a delicious surprise hidden inside: a swirl of tangy-sweet cream cheese.
Pear-Custard TartPear-Custard Tart
This delicately flavored tart is filled with vanilla-poached pears and brandy-spiked custard, then topped with sugary toasted almonds. It makes an elegant finale for a fall gathering.