Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pomegranate Toddy Pie

One of my favorite fruits of the season is the pomegranate. Great for adult beverages and adding to pies! Don't be surprised to find pomegranates and walnuts in your local farmers market of California at this time of year. The pomegranate was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769, and is now cultivated in parts of California and Arizona for juice production. Humans had been harvesting pomegranates for several millennia  previously to the Spanish. The pomegranate is native to the region of Persia and the Himalayan ranges of India, and has been cultivated in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, North India, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Mediterranean region. The pomegranate is so much part of our ancient human culture, it was mentioned in Europe as early as the Iron-Age Greek Mythology in the Homeric hymns. Nature has some amazing ways of spreading it's seed with this tart/sweet fruit, not to mention the wonderful health properties that the pomegranate has for the body. With those powerful anti-oxidants to fight free radicals in the body, makes this fruit dear to my heart. 

With all this in mind, I've created a Walnut Crusted Apples & Cheery Pie Infused with  Brandy & Pomegranate juice!  It's a "Pow & Wow" in your mouth as my husband said; and perfect for serving at the upcoming fall festivities. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4 Gala or Smith apples
1 pomegranate.
1 cup of walnuts
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 dried cherries
1/2 cup of brandy
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1  raw pie crust 

First simmer in a medium size pot the brandy and when comes to a low boil, turn off heat, and add dried cherries to brandy while other preparations are made.  
Juice and strain juice from pomegranate with first a hand held juicer then, then a strainer, to remove seeds. 1 pomegranate should yield 1/2 cup of juice.
Peel and cut apples into thin wedges. Chop walnuts into a fine chop that will be used as a crust.
Place pie crust in baking pie dish, and warm in oven for 5 minutes., and then remove.
Add a low heat to pot with cherries. Add pomegranate juice, apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar. Mixing and allowing the apples to absorb and also reduce juice. This last step should be done with much attention. Do not leave apples to cook, only a quick softening. Next place mixture into pie crust. I like to curl edges of pie shell in. Lastly, place an even layer of walnuts across the top of pie.
Place melted butter on top of walnuts. In order that top does not burn, a foil covering can help. If heat is low enough you do not have use foil.
Place in oven for 30-40 minutes. Pie serves 6 pieces. Enjoy with some lovely vanilla bean ice-cream.

Here's to your good health and a sweet life!


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