Cranberry Crackle Spring Pie

I had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer. There aren’t that many choices for a fresh fruit pie right now in this chilly weather.  But, I got the perfect recipe for an early spring pie. Easy to make, not too rich or too filling and very tasty. I found this recipe on line, several years ago, at splendidtable.com.  I loved the look and once I tasted it; definitely love at first bite.  Like a fruit tart and a pavlova had a baby: this is the delightful result.  Light and delicate in nature; making it perfect after a hearty Easter feast.  It is really guilt free if you eat it plain.  I devoured it in the past with vanilla ice cream, Greek yogurt or plain organic yogurt dolloped on top. Love it all those ways. Maybe next time I will be serving it like you do a Pavlova, with lightly sweetened real whipped cream on top. Yumm!

It is super easy to throw together.  If you are gf you can use the cookie crust recipe I provide, I adapted the splendid table recipe to make it gluten tree using Annalise Roberts’great cookie crust. At holidays,like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wegmans often has gf ready-made crusts. So does Frey’s Better Foods in Hellertown. If you are a wheat eater use whatever cookie tart crust you like.  I added the cinnamon to my crust and found it added to the complexity of the flavors.  The crust absolutely needs to be prebaked and cooled before you put the tart together.

I made it in a glass pie tin but often use a ten inch ceramic tart pan.  Both work great; so it is a tart or a pie depending on the vessel you bake it in!. This tart is fantastic tasting even if you aren’t a huge cranberry fan.

The recipe calls for a few  tablespoons of raspberry jam but you could probably use most any jam, strawberry comes to mind as a great second choice.  Just chose one full of real fruit in a flavor you like as you can definitely taste the jammy flavor mixed in with the crust and the meringue topping. I love it with homemade raspberry jam, bursting with incredible raspberry flavor.

Cranberry Crackle Pie

Sweet Cookie Crust

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. cinnamon

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well.

Pour the crumbs into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Or a glass pie pan which is how I made it this past weekend.  Spread it up the sides.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-19 minutes. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Do not let it get more than light brown. You could do this step the night before.

Filling

2-3 tablespoons chunky cherry, raspberry or strawberry jam

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberries (if they’re frozen, don’t thaw)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cranberry prep: I rinse them and remove any squishy ones.  There are usually a few of those mixed in and they aren’t great for anyone to eat.  Let them dry. Frozen; ready to go just as they are!

Gently spoon the jam on top of the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom, I used the back of my big spoon for this operation. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they are fluffy and fairly opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then keep beating on high until the whites are shiny and form definite peaks; they will look like marshmallow.  This is a meringue. Be sure to wait until the whites are opaque and starting to get full or the sugar will not blend in properly.

Pour the cranberries into the bowl of meringue and, using a flexible spatula or spoonula fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t mix too much– you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Spoon the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam might push up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.  Don’t fret if it looks like not enough filling, it will puff up in the oven to fill the pie pan.

Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it a bit longer or even put it under the broiler.)  I never go there!  Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  I did cut it while slightly warm and my slice was just perfection.  If you’d like, and I do, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Ice cream, whipped cream or even organic plain yogurt on the side are a great complement to the berry flavors.
cranberry-crackle-tart-cut

Storing: The tart is best the first two days after it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice the third day. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering with plastic wrap.  I doubt you will have any after the second day anyway. It is that tasty. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (Same as King Arthur’s basic GF Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in 2014 on this blog. Minor text changes.

 

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