Wednesday November 20, 2013 | 06:39 AM

If you’re looking for something special for the holiday dessert table here is an apple-sour cherry upside down pie that is deliciously sweet.  The recipe comes from Mariette Farwell who is a consummate baker and whose husband is Mike Farwell, of Uncle’s Farm Stand, a mainstay at the Portland Farmer’s Market

Mariette relies on the bounty of her husband’s crops as the basis for her many baked goods.  In the summer she has full use of all of his wild and high-bush blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sour cherries, apples and peaches.   The family's favorite is a wild Maine blueberry and sour cherry pie, a winning combination of berries and fruit.

What’s  different about this double-crust berry-apple pie is that the pastry is baked over a caramel-pecan caramel, on which the bottom crust sits.

When baked you turn the pie upside down similar to a tarte tatin.

I’ve made one change to the recipe.  Instead of corn syrup called for in the original receipt, I substituted Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is pure can sugar instead of the high-fructose corn syrup.  It’s available at Whole Foods Market and now sold in a convenient squeeze bottle rather than the metal container.

For the pastry, I offer my standard butter-lard pastry (see Note), which is extremely flakey and light. Otherwise use your favorite short-crust recipe.

Double-crust pastry
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) chilled lard, cut into small pieces
About 1/2 cup ice water

Put the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse 4 times to mix the ingredients. 

Add the fats and pulse 10 to 12 times until the butter is incorporated into the flour mixture and is the size of small peas.  Pulsing, gradually add the water until the dough just starts to come together.  It should be very lightly moist.  Add more water, if necessary.

Remove to a lightly floured work surface and form the dough into a loose ball.  Divide in half and give each ball  a quick knead or turn.  Flatten lightly into a disk and wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Roll out as needed.

Mariette Farwell’s upside down apple cherry pie, Uncle’s Farm
Servings: 8

Upside down apple cherry pie before it's removed from the pie plate; you have the option to serve it right-side up making sure to scoop up all of that caramel glaze on the bottom when you slice and serve the pie

Caramel glaze
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans

6 large mixed apples, peeled and cored
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 heaping cup pitted sour cherries (see Note)
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of nutmeg

Pie Glaze
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 to 2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Caramel glaze. Pour the melted butter into a deep 9-inch pie plate, preferably glass
Add the brown sugar and syrup and stir until combined.   Roll out the first pastry and fit it over the caramel in the pie plate, trimming the overhang to about 1 inch.  Set aside.

Filling. Prepare the apples as directed and slice somewhat thickly (about 1/2 inch).  Put in a large mixing bowl and squeeze juice from half a lemon; mix.  This will keep the apples from turning brown.  Add the cherries, sugar, cinnamon, flour and nutmeg.  Mix well, coating the fruit and berries.

Put the apple mixture into the pie shell, mounding it somewhat.  Roll out the second dough and drape it over the filling.  Cut the overhang to about 1 inch.  Tuck top and bottom overhang under to form a border.

Glaze.  Brush the top of the pie with egg mixture.  Sprinkle generously with sugar.  Cut 3 vents for steam to escape. Put the dish onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, which will catch any of the caramel that will bubble up on the pan; this makes cleaning the pan much simpler. 

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.  Remove from oven to a rack and allow to cool 5 minutes.  Put a heat-proof plate over the pie and turn it upside down.  Tap the pan, shaking loose any of the bottom layer.  If some of the filling has stuck, spoon this carefully over the top.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

The pie presented upside down

Note: Freshly rendered lard is available at Rosemont Market’s butcher shop at the Brighton Ave. store. Sour cherries are available frozen or canned. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sometimes carry frozen sour cherries or you can order from Frank Farm.  I used pitted sour cherries that I stored frozen from last summer.

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John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.

In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.

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