Friday, November 28, 2008

My Family Tradition

As I mentioned on my my other blog I started my own family tradition, and I thought I would share the joy of it with all of you. When I was in high school, my mom and I used to cook together a lot in our little apartment. And around Thanksgiving one year, my mom decided to put a layer of sweetened cream cheese on the bottom of our pumpkin pie, and that was the best pumpkin pie I have ever had! I can't remember where she got the idea, but I loved it. Isn't everything better with cream cheese? So I think it was for a friend's bridal shower when I invented this apple and pear crostata. I peeled and thinly sliced a granny smith apple and a bosc pear, lined them up in a pretty way on top of cream cheese mixed with brown sugar and cinnamon. And then just a couple of years ago, my sister asked me to make it for Thanksgiving with her in-laws, but suggested adding some cranberries to it to make it more "festive". I thought I would give it a try and have never looked back. It's such a nice unique yet somewhat familiar taste that I can't go without during the holidays now. See, Lisa, you are totally always my inspiration. Anyway, here is the recipe.

Holiday Crostata
1 pie crust (I always used store-bought ones. Saves on time and they are great)

for the cranberry mixture:
2-1/2 C fresh cranberries
3/4 C granulated white sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 C water
1/4 t salt

for the cream cheese mixture:
1 8 oz package of neufchâtel cheese (or cream cheese, of course), at room temperature
3 T brown sugar
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t cinnamon

1 granny smith apple, peeled and sliced very thin
1 bosc pear, peeled and sliced very thin

2 T granulated white sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt

2 T butter, diced small
  1. for the cranberry layer: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar, water and salt until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add cranberries and stir constantly until cranberries all pop and the sauce thickens, about 10~15 minutes. Take off heat and let cool at least 30 minutes.
  2. for the cream cheese layer: Using a hand mixer, mix together the neufchâtel cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Place the oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat oven to 375°.
  4. Place the pie crust in the pie plate and using your knuckle, press it in to the edge. Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of the pie crust. Place 3/4 C of the sauce on top of the cream cheese. (save the rest for your dinner. Sorry, I haven't figured out how to make the right amount) Place the apples in a slightly overlapping circle, starting from the outside. Place the pears in the same pattern, with the skinny part pointing to the middle. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of pears and a little on top of the pie crust. Dot with butter. Bake for 45~50 minutes, until the sugar is caramalized and pie crust is slightly browned. Let cool and serve:)

1 comment:

GaryandLauramorris said...

Yummmo! I can't wait to try this! My mouth is watering!