Marie Cooks Skyrim: Juniper Berry Crostata

When looking at the list of foods in Skyrim, Juniper Berry Crostata always seemed like it would be a challenge. Juniper berries are pungent, and an entire dessert made of them would taste overpowering. I spent a while looking up recipes that included juniper to see what flavors might go together… and then one day I saw it. In a listicle of recipes using juniper, I saw a reference to a honey-glazed pear and plumb pie with juniper berries. Perfect, I thought. But the link didn’t work and no matter how much I looked for the recipe online, it was nowhere to be found. So I went and wrote a recipe myself, using 4 or 5 other recipes as guidelines. I sat on it for a while, unsure of myself. Last weekend, however, I finally made it. I was thrilled with how it turned out – the flavors of the pie were perfectly balanced and the juniper came through every so often with a sharp little surprise. My husband (formerly a professional baker for 10 years) said it was one of the best baked goods he ever had and couldn’t stop raving about how good it was. I’m so pleased with how it turned out and so excited to share it with you.

Pear, Plumb, and Juniper Galette

Crust:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, and chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Filling:
2 pears, peeled and thinly sliced
2 plumbs, thinly sliced
Juice of half a lemon (1.5 T)
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 teaspoons dried juniper berries
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch finely grated lemon zest
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water)

  1. To make the pie dough, stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Drizzle water over the flour-butter mixture and work the dough together with your hands, adding a little more water just a spoonful at a time as needed to bring the dough together. Put the dough in a covered dish or wrap it in plastic wrap, then set it in the fridge to cool for 1 hour.
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit slices and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Set aside to soften slightly and release some of the juices.
  3. With a mortar and pestle grind together the juniper berries and sugar. (Or use a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the granulated sugar, flour, juniper berries, cinnamon, salt, and lemon zest; process until the juniper berries are chopped and fragrant.) To remove any remaining large pieces of juniper berry, shake the sugar mixture and all dry ingredients through fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
  4. Transfer the fruit slices to the bowl together with the sugar mixture and toss to combine.
  5. Heat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  6. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a circle, about 14 inches across. Gently transfer it to the parchment paper in the pan. Spoon fruit filling and any juices that have collected into center, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border uncovered. Fold the border over fruit, pleating the edge.
  7. Brush crust with egg wash.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, or golden all over and the fruit is bubbling and juicy, then remove it from the oven.
  9. Microwave 1-2 Tbsp honey 20 seconds. With a pastry brush, brush the glaze over the filling and crust.
  10. Cool for at least 20 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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