Cranberries two ways, for the holidays that snuck up on me

Dang wow it’s December already! Where has fall gone?? The holidays completely snuck up on me – I made this pie for Thanksgiving and meant to post it closer to the actual holiday but… here we are. Better late than never.

I’m ALL ABOUT that demerara sugar snow

Nothing too crazy new over here – still full of plants, still swimming in the bay (uh, it is less than pleasant this time of year, full disclosure. motivation is looowwww), and already feeling full up with holiday plans. My full December calendar is giving me the heebie jeebies, even though it’s full of fun things – the introvert in me is very happy to sit here with my book on a saturday night and NOT go out. Also it’s raining today, which is just heavenly. More of that, please.

This might be my new favorite pie – FULL of cranberries for the cran lover in your life. It’s got just enough sweetness from the apple and holiday spices from the nutmeg and cinnamon, but a slight thyme twist for a little something extra. Excellent with ice cream or a drizzle of half and half over the top.

I’m sharing what is essentially the same recipe twice here – two variations on a theme. The pie itself I made for Thanksgiving, and I just pulled the galette version out of the oven a few hours ago. I love a galette for a casual bake – not that the pie is that much more work, but the galette is definitely a less fussy cousin. Also requires a bit less time, and is somewhat more scalable if you want a smaller yield (though leftover pie is probably the greatest thing known to man besides almond croissants, so…. )

I did not get ‘glamourous, half cut into’ pie shots. this will have to do..

Hopefully I’ll get a few more things up here before the actual holidays! We shall see – given the state of my calendar, I might not resurface until January… but I’ll try. Either way, more than happy to share this very festive and very delicious, perfectly wintery pie with my corner of the internet – I hope you love it as much as I do! (It got rave reviews from Fave Human also so, that should probably be ‘we’ and not ‘I’!)

hello from the hooman behind the blog + fave hooman

Happy baking, and happy December!

Cranberry Thyme Pie, Two Ways

Perfectly tart, perfect for those who LOVE cranberries. The thyme adds a slightly savory, fun twist – this is excellent with ice cream. Refined sugar free and whole grain. I provided an alternate recipe here – there is both a traditional, double crusted 9″ pie, as well as its less fussy cousin, the galette. Both are delicious and serve several. Pie filling is adapted from Food52, here.

for the crust

2.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c fine cornmeal
1 scant tsp fine sea salt
heaping 1/4 tsp nutmeg
8oz unsalted butter (2 sticks), cubed & cold
4-6 tbsp ice water

for the filling:
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen (two 10-ounce bags)
1 apple (I used honey crisp; any baking apple will do)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Egg wash (1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon half and half/cream/milk and a pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar, for finishing

In a large bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients. Let sit while you make the dough.

In a food processor (or by hand, but I actually love using the food processor for this dough; it comes together in a snap and keeps it from getting overworked), pulse together flour, salt, and nutmeg. Add in cubed butter, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add in ice water – I start usually with four tbsp, then add a tbsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball.

I like to roll this dough between two sheets of parchment paper for ease. Divide it in half and and roll it out – I typically don’t chill this dough (blasphemy!) because I find it works just fine without. You’ll roll out a circle that’s slightly larger than the top of your pie plate, to make for crimping excess – you should aim to have about a 1″ overhang. Lay the dough into the dish, tucking the edge underneath and crimping it as desired. Do whatever you want with the top crust! Shapes, traditional top crust, lattice, whatever. I used a small star cookie cutter for this one. Once the bottom crust is in, stick the whole dish into the fridge for 5-10 minutes while you make the filling and roll out the top (helps prevent shrinking but honestly I almost always forget to do this and my crusts are fine… so… shrug. it’s good to do if you remember). No need to cover since it’s not in there very long.

In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over the dried cranberries, covering by about an inch. Allow them to plump while making the remaining filling. In a food processor, combine the chopped thyme, coconut sugars, salt, tapioca starch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Process until the thyme is fully blended. Pour all this into a large bowl. Use the same food processor bowl to briefly process 2 cups of the whole cranberries to a rough chop; add them and the remaining 2 cups whole cranberries, to the thyme mixture.

Peel the apple and shred on the large holes of a box grater. Drain the plumped dried cranberries of excess water, but do not press or squeeze them out. Add the shredded apple and the drained dried cranberries to the bowl with the rest of the filling and mix well. Stir in the vanilla extract and egg, and mix well. Pile in the fruit – typically you can fit much more than you think you can – you’ll want it to be slightly convex on the top, to account for the fruit decreasing in volume as it cooks. Lay on the top crust pieces, and put back in the fridge to chill while the oven preheats.

Preheat the oven to 425. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar for sparkly crunch. Bake for 20 minutes at 425, then lower the temp to 375 and bake another 35-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling like crazy. Remove from the oven and let cool for several hours, preferably more, before slicing and serving (I made mine the day before). Keep leftovers in the fridge, covered – keeps well for about 3 days after baking, assuming it lasts that long.

Also made a far less fussy galette, with the following modifications:

Crust:
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 oz butter (1 stick)
3-5 tbsp ice water

Same method as above, but makes a single crust for a free-form galette.

Filling:
1 bag (12oz) of fresh cranberries
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp fig preserves
demerara sugar + egg wash (see above) for finishing.

Preheat oven to 425. Make the single crust using method above. Spread an even layer of fig preserves across the dough surface, stopping just short of the edges. In a large bowl, stir together cranberries, thyme, apple, coconut sugar, and vanilla. Pile fruit onto the preserve-brushed dough, folding up the edges and crimping them at the creases (juice may escape anyway but it’s a rustic pie so who cares!) Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 35 minutes, until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown. Remove and let cool for a bit before digging in, or not… also acceptable to plop a scoop of ice cream on the top of it and eat it out of the sheet pan. Keeps well overnight at room temperature.

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