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You’ve got the standards done. Now, hmmm, the dessert that no one has had before. Or the dessert that reminds you of Thanksgivings past. Or just the easy dessert that you can make with the help of willing small hands (that’s the Free-form Apple Pie). Three options:

Pumpkin Custard No. 1

Cranberry Nut Pie

Free-Form Apple Pie

Here’s to happy memories in the Thanksgiving kitchen!

When I sent out the all-call for what people wanted to see for Thanksgiving dessert recipes, Kathy replied that she was in the market for a cranberry dessert besides cranberry bread.

Here’s one.

Aunt Janie first cut a cranberry pie recipe out “Food & Wine” in the early 1990s: Elizabeth Ryan’s Cranberry Pie. Dad was keen to try it, even though we had no food processor. (Translation: Laborious hand-cutting of the cranberries, with much “discussion” of whose turn it was.) The first few times we made that pie, it was almost dry, rather austere. I’ve tweaked it a fair bit since then. Now it’s a celebration of the cranberry, on all counts. Think of this as a salute to mince pie delivered from the New England cranberry bogs — without the meat products, and with a lot more color.

Cranberry pie has been at the end of the table for many Thanksgivings in the past 20 years. At the end of the meal, it’s a relief to get to this pie. While other desserts — like chess pie or apple tart — each have their qualities, this one owns “refreshing.” That’s not to say it isn’t rich — you only need a slender slice — but its richness is tempered by tartness.cranberry nut pie

The pie is delicious the first day, and even better if you let it sit overnight. And of course, it shines on the breakfast table.

Cranberry Nut Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

  • Pie crust for 9-inch double-crust pie
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries, washed and drained
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In small bowl, mix sugar and flour; set aside. Chop cranberries in a food processor until some are finely chopped, and largest pieces are the size of a pea (about 10 long pulses if you’re using fresh berries). Put chopped cranberries in a medium-sized bowl, and add raisins, walnuts or pecans, orange juice, butter and orange zest. Mix well. Add flour and sugar mixture; stir just to blend in.

Lay out bottom crust in a pie plate. Pile cranberry filling in. Cover with top crust, crimp edges with fingers or a fork, and cut steam-slits.

Place pie on baking sheet, and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes; lower temperature to 325°F, and cook for an additional 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on the edge of the crust; if it’s getting too done, cover edges with tin foil. When pie is done, let cool to room temperature before serving.

Photograph and recipe copyright 2009 Garside Group LLC

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