Walnut and raisin pie. (Karen Tapia-Anderson )
This old-fashioned custard pie starts with a wonderful pecan-like base, but instead of going for the more traditional nut, cookbook writer Patty Pinner folds walnuts and raisins into the filling and spices the pie with orange zest and nutmeg in a recipe adapted from her "Sweety Pies." The recipe is demonstrated at left by Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter.
Walnut raisin pie is one of the favorite holiday recipes we've collected in our "Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook." The book shares more than 110 seasonal recipes to help you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's. We’ve also updated last year's "Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies," so it now includes 65 recipes from a wide range of sources, including world-famous pastry chefs and home cooks.
Each book is $4.99, and they are available at the Los Angeles Times bookstore for Kindle, Nook and iBooks.
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Walnut and raisin pie
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes plus chilling time
Servings: 8 to 10
Note: Adapted from "Sweety Pies: An Uncommon Collection of Womanish Observations, With Pie" by Patty Pinner. Pinner suggests serving the pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Flaky pie crust
1 1/3 cups flour, plus additional for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold heavy cream or evaporated milk
1. In a medium-to-large bowl, sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Using a pastry blender, a big serving fork or the tips of your fingers, cut in or pinch or squeeze the shortening until the mixture resembles a bowl of sweet peas. Tossing the mixture quickly and lightly with a fork, sprinkle in the cream or milk 1 tablespoon at a time until 3 tablespoons are added to the dough. If the dough is still dry and won't come together, add the remaining tablespoon. (It's better to err on the side of not having enough liquid than to have too much; you don't want a soupy crust.) Continue tossing until the dough holds together when lightly pressed.
2. With lightly floured hands, loosely gather up the dough into a flat ball, place it in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to roll out the crust, at least 30 minutes but no longer than overnight.
3. Prepare a clean surface for rolling out the dough. Sift enough flour over the surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Lightly flour your hands and a rolling pin. Place the chilled dough on the surface and roll the dough into a circle, working from the center to the edges. Starting at the center, roll straight up to the edge, turn the dough slightly and roll straight up to the edge. Repeat the process -- turning the dough and rolling -- until the dough has formed a circle that's slightly larger than the pie dish (make a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch dish). Be careful to keep the dough as even as possible, between one-fourth- and one-eighth-inch thick.
4. Place the pie plate upside-down over the rolled out dough. Using a small knife, cut a circle around the plate, leaving a 1-inch border of dough around the plate. Set aside the scraps. Remove the pie plate. Gently fold the crust in half, then gently into quarters. Delicately pick up the crust and place it in the pie plate so the center point of the crust is positioned in the center of the plate. Unfold the dough and press it firmly into position in the plate. Trim the excess dough from the edge, except for a half-inch flap of dough around the edge. Crimp the edge of the pie, then place the prepared pie crust in the refrigerator until needed.
Filling and assembly
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark raisins
1 prepared 9-inch pie crust
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Crack the eggs over a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, salt, melted butter and corn syrup and whisk together until well-blended. Stir in the vanilla, orange zest and nutmeg, then stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Place the pie in the oven and bake until the filling is set, 35 to 40 minutes; the pastry should be golden brown and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove the pie and cool it on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or cool.
Each serving: 505 calories; 6 grams protein; 67 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 26 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 83 mg. cholesterol; 188 mg. sodium.