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Roasted Beet and Apple Pie

By Mark Mulcahy

While many people think of pie in the cooler weather, I think about it year round. I love it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and even dessert too! So why not the month when most people’s thoughts turn to moms, Memorial Day, and memorable meals. And since you’ll most likely want to be part of the memorable meal parade, here is a recipe that will do just that.

Organic Peeled and Steamed Beets

It’s commonly said that here in the U.S. we have a grand appreciation for moms and apple pie. Well perhaps it’s time to put a little twist on the pie you’ll make for mom this year. Being Spring, let me suggest that we get a little adventurous and add a springtime favorite to our familiar pie. Have I piqued your curiosity? Are you thinking rhubarb? Strawberry? Mango? All these would be very good choices and would probably go great when combined with apples in a pie. But I’m talking about something I would have never put together had my daughter in Oregon not called to tell me about her evening out with friends. That’s when she first tried homemade Roasted Beet and Apple Pie. Beets in pie, you are wondering? Yeah, I did too! And yet it works and works quite well. Besides, organic beets are in season right now and Melissa’s has them. Plus, beets are uncommonly good for you!

Beta vulgaris is Latin for common (vulgaris) beet (beta)—but what’s common about a vegetable whose root and top are both edible, nutritious and versatile? Beets can be boiled, roasted, or steamed with the skin on. Once cooked, the skin slips off easily. They can also be grated raw into salads; the greens can be steamed, sautéed, or cut and eaten raw. Both are low in calories. Beetroots contain 0% saturated fat, are rich in silicon and are a fair source of vitamin C and fiber. They’re also said to benefit the heart and liver, calm nerves, improve circulation, aid digestion and promote healthy menstruation. Beet greens, like chard, are rich in vitamin A and contain calcium and phosphorus. And their fiber and sweetness are a perfect complement to this pies other ingredient. I found this recipe in A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English and adapted slightly for my tastes. I recommend that you use your favorite crust recipe and prepare it according to normal pie-making protocol.

This recipe will make one 9-inch pie.

Roasted Beet and Apple Pie

For the filling you’ll need:

2 pounds Melissa’s organic beets, peeled and cubed
2 Melissa’s organic apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (I like Pink Lady but you can use your favorite firm apple)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound small-curd cottage cheese
5 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons horseradish
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika

For the top of the pie you’ll want to add this piece d’resistánce: horseradish cream.

For the horseradish cream you’ll need:

1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Now for the preparation of the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the beets and apples with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the ground pepper, and then roast for 45 to 50 minutes (until the beets are soft), shuffling the beets and apples on the pan every so often. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

Combine the beets, apples, cottage cheese, eggs, horseradish, vinegar, dill, sugar, salt, and paprika in a food processor. Blend until smooth- then pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling doesn’t jiggle when you shake the pie plate.

While the pie bakes, make the horseradish cream. Combine the horseradish and sour cream in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with horseradish cream. While some of your fellow picnic friends may be a little shy to try it, once they do they’ll be sad that you didn’t bring another.
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