Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Canadian Christmas: mock cherry (cranberry) pie

I have no idea if this recipe is a Maritime food tradition, per se, but my Christmas holidays are incomplete without it, and it features one of the great wild foods of of eastern North America: the cranberry. Regional magazine Saltscapes have printed a version of it, attributing it to author Lucy Maud Montgomery, so I guess it has a little Canadian food cred. My Nana - my maternal grandmother - made it every Christmas, and now so do I.

This time I used organic fresh cranberries grown in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Quebec, and a handful of leftover craisins along with the raisins. You can do this with frozen cranberries too, of course. The recipe from Saltscapes calls for chopped fruit, but I use the cranberries and raisins whole.

Pearl Lantz Schofield's Mock Cherry Pie Filling 

4 cups cranberries
2 cups raisins
2 cups hot water (or a bit less)
Cook the above on the stovetop. 
Add sugar to taste (our family prefers it tart).
Thicken with 1-2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water. 
Add a pat of butter, salt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and juice of one lemon. (You can jazz it up by adding a dash of lemon or orange zest at this point, too.)
Makes 2 deep-dish pies - I precook the crusts and add the filling after. Can be served hot or cold.

The filling just after all the ingredients were added - as you can see, the cranberries split as they cook. I used dark brown sugar for a little molasses flavour; white sugar gives a brighter colour and flavour.

Mock-cherry pie before chilling and cutting. Because it can be served cold, it's a great make-ahead dessert for holiday entertaining. It would also be a good choice for gifts.

Usually served a la mode in our home - but this time we couldn't wait for someone to get the vanilla ice cream!

This post is part of the Canadian Food Experience project (also on Facebook) proposed by my friend Valerie Lugonja, who is a board member of Slow Food Edmonton. The project began June 7th, 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice. Please join us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment