First off, let me apologize for being remiss in my upkeep here. I’ve been alternately too busy and too lazy to post recipes. I’ve been baking up a storm since Thanksgiving and having flakey pastry for breakfasts like this:
But, seeing as how Boxing Day is a day to share our gifts with people outside of our family, I’ll share a special recipe. And a story.
Once upon a time, there was a young couple who were very much in love. Every year at the holidays, they would travel to his family’s house and there the young man would tell the young lady about the wonderful cranberry pie that his mother and aunts made. They would be well, and eat, and make merry, and enjoy the cranberry pie that was the young man’s favorite dessert. Each time, the young lady would request the cranberry pie recipe so that she could make it for the young man and make him happy. Each time, the mother and the aunts would say, yes, of course, we’ll get you a copy of the recipe. Each time, it never came. This went on for years, the young man only having the cranberry pie, that was his favorite, when he visited his mother’s house. And then the young couple were married, and they were newly-weds, and they received wedding presents from friends and family near and far. And then, in the mail, arrived a hand-written recipe card. Across the top, the card read, “Cranberry Pie.”
And so, dear readers, this is the cranberry pie recipe. It is deceptively simple. Over the years, it has been tweaked in minor ways, but always at heart it is the same recipe. I think it has been improved. And that young couple? No longer young, and with children of their own, they declared this Thanksgiving, that I had perfected the cranberry pie. And I have their permission to share it.
This is a pure cranberry pie. There are no filler fruits. No nuts. Nothing to detract from the very cranberry-ness of it. I’ve tweaked it so that it has the perfect balance between tart and sweet, and the perfect amount of sticky runny syrup inside. Pair it with a wonderful flakey crust and some whipped cream or small scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll win over anyone. Serve it left-over with coffee for breakfast and it brightens the whole day.
I talked about my crust recipe and method earlier, so I’ll spare you that again. But, it is here if you need it. Since this is a holiday pie, and therefor special, I often make with a lattice crust. The recipe is the same, just cut the top crust into strips about 1″ wide, and weave them over the top of the filling.
makes one 9″ Pie
- Crust for a two-crust pie
- 4 cups cut cranberries (see below)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
- 3/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350ºF, position the upper rack in the middle of the oven, and put some tin-foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips.
Cut each cranberry in half. Yes, every single one of them. No, you cannot use a food processor for this step as it will chop them too small and inconsistently. You can use fresh or frozen (but not thawed) berries for this to equally good results. But, be warned that cutting frozen cranberries in half gets pretty cold on the fingers.
A note on quantity: 4 cups (or, up to 4 1/2 cups) is good for a 9″ pie. If you are making a 10″ pie, you’ll probably want closer to six cups of cut cranberries, but I don’t usually measure them, and just use the empty pie plate as a guide. Also of note, if you are making a larger pie, increase the sugar to 1 1/3 cups, and the water to just shy of 1 cup.
Rinse the cut cranberries well to get the seeds out of them. A colander works well, or you can float the cranberries in a bowl of water and the seeds will sink to the bottom. Set the cranberries aside to drain while you roll out the crust.
Make your pie crust, and line the bottom of a pie plate with the bottom crust. Sprinkle the flour over the bottom crust. Pour the cranberries in, then top with sugar, vanilla, butter and finally, the water (when I make a lattice crust, I wait on the water and carefully pour in in thru the lattice so that the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy while I’m working on the lattice). Cover with the top crust, crimp the edges, cut a few air slots (if the design of your top crust doesn’t already have holes), and put in the oven.
Bake until the inside is bubbling and the crust is golden, about one hour.
Cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.