Did you know cranberries are considered by many to be a “superfood,” due to their high antioxidant and nutrient content? Whether worked into a cake, whirled into a smoothie, or made into a sauce meant for smothering pork chops, cranberries have proven that they are worthy of any meal, any time of day.
Why Cranberries Are Good For You, More Than Once a Year
- Conclusively linked to lower likelihood of a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Linked to cancer prevention, and proved to slow cancer progression while triggering death of cancer cells
- Cause improved immune function, as they are high in vitamin C
- Decrease blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduce inflammation
- Improve oral health and reduce the likelihood of gum disease
- Support collagen production essential for wound healing
- Host a slew of nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins C, A, E, K, B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-6, not to mention they are rich on fiber which promotes liver health.
Cranberries have nearly equal parts naturally-occurring sugar as they do fiber, which is a great scenario for the liver–as it works to process the sugar, the fiber slows down the process, preventing the sugar from being turned into fat for storage to be “processed” later.
Convinced? Here’s Some Ways to Eat Cranberries
- Toss dry cranberries into a salad, fruit salad, or trail mix
- Add whole cranberries to your next loaf of banana bread or muffins
- Stir whole cranberries into a bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Blend cold cranberries into a smoothie
- Blitz whole cranberries with sugar and orange zest in a food processor until homogenous to make flavored shortbread cookies
If you are interested in drying your own fresh cranberries, check out this recipe from Spruce Eats.
Working With Whole Wheat Flour
It’s important to note that working with whole wheat flour is a different experience entirely than working with regular all-purpose flour. Whole wheat is less refined, has more fiber, and is therefore prone to absorbing more liquid and developing less elasticity than all-purpose flour. If you are experienced with whole wheat, feel free to use three cups of it in the pie crust. If you are less experienced, consider substituting one to one and a half cups for regular flour in the pie crust.
It’s equally important to note that the less water you can add to your crust the better, so go slow with your additions of ice water. The crust should just come together without feeling shaggy or falling apart, and should roll out well with minimal sticking to your rolling pin. Finding your “sweet spot” for pie crust is an intuitive process that gets easier with time, so don’t feel discouraged if your crust isn’t perfect.
A Little Crust Troubleshooting
Tough crust? This is a sign you have added too much water, and/or overworked the dough.
Crust not divinely flakey, as you’d hoped? Make sure you’re using ice cold butter and water, and try folding your rolled out dough multiple times into a rectangular shape before before rolling it out a final time for the pie plate, effectively laminating it.
Top of your pie burned while the bottom is underbaked? Tent your pie with foil for the final 15 minutes or so of the bake to continue the cooking process without coloring the crust.
Making a fruit pie? Consider cooking down some of the fruit filling before adding to your prepared pie crusts in order to reduce baking time and ensure cornstarch or other thickening agent has set. This also allows you to pack more fruit into your pie, maximizing flavor and fruit-to-crust ratio. This is especially awesome for loaded apple pies! Make sure your fruit mixture has completely cooled before adding to your crust to maximize flakiness.
But Now For That Pie…
Gather all your ingredients together. As you can see, I used two small oranges in lieu of one large orange.
Mix cranberries, orange zest, ginger, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl. Featured is the butter cut into the flour with spices and sugar, and ice water.
After cranberries cook over medium heat until the cornstarch has set, allow the mixture to completely cool. Add to your prepared pie crust, cover with a lattice if desired, brush with egg wash and dust with a generous handful of sugar, and bake!
10/10 recommend serving with greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream. The fat really helps temper the cranberry’s acidic edge.
Whole Wheat Cranberry Goo Pie
- shallow pie plate
- rolling pin or wine bottle
- 24 oz fresh cranberries
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1 large orange, zested and juiced
- 1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 Tbs Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur, optional
- 3 cups whole wheat flour, with the option of substituting 1 1/2 cups of regular flour for the whole wheat
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 Tbs white sugar
- 2 sticks cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
- 6-8 Tbs ice water
- 1 egg, scrambled
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar, or other large crystal sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Add cranberries, first measurement of white sugar, corn starch, grated ginger and orange zest into a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Transfer the mixture into a large sauce pot or pan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly, adding 3 Tbs of fresh orange juice and optional liqueur. (Note that the cranberries will stain so don't use a wooden spoon if this bothers you.) The cranberries will begin to pop and the mixture will become homogenous and saucelike after 5-7 minutes. You will know that the cornstarch is cooked through when the cranberry mixture takes on an opaque, gelatinous quality, no more than 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, place flour(s), spices, salt, and second measurement of sugar in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add butter chunks and smoosh with your fingers until flattened, or use a pastry cutter for maximum flakiness. When most of the butter has been "cut," begin adding tablespoons of ice water. Stop at 4 or 5 and mix everything together. If you are using straight whole wheat flour, the dough will absorb more liquid. If using a mixture, the flour will absorb less, but will also be prone to growing tough if overworked. Stop adding water when everything just comes together. (The dough should roll out easily with minimal sticking to your rolling pin.) Divide the dough in half and form two discs, about 1 1/2" thick. Wrap one disc in cling film and transfer to the fridge.
- If desired, roll dough into a rough rectangle and fold repeatedly hotdog style, then hamburger style, until you have a rectangular column of dough. Re-roll the dough to 1/4" thickness. (This is to maximize flakiness.)
- Transfer dough into a shallow pie dish, with about 1 inch hanging over the sides of the dish. Add the cooled cranberry mixture and place the pie in the fridge while you roll out the second disc of dough. Cover the pie and pinch the edges together or use a fork to combine the edges of the crust.
- Brush the entirety of the visible crust with the beaten egg, and sprinkle a generous amount of demerara sugar over the top. The cranberries are extremely tart, so the sugar you throw on the pastry now helps to balance out the cranberry flavor.
- Bake 35-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown, tenting with foil if necessary. If you are using a glass pie dish, check the bottom of the pie to ensure the crust is fully baked before pulling it out of the oven.
- Serve this pie warm with whole yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Sweet, fatty flavors are a natural compliment to this pie!