Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pantry Pot Pies: Cranberry & Cinnamon

As our pantry cleanse continues… we GOTS-TO get rid of all these Thanksgiving leftover ingredients before they go bad! Fresh cranberries being ‘Numero Uno’ on my list. They last for a while in the ‘fridge, but now they are reaching expiration and must be used. I always have some ready-made store bought piecrusts in the freezer. These are cheap, freeze beautifully, and everyone has got some leftover piecrust after these gluttonous days. This recipe makes the most delicious, individually indulged pies that you will ever whip up. Basic ingredients go a long way here, folks. They provide just the right amount of an afternoon snack at work to bring you back to your couch for a few minutes in the midst of a rough day post holiday time. Place in airtight containers and enjoy for up to 1 week.


1 package store bought pie crust (need 2 sheets of crust)
1 quart fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup water
3 tsp cornstarch + ¼ cup water
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup milk (for coating)
sugar for dusting

Begin by preheating the oven to 450F. In a medium saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar, ¼ cup water, orange zest, vanilla, and brown sugar and turn on medium-low heat. Mix well as it begins to cook down, but don’t let it boil or burn. Cook until the cranberries begin to soften and release their tart-y juicy goodness. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl dissolve the cornstarch in remaining ¼ cup water. Add mixture to the cranberries and let cook down for roughly 15 minutes until it is nice and thick- pie like filling consistency. Let it cool thoroughly before you put the pies together. While they cool--- roll out your pie crust dough. Most store bought pie crust comes 2-in-1. Roll out the first on a floured surface, and place 2 tbsp of pie filling, each about 2 inches from another to leave room for cutting and sealing. As if you were making raviolis! Once you have put the pie filling on the crust, take the second piecrust and roll it out, and place carefully upon the topped crust. Seal the edges with your fingers and leave about ½ -1 inch between the filling and edge of the dough so you know where to cut, and to leave some room for it to bake. Slice the edges with a knife, and pinch the corners together and round them up with your fingers. This takes a few minutes but it is SO worth the effort. See pic below for pre-baked pies. Shape them however you like! Next time I fully intend to use cookie cutters to make fun festive shapes!

In a small bowl, pour the milk and use a pastry brush or simply a paper towel to coat the pies, and dust with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until your piecrust is browned on the edges. Let cool or enjoy nice and hot out of the oven!!

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