Thanksgiving cider pie with crème fraîche

Mass Appeal

(Mass Appeal) – At the Thanksgiving dessert table you will typically see apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies – which are all great, don’t get me wrong, but today we’ve got something new to share! Cookbook author and chef Betty Rosbottom is here to show us how to make a Thanksgiving cider pie that is served with dollops of crème fraiche!

The recipe for this special cider pie came to me from my chef friend, Matt Sunderland whose mother baked this dessert for Thanksgiving. For the filling, cider is reduced once and then a second time with butter, sugar, and water until thickened. When this cider base has cooled, egg yolks are added and beaten egg whites folded in. This simple filling is spooned into an uncooked pie shell, then popped into a very hot oven for 10 minutes so that the crust will start to crisp up. Then the temperature is lowered, and the pie is baked until the filling is set and a rich dark brown on top. Although the pie can be served warm, the delectably sweet filling–shiny and almost jelly-like in consistency–becomes firmer as it cools, making it easier to slice. Dollops of crème fraiche made a fine garnish.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water plus more if needed
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Filling and Garnish
2 cups apple cider
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup crème fraiche
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream, half and half, or whole milk
Confectioners’ sugar

  1. For crust, combine flour, butter, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and egg yolk. Process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls, if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes or longer. (Dough can be made 1 day ahead; keep chilled.)
  2. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch round, then transfer it to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold in overhanging dough to form a high rising border and flute the edges. Refrigerate dough at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling. (Pie shell can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.)
  3. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. For filling, have ready a 1 cup glass measuring cup. Put cider in a large saucepan set over medium high heat. Cook until cider reduces to 1/ 2 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes or longer, depending on type of pan used. Watch carefully.
  5. Add sugar, water, and butter to reduced cider and return pan to high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook at a simmer until mixture reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes or longer, depending on type of pan used. Transfer mixture to a medium, heatproof mixing bowl and cool to room temperature. It will thicken as it cools.
  6. Separate eggs and whisk the yolks into the cooled cider mixture. With an electric mixer on high speed, beat whites until just firm and fold them into the cider mixture, a third at a time, making certain all whites are mixed into the cider mixture.
  7. Spoon filling into the prepared pie shell. (Shell will be about two thirds full.) Bake 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Continue to bake until crust is golden, and filling has puffed, set, and has become dark brown on top, about 25 minutes more. Check after 10 or 15 minutes at 350 degrees, and if filling and crust are browning too quickly, cover pie with a buttered sheet of foil (buttered side down).

8. Remove pie and cool to room temperature. (Pie can be made 5 hours ahead; leave uncovered at room temperature.)

  1. To serve place crème fraîche in a serving bowl and whisk in 1 to 2 tablespoons cream, half and half, or milk to lighten slightly. Dust pie with confectioners’ sugar. Garnish each slice with a generous dollop of crème fraiche. Serves 8.

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