Cranberry Pie

When most people think of cranberries, all they know is the gelatinous cranberry sauce served at Thanksgiving in the shape of the can!  I love the cranberry relish my grandmother made, basically just a whole orange (peel and all) and fresh cranberries chopped up with a little bit of sugar.

But here is something I just discovered - cranberry pie! It is absolutely incredible. It tastes like Christmas. It reminds me of something I can't put my finger on. My best friend Lora likes it, and she doesn't like fruit in general (yes, weird). Ok, so it's not pretty - I am not that great at making pretty pies, in fact I hate making pie crust so this is just store-bought crust. But inside that ugly shell is pure cinnamony cranberry deliciousness. It calls for cinnamon sticks, which you'd think would be annoying to pick out, but it's actually fun because they taste so wonderful all soaked with sweet cranberry juices.

I have no idea where I got this recipe - I found it on a card, in my handwriting, in my recipe box and I thought it was the one Lora gave me, but when I was telling her about how I'd made it, we quickly realized it's not the same recipe at all!  Anyway, I think her recipe was some kind of family secret, so it's probably better that I don't publish it on my blog... This one is pretty basic.

8 cups fresh cranberries (or frozen, chopped)
2.5 cups sugar
1/3 cup tapioca
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup molasses
3 cinnamon sticks

Mix all but the cinnamon sticks in a large bowl. I used a potato masher to crush them all together, but you could probably just chop the cranberries coarsely first and then mix it all together. Pour into the bottom crust, then tuck the cinnamon sticks in. Put on the top crust (lattice is recommended but I didn't have the patience). Bake at 400 for 60 minutes.

For thickening, I used pearl tapioca, which you can actually see in the photo if you look closely. I don't know whether mine was instant or regular, but instant tapioca or tapioca starch is best. You can also grind up the pearls in a clean coffee grinder or food processor to make tapioca starch.

I'm going to have to buy some more cranberries!


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