I still remember when some of our good friends came to dinner with a incredible apple-cranberry crisp that was baked in a very handsome pie plate. Not only did we enjoy the dessert, but our gracious guests gave the pie plate to my wife and me as a gift—along with the recipe (see below).
That pie plate was made by Great Bay Pottery from Greenland, New Hampshire. Since then, it has been joined by several other pieces of Great Bay Pottery: mugs, pitchers, bowls, to name just a few. All are on display and readily accessible on the shelves of a rustic hutch in our kitchen.
Every piece of Great Bay Pottery we own gets a workout on a regular basis, but it’s the original pie plate that has probably seen the most use. In addition to accommodating dozens of apple-cranberry crisps over the years, it’s been on the table as a serving dish as much as it’s been in the oven baking pies, quiches, macaroni and cheese, and countless other favorite comfort foods.
Patrick Frazer, co-owner of Great Bay Pottery, and his team of skilled potters and glazers have developed their own special formulas for the clay and glaze. Custom-mixed for them in Sheffield, Massachusetts, these raw materials give each piece of their stoneware its signature durability and handsome finish. Of course, Great Bay Pottery is lead-free and chemical-free, and all of it is oven-proof and microwavable.
Although this stoneware is highly utilitarian, here are a few pointers to extend its life:
* Do NOT use Great Bay Pottery for range-top cooking.
* Avoid subjecting it to dramatic temperature changes. It is recommended that stoneware be placed in a cold rather than preheated oven (as with a pizza stone). Likewise, do not place a piping hot item directly on a cold surface.
* Never scour with steel-wool soap pads or abrasive cleansers; these can scratch and dull the stoneware’s glazed surfaces.
Stoneware heats and cools evenly and retains its temperature for a longer period of time than many other types of cookware. These characteristics, along with Great Bay Pottery’s glaze, impart a shiny, easy-to-clean surface that helps to keep food from sticking.
Great Bay Pottery’s proprietary glaze also allows each piece to be run safely through the dishwasher. People often hesitate to put pottery in the dishwasher, but we’ve found that our Great Bay pieces show no signs of distress from hundreds of normal and power-scrub wash cycles over the years.
With a little TLC, Great Bay Pottery will provide years of excellent service while retaining its handcrafted character and hand-painted beauty.
Enough of your favorite baking apples (peeled, cored, and sliced about ¼- to ½-inch thick) to generously fill a 9-inch Great Bay Pottery pie plate
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries cut in half (we’ve substituted blueberries when cranberries were not available)
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/3 cup butter at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup rolled (quick-cook) oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Toss the apple slices and halved cranberries with the white sugar in a bowl before piling into pie plate. The fruit should be mounded an inch or two in the middle above the rim of the plate.
Place all of the remaining ingredients in the bowl that was used to combine the apple slices and cranberries. Use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse, crumbly mixture forms. Spoon the mixture evenly over the fruit in the pie plate. Place on the center rack in the oven and set the temperature to 375°F. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crumb topping is lightly browned and the fruit is bubbling around the inside edge of the pie plate.
Cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This can be made ahead and reheated in the oven or microwave. It’s awesome topped with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Refrigerate leftover crisp (that is, if there is any left!).