My kids love cranberries and particularly, they love homemade cranberry sauce. But recently, my youngest daughter had a request. “Mom, can you bake me a cranberry pie?”
I confess, I have never known anyone who made a cranberry pie. But a quick check of my vintage recipe resources led to me a recipe that turned out to be beautiful, delicious, and easy. Why have we fallen out of the habit of making these gorgeous pies?
This recipe comes from “The White House Cookbook” by Mrs. F.L. Gillette and Hugo Zieman, published in 1887. It contains recipes and cooking tips from the kitchen of the White House. Here is how it originally appears:
Take fine, sound, ripe cranberries and with a sharp knife split each one until you have a heaping coffeecupful; put them in a vegetable dish or basin; put over them one cupful of white sugar, half a cup of water, a tablespoon full of sifted flour; stir it all together and put it into your crust. Cover with an upper crust and bake slowly in a moderate oven. You will find this the true way of making a cranberry pie.
As opposed to the false way? In any case, here is the modern version. You’ll notice I increased the flour because my berry pies are always runny unless I add more.
• One bag of fresh cranberries (approximately three cups)
• One cup sugar
• ½ cup of water
• 2 tablespoons flour
• Two pie crusts
Boil the cranberries for five-10 minutes until they split. Drain water, allow to cool.
Put cranberries in a bowl. Mix with sugar, water, and flour. To make an easy pie crust, cut 3 tablespoons shortening into one cup of flour until it looks crumbly. Add 6 tablespoons cold water and mix until it forms a soft dough. Then turn out onto floured surface and roll.
Place one pie crust in pie dish. Put cranberry/sugar mixture into pie dish and top with remaining crust. Put the pie onto a pizza sheet to catch any liquid that might bubble over and bake in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the liquid is bubbly. Let sit 5-10 minutes before cutting.
As you can see, I’m not a big fan of an entire top crust on berry pie. I think it amounts to too much crust. So I use a trick my mother taught me-cookie cutter pieces! Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, the red backdrop of the cranberries goes perfect with hearts.
The pie was perfect-sweet with a bit of tanginess. I think I’ll make another for Valentine’s Day! What a great way to show someone you love them-bake them a pie that’s beautiful, tasty, and packed with nutritional value! Enjoy!