What I had before dinner:
I've been playing with the combination of hazelnuts, cranberries, and chestnuts for a good 10 years now, but I've never found the exact winning combination until -- I think -- this week-end.
With nothing to do while Usenet news were down, I decided to try this new variation on the unsuspecting members of the NYC Beer Guide gathered at d.b.a. on Sunday afternoon.
The pie shell contains the hazelnuts. Five oz of whole hazelnuts were toasted in a microwave oven (about 3 min), then chopped coarsely in a food processor. One half cup each of butter and sugar were creamed together, the hazelnuts blended in, followed by two eggs then 2/3 cup of flour. The dough (which is very soft and sticky) was placed in the middle of a disposable aluminum pie dish (8 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch) lined with plastic wrap, and covered with more plastic wrap. It was worked into place between the two layers of plastic, then placed in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) to harden.
When the dough was thoroughly chilled, it was given a final adjustment, then a second, identical, pie dish was placed inside the first one and the whole assembly was turned upside down to remove the original bottom and the bottom sheet of plastic. The pie dish was buttered and coated with bread crumbs, then replaced and turned right side up. The top layer of plastic was then removed, the top dish replaced and weighted down with pie weights, and the shell was pre-baked at 350F for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, 1 cup of cranberry sauce (the standard Ocean Spray recipe) and 1 tsp of vanilla extract were mixed together with a whisk, then added to 1 cup of crumbled cooked chestnuts (it is well worth buying pre-cooked shelled chestnuts rather than going through the ordeal). The mixture was poured into the pie shell, baked for 15 min, then the edges of the shell were covered with aluminum foil to prevent burning and the pie was baked for another 25 min. The pie is done when the filling remains firm if shaken; it stays a bit sticky.
Let cool thoroughly on a rack before serving. It goes very well with a glass of Reichelbrau Eisbock.
And for dinner, I had roast chicken with cranberry sauce and roasted chestnuts.