A High-Tech Apple Pie

Cone and Snyder are cookbook authors

Pies in the microwave? Not impossible. This apple pie begins in the microwave and ends in the conventional oven. If your grandmother baked her apple pies in brown bags to keep them from overbrowning, the way ours did, you'll see the reason for the technique. Only 10 minutes of conventional cooking time is needed.

Trifle's another good dessert to make in the microwave. This one can be prepared up to two days in advance and refrigerated.

CRANBERRY TRIFLE

1 (10 3/4-ounce) frozen pound cake

3 tablespoons orange liqueur

2 cups Cranberry Sauce

2 cups Hint of Orange Custard

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 to 10 long strips orange zest

Cut cake into 1-inch cubes. Line bottom of 2-quart crystal bowl or trifle dish with 1/3 of cubes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon orange liqueur. Evenly spoon 1/3 of Cranberry Sauce over cubes. Pour 1/3 of custard over top. Repeat layering 2 more times. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, whip cream with vanilla until soft peaks form. Spoon over trifle and garnish with strips of orange zest that have been rolled into loose corkscrews. Makes 8 servings.

Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces fresh or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen unsweetened cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice

Combine cranberries, sugar and liqueur in 2-quart microwave-proof casserole. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 4 to 6 minutes or until berries have popped, stirring after 2 minutes. Cool. Makes about 2 cups.

Hint of Orange Custard

2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons grated orange zest

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Pour milk into 4-cup glass measure. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 3 minutes or until hot but not boiling.

Combine sugar and egg yolks in 2-quart microwave-proof casserole and beat until blended. Stir in flour. Gradually add heated milk, beating constantly. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Whisk to blend. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 3 minutes more or until mixture coats spoon, whisking every 30 seconds. Stir in orange zest and liqueur. Cool. Makes about 2 cups.

SUGAR-GLAZED APPLE PIE

Favorite pastry dough for 2 (9-inch) crusts

5 to 6 cups peeled, cored and 1/3-inch sliced tart apples

Sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Egg Glaze

Roll out 1 pie dough ball into 12-inch circle on lightly floured surface. Ease dough into 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate to form bottom crust.

Toss together apples, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Spoon filling into pie plate. Dot apples with butter.

Roll out top crust in same way. Place over apples. Cut decorative slashes in upper crust to vent steam. Tuck upper crust under lower crust and flute edges or press with fork.

Brush Egg Glaze over top of pie. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over top. Microwave on HIGH (100% power) 8 to 12 minutes or until juices start to bubble through slits in crust, rotating after 4 minutes. Transfer to 425-degree oven 8 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Egg Glaze

1 small egg

1 tablespoon milk

Beat together egg and milk in small bowl.

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