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Of Cranberries & Pie

Earlier this fall, I had a business trip up to Massachusetts for a week. At the end of the week, instead of driving straight back to PA I decided to do a weekend of exploring and settled on the Plymouth, MA area. In addition to exploring the early Pilgrim settlement I also sought out a visit to a cranberry farm. (In all my time in Wisconsin, I never made it to a cranberry farm and have long been fascinated by these edible ruby gems.) On that Saturday afternoon, I visited Flax Pond Farms for a tour and to learn all about cranberries.

Flax Pond Farms - September 2013

Flax Pond Farms – September 2013

First, I drove down to the bogs that were currently being harvested. They dry harvest at Flax Pond – the berries that I saw being “vacuumed up” would end up in the bags of Ocean Spray cranberries we stock up on in the grocery store in November. After visiting the bog, I spent some time in the farm store – I did a bit of berry sorting on the antique sorter and learned all sorts of fascinating facts about cranberries in general and the farm in particular. Did you know, the wet harvest we associate with cranberry bogs means that the berries cannot be sold as fresh produce? The vines in these bogs are over 100 years old. When my time there was finished, I picked up a few cranberry items – including honey from the bees that pollinate the bogs – and had placed an order to have a couple of pounds of fresh cranberries delivered to me in November.
My delivery of Flax Pond cranberries in a hand crafted crate

My delivery of Flax Pond cranberries in a hand crafted crate

It was a treat to receive my replica cranberry crate in the mail several weekends ago & begin planning what cranberry goodness would be made during the Thanksgiving holiday. I hosted the Artisan family for Thanksgiving and knew that they would enjoy the cranberry fun.
Pinterest actually led me to 2 of my recipe choices – both turned out delicious & will be part of my ongoing cooking repertoire. For my leftover turkey, I popped a couple of cranberries into the basil mayo that I was making – sandwiches & simple salad of turkey/cranberries/pecans were transformed with this zingy mayo. For Thanksgiving dessert, I turned to a recipe that I first made last November, on recommendation from a friend: Nantucket Cranberry Pie.
Thankful for pie on Thanksgiving evening!

Thankful for pie on Thanksgiving evening!

As I set about to make it on Thanksgiving morning, I realized that I had definitely modified the recipe enough to “make it mine” and share it with you. So, I present my version of the Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix
Making the pie on Thanksgiving morning

Making the pie on Thanksgiving morning

Nantucket Cranberry Pie – An Amy Artisan Remix

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt* (reduce salt by half if using salted butter)
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Sugar for topping – I use Chicago Old Town Sugar 

My Prep Tips

  • If you’re using frozen cranberries, either let them thaw a bit after chopping; or add a couple of minutes to the cake’s baking time.
  • I used a Zhylis chopper – not all the berries in a batch would be chopped – that didn’t impact the outcome – a few whole berries in the mix are just fine
  • Since I used a glass pie plate, I put the butter slices in the plate & then into the microwave – one less bowl to clean
  • Any sugar can be used for the topper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10″ pie plate. Melt 1 tablespoon butter, and drizzle it into the bottom of the pan.
  2. Spread the chopped cranberries and nuts in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup brown sugar.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, 3/4 cup melted butter, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract.
  4. Spread the thick batter over the cranberries and nuts in the pan, using a spatula or your wet fingers.
  5. Sprinkle coarse white sparkling sugar atop the batter.
  6. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean of batter or crumbs. (Mine was pulled from the oven at right about 40 minutes.)
  7. Remove the pie from the oven. Serve warm, or at room temperature; just as it is, or with whipped cream or ice cream.

Yield: one 10″ “pie” – you could also use a 9″ square pan.

P.S. As I read through this entry, it kind of sounds like one of those sponsored posts (“this trip was provided & this recipe created…”). My “disclosure” – the trip was my own adventure & the recipe was my own modifications to create a new Artisan family favorite. 🙂

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