Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cranberry Good!

Crostata di Sfoglia con Mirtilli Americani, Cachi, Noci & Pistacchi
Cranberry & Persimmon Puff-Pastry Pie, with Walnuts & Pistachio

Not being American, of course I do not celebrate Thanksgiving... I mean, I am a British.born Sicilian, living in Frankfurt, Germany after all! But I Am thankful of the fact that we get cranberries over here at this time of year!

So having had the chance to buy some fresh cranberries at the indoor market yesterday, I decided to make a simple little pie that maybe one or two of my American friends might consider making for THEIR Thanksgiving- after all, it IS the holiday that is all about sharing!

I decided to pick up some sweet persimmons to combine with the tart and tangy cranberries- they are in-season now and seemed like a logical choice to me! The walnuts and pistachio were an afterthought to be honest... that I am so glad that I had! They made the whole thing so much better... and prettier too!
I needed 2 persimmons and about the same amount, volume-wise in cranberries, to make my medium sized pie... which would have yielded 6 slices, had I not used the funky dish that I did... which gave me 4 nicer, larger slices instead- haha!


Seasonal and simple and perfect to pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or custard, or whipped cream... or to enjoy as it is- this is a no-fuss way to spread a few smiles- and to earn a few compliments!


The filling needs to be prepared in advance, so I chose to make mine last night- although an hour in advance in order for it to have time to cool off before filling is fine. It simply needs to be cool, because otherwise, if you add the filling to a pastry that consists of so much butter whilst it is hot... well... just don't go there! You can imagine, I hope!

So, I chose to cut the cranberries in half so that they would not need to cook so long and so that the fruit stayed nice and firm later after baking. I chopped the persimmons up into a similar-sized dice.


I popped the cranberries and persimmon into a saucepan, added a splash of Cointreau (optional- you can also use a splash of orange juice), and let them simmer down and cook in their own juices. After they had begun to soften, I added about a tablespoon of cinnamon and sugar to taste. It all depends on how sweet the persimmons are, how sweet your tooth is... and how tart those cranberries are! So... sweeten to taste!


Once they have simmered away for 10-15 minutes, until all of the cranberries white interiors have become red, turn off the hat and let it sit and cool... and that's basically it! Like I said- I made mine the night before, which makes assembling an absolutely stress-free operation the morning after.


I added the walnuts to the cold filling and stirred them in, so that they would get slightly moist and coated, rather than having had them cook along and soften-up... I wanted them to be nice and crunchy!


I had this pretty dish, which I decided to bake my pie in, but of course any shape will do- just cut the pastry a little larger than the base, so that you will have a nicely raised crust around the edges.


After that, it was simply a case of lining the dish, filling the base, arranging the walnuts decoratively and adding a border of bright green, ground pistachio to make it even more colorful and delicious!


I baked it in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for around 45 minutes on a lower shelf to make sure that the base baked-through thoroughly before the top began to fluff up and brown-off... and was rewarded with this beautiful pie that is absolutely as pretty as a picture!


I would imagine that there will be plenty of smiles if you serve up this to your families, friends and loved ones this Thanksgiving... and that you will be smiling yourself if its all your own work! Well- except for that puff-pastry of course... haha! 


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