Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the new bestest ever

Please tell me that you haven’t made the pies for Thanksgiving yet? Please, please tell me you have a bag or two of unclaimed cranberries hunkered down in your freezer? Please, please, please tell me you’re in the mood to make a pie today, right now, immediately, at this very minute?


Because, honey sugar, it’s what I have on my agenda, for you.

[Ahem, cough-cough, much pompous throat clearing]

I hereby merrily (and joyfully and happily and ecstatically) proclaim the great news of November 23, 2011: I have discovered the new bestest ever pie in the world and it’s totally perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner or New Year’s dinner or Three Kings Day or winter solstice day or the first big snow day or Sunday dinner or Monday dinner.


It’s perfect, and it’s perfect for whenever, is what I’m trying to say.


For quite some time, I’ve been on the lookout for a cranberry pie. I’d tried some mixed fruit cranberry pies, and while they were good—cranberries make everything good—they weren’t pure cranberry. And then Aimee posted a cranberry pie and I got down to business lickety-split.


One bite and I was bowled over. It’s potent, unlike normal pies. In fact, it's so dark and rich and strong that one small sliver carries you over the moon and back, no problem.


Cranberry Pie with Cornmeal Streusel Topping
Adapted from Aimee of Simple Bites

Aimee calls this a cranberry-orange pie, and while the pie contains both orange juice and zest, I found their flavors to play more of a supportive (but delicious) role, so I dropped the “orange” in the title. To me, this pie is all about the cranberry.

I used frozen cranberries instead of fresh, increased the amount to a generous 4 ½ cups instead of 4, used light brown sugar instead of Turbinado, and added one tablespoon of tapioca as thickener just in case. Not a hitch in sight anywhere.

This pie is best eaten the same day it is made.

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (I used this one)
4-5 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
zest of two oranges
juice of one orange (it looked like a lot—close to ½ cup, perhaps)
1 gently rounded tablespoon granulated tapioca

for the streusel topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cornmeal
½ cup salted butter, cut in chunks

In a large bowl, toss together the cranberries, sugar, butter, orange zest and juice, and tapioca. Pour into the unbaked pie shell.

Measure all the streusel ingredients into the canister of a food processor and pulse to combine (it took quite a few pulses). (Or, rub together with your fingers. That will work too.) Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the pie.

Bake the pie* at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown all over and the juices are bubbling madly.
           
Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*Important Pie Baking Note: Place the pie on the bottom rack of a very hot oven (about 425 degrees) and bake for 15 or 20 minutes or until the pie juices are starting to bubble. At that point, set the pie on a foil-lined baking sheet (to catch the juicy drips) and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. This extra step helps to ensure a golden brown bottom crust.

This same time, years previous: apple rum cake (oh goodness, I want this NOW)

5 comments:

  1. Too late for this Thanksgiving, but I'll be making this pie soon. By granulated tapioca, do you mean the minute tapioca in the red box? Your pictures of this pie are great!

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  2. looks fab! I just posted about my Thanksgiving pie - it's the apple cranberry pie in Mennonite Country-Style. It's got walnuts and maple syrup too, and I put it in a double crust instead of crumb topping. Fab.

    I saw this pie on Wednesday and considered switching to it - good to know you liked it.

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  3. I'm making this tonight...but I only have Tapioca flour. 1/2 as much? Where in the world would I buy granulated tapioca?
    We didn't have pie on Thanksgiving...all our hosts were on dietary restriction or weight loss plans. No pie on Thanksgiving equals grumpy tribe!

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  4. Anonymous, Yes, the minute tapioca.

    Bugsboysandbooboos, You can use a tablespoon of cornstarch instead, or skip it all together. (The tapioca was my addition---Aimee didn't even call for it.)

    Thanksgiving without pie? I might weep!

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  5. I can't tell you how happy I am that you share my enthusiasm for this pie. It's easily the pie of the year, right?
    I need to make another one. Thank goodness cranberries are plentiful right now.

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