When my sister and I were kids about 7 and 8, we earnestly decided that the very best pie in the world would be one made with 20 ingredients.
The number 20 was magical but not random. Though I don’t remember exactly how we got there, but I think it was inspired by a book about a witches’ brew, because eye of newt was one of our ingredients (my mother convinced us that raisins made a fine substitute).
Making such a pie required ransacking the cupboards, fridge, and fruit bowl to extract every variety of fruit, spice, and nut we could find until we had amassed enough volume to fill a (usually purchased) piecrust. Although 20 ingredients was the goal, it was seldom reached. We tended to give up around 15. But even so, the pies were amazing to our sugar-obsessed little girl taste buds.
This is my grown-up version. With my well-stocked pantry, hitting 20 was pretty easy. And I have to admit, this pie is a lot better than those thrown-together assemblages of my childhood (a homemade crust helps). Although the number 20 is nostalgic, it also makes sense here because the combination of apples, pears, cranberries, and rum-raisins nestled beneath a nut and oat crumb topping is both harmonious and profound. The rich, autumnal flavors work really well together to make an urban-style harvest pie – perfect for Thanksgiving, no eye of newt needed.
For the crumb topping:
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From In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2010 Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
Melissa Clark is a food writer, author, and host of our upcoming podcast Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark (begins Sept. 4, 2019). She is a food columnist for The New York Times, and has written more than 30 cookbooks including Dinner in an Instant, Cook This Now, and In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite.