I’ve been working my way through food and time recently with the book, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen. It’s a biography of Lincoln through the view of food history. Each chapter includes period recipes updated for the modern kitchen. So far I’ve made biscuits and almond cake. This week I came across cranberry pie from Lincoln’s inaugural year. I decided to make it since kamikazi cranberries, leftovers of overly zealous holiday plans, have been leaping from the freezer onto the floor for the past weeks.
Most of us think of cranberry as a fruit that brightens the table on holidays in a relish. But with enough sugar the plucky fruit can be used like other berries to make a cranberry pie. The instructions called for fresh cranberries, but I just thawed the frozen ones instead. The recipe was simple: 2 cups diced cranberries and sugar (or 1:1 ratio if more) and a little flour and store-bought vanilla put into a latticed pie crust. I took the risk of dishonoring the culinary ancestors and used an Aldi pie crust instead of making my own.
The cranberry pie results were pleasing. My wife was dubious at first but agreed after one bite it was delicious. It was like a blueberry pie, but with a thicker texture and a tarter flavor. Still, two cups of sugar made it taste sweet enough. The lattice crust gave it enough pastry without masking the strong flavor of the berries. I served it with whipped cream on top; it would also be good with ice cream. Next time I may add a little orange zest to enhance the cranberry flavor even more.
Through this I learned that cranberries can be more than a relish, and that many types of berries can be made into a pie. I also discovered that I am allergic to cranberries! :-p. I had a piece at breakfast (fruit and starch make a complete meal, right?) and a slice at lunch. By dinner I had pretty pink circles and stripes all over. Didn’t know cranberries could even do that. Still, the pie was worth it.