Suzi’s Blog

Apple-Pumpkin Pie from Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade


Rachel Saunders is a jam maven. In her second book, Blue Chairs Cooks with Jam & Marmalade, she is not making jams but employing them in savory and sweet dishes.

Sweet like this one. This dish is one of those “why didn’t I ever think of that” masterpieces. For Thanksgiving we all have our pumpkin pie and probably apple, too. We have to have them. Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie would be a bummer for the next 365 days until we recover. But here, for this Thanksgiving, we can have them both, in one pie. It’s gorgeous to look at and surely a complex taste sensation. Suzi and I have this own our own Thanksgiving agenda this year.

Here is Rachel’s own description of this pie:

This standout pie captures all the warmth, spice, and earthiness of Thanksgiving. To make it, the pumpkin is sliced, not pureed, which gives the pie an unexpected sophistication. Tomato jam adds a touch of acidity, while golden raisins provide sweetness and texture. This gorgeously playful mix of flavors and ingredients, encased in an exquisitely flaky crust, makes this pie a Thanksgiving highlight.

What more is there to say? Search out apples and a pumpkin. Prepare, for the pie cometh!


Apple-Pumpkin Pie

Yield: serves 8


For the crust:

  • 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons high-quality lard
  • 15 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably European-style
  • 9 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, preferably European-style, plus more for buttering

1 pound 2 ounces peeled pumpkin, sliced 1⁄8 inch thick

1 pound peeled and cored firm sweet apples, sliced ¼ inch thick

6 tablespoons Early Girl Tomato Jam (page 290)

1½ teaspoons apple balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar

⅔ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

1⁄16 teaspoon freshly ground mace

2 tablespoons and 1½ teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour

⅓cup golden raisins

1 large egg white, beaten until frothy


To make the crust, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the lard and butter into ½-inch cubes and sprinkle them over the flour. Place the bowl in the freezer to chill until very cold but not frozen, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the flour-butter mixture to the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a metal blade, keeping the frozen bowl close by. Pulse the mixture several times, until the largest pieces of fat are pea-size. Immediately transfer the flour mixture back to the frozen bowl. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour mixture and stir immediately and quickly with a wide sturdy butter knife held at a vertical angle until the mixture comes together, adding a little more ice water if needed.

Transfer the dough mixture to a lightly floured board and gather the dough into 2 balls, one slightly larger than the other. Do not handle the dough too much, as you do not want it to warm up. Flatten the dough balls into 5-inch discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Place them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours or as long as 48 hours. The dough can also be frozen for future use.

To make the filling, position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Melt the ¼ cup butter in a 12-inch sauté pan over low heat and sauté the pumpkin until slightly cooked but still firm, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and sauté for 5 minutes, then cover and braise for another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Transfer the pumpkin and apples with their juices to a large bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato jam, vinegar, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, mace, and flour. Distribute this mixture evenly over the cooked fruit in the bowl. Add the raisins and toss gently to combine. Set the filling aside.

To assemble the pie, very lightly butter a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate. Place the larger of the 2 chilled pastry discs on a lightly floured board. Beat the dough briefly with a rolling pin to soften it if needed and roll it out into an even 12-inch circle, turning it often and flouring your board and rolling pin lightly as needed. Carefully fit the dough into the prepared pan. Using sharp clean scissors, trim the overhang so the dough extends ⅛ inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Brush the entire inside of the pie shell with the beaten egg white.

Roll the remaining disc of dough into a 10½-inch circle. Pile the filling mixture into the waiting pie shell, pressing down on the fruit to create as even a distribution as possible. Center the top crust over the filling, then fold the edges of the top crust under the edges of the bottom crust, trimming any excess as needed. Crimp the edge of the pie with your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp paring knife, cut several slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the entire top crust with the egg white.

Bake the pie for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 375° F and continue baking until the fruit is very tender and bubbling, about another 30 minutes. Place the pie on a rack to cool to lukewarm before serving.

Source: Blue Chair Cooks with Jam & Marmalade by Rachel Saunders [Andrews McMeel, 2014]

Photo Credit: Sara Remington


Cookbook Review: My Life on a Plate by Kelis


Ok, let’s see. Music star decides to begin a line of food products and produces her first cookbook. The question is simple: is this really good or is this merely vanity.

Fortunately, this question can be answered in a flash. You just go to the Dessert chapter and see what recipe is first up the plate: Cappuccino Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and Dulce de Leche Topping.

I’m in. I’m all in. Serious book. Lovely book.

To be honest, I did not know who Kelis is or what her music is like. I do have Pandora so I found out. A mix of R&B with percussion and hip-hop. She does not sound at all like Frank Sinatra. Not at all.

But oh how creative Kelis is. She grew up in New York in a Puerto Rican household with, of all things, a mostly vegetarian father. In her music travels around the world, she’s sampled and loved the dishes that are far from Harlem. And Kelis even attended Cordon Bleu because her foodie genes could not be suppressed.

So what happens in this book? The subtitle is “Recipes from Around the World” and that is what appears with abundance, color and enthusiasm. There are recipes from Puerto Rico to Singapore. Some are pretty authentic but most have a particular Kelis spin. The Cordon Bleu béchamel sauce now has sweet corn added. A savory pancake she had in Poland becomes her own Vegetable Buckle, the picture at the end of this post. It’s a clever recipe title because how can you have a buckle with no blueberries or peaches? Kelis can.

It’s enlightening what you can learn from a combination of a great mom and months at Cordon Bleu. Consider these Kelis recipes:

Burrata-Stuffed Meatballs [three meats!] with Pistachio Basil Pesto

Chorizo Date Stuffing [to sit next to your turkey]

Coconut Curry Crab Soup [whole crabs Asian style]

Eggplant and Asparagus with Five-Spice Plum Sauce [she tours Asia a lot]

Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder with Spice Rub and Olives and Garlic [her favorite]

Shredded Beef Slider with Root Beer Espresso BBQ Sauce

Skillet Cornbread with Candied Ginger and Corn Kernels

Puerto Rican Egg Nog with Coconut, Condensed and Evaporated Milk [and rum!]

This is a book that is exuberant. It’s not concerned with authenticity down to each teaspoon of spice. This is a book about taking a great idea, making it personal, and then making it beautiful to the eye and to the taste.

There are many ideas to try here. The book was just published in late September and you’ll find recipes to carry you through the holiday season with kitchen joy.

I do suggest you start with that Cappuccino Cheesecake. Then the Root Beer Espresso BBQ sauce which only calls for twenty-two ingredients and will empty out your spice cabinet. There is nothing meek or mild in My Life on a Plate. It’s all in.


Pork Roast with Garlic-Parmesan Cream




I posted this recipe last year before Thanksgiving, suggesting it would be an ideal holiday delight. No, it's not meant for Turkey Thursday, but you'll have other feasts that week and this will be something that can nobly compete with the other holiday fare you will be enjoying

In a word, this dish is a surprise, a wonderful surprise. It's the Garlic-Parmesan Cream that makes this dish intense and memorable.

The word “shoulder” has origins that can be traced back only a few hundred years. In Old High German, it may have meant “shield” which strikes notes of strength and firmness. Today, a shoulder cut of meat is considered to be “less than grand.” The shoulder muscles are designed to be strong, not tasty. It’s one of those cuts of meat that many of us would pass on at a restaurant.

But in today’s world of meat revolution, we know that every cut can be superb if, and perhaps only if, you simply take the care to prepare it the “right” way. Here, cooking the pork shoulder for a long time in a combination of cream and buttermilk serves to soften the shoulder and moisten the meat. Cooking meat for 3 ½ hours is usually a recipe for toughness and dryness. Here, just the opposite occurs.

Beyond the actual delicacy of the meat itself, here you have fennel that is cooked into its own mellow softness. And the sauce, the sauce. It’s cheesy, rich, and a delicious complement to the meat.

This is a perfect weekend meal, one ideally served on a cool or cold Sunday night. Your home will be filled a meat-cheese aroma that will everyone clustering around the dinner table. One bite, just one, will convince everyone that the wait has been worth every second.

Pork Roast with Garlic-Parmesan Cream

Yield: serves 8


  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 heads of garlic, top ½ inch cut off
  • One 3 ounce Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese rind
  • 2 small sage sprigs
  • One 5 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 medium fennel bulbs (3 pounds), trimmed and cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Chopped parsley for garnish


In a pot just large enough to hold the pork, combine the cream with the buttermilk, butter, garlic, cheese rind and 1 sage sprig. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Bring just to a simmer. Cover, leaving it open just a crack, and cook over low heat for about 3 ½ hours, until very tender. Transfer the pork and garlic to a large plate; discard the cheese rind.

Boil the poaching liquid over moderately high heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Strain the sauce into a bowl. Whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°. On a large baking sheet, toss the fennel and the remaining sage sprig with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the fennel in a single layer. Place the pork on top of the fennel and roast until the pork is deeply golden and the fennel is tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes.

Thinly slice the pork. Arrange the fennel and garlic on a platter and top with the pork. Garnish with parsley and serve the sauce on the side.

Source: Food and Wine Magazine, October 2014

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for1/100th second at ISO‑800