Cranberry pie says hello, holidays! with just a half-bag of fresh cranberries. Enjoy the tart flavor bursts of real cranberries, topped with a shortbread-like mixture that serves as a crust and binder.
This vegan version is even healthier than the classic version. Use flaxseed and an apple instead of eggs and coconut spread in place of butter. Combine with fresh or frozen cranberries, white whole wheat flour, walnuts, and other wholesome ingredients. It's easy enough to be a good introduction to vegan baking.
Active time: 27 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes plus at least ninety minutes cooling. Serves 8.
1 small apple and 2 teaspoons water or 1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon finely ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cup sugar (266 grams)
2 cups fresh cranberries (6 ounces or 170 grams)
1/2 cup Earth Balance Coconut Spread (113 grams)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (120 grams)
1/4 cup corn oil
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (6 ounces or 170 grams)
shortening to grease pie plate
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch pie plate.
- To make apple sauce, core apple, then slice and chop into small pieces so sections of peel are about 1/4 inch across. Bring to a boil with 2 teaspoons water in a small covered pan on high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until apples fall apart, about 5 minutes.
- Mix flaxseed and water in a small bowl and microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Stir briskly with a fork until mixture seems gluey, like a raw egg.
- Rinse, pick over, and dry cranberries. Put in pie plate and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup (66 grams) sugar.
- Melt coconut spread. If you can, use a Pyrex measuring cup to melt spread in the microwave for 30 seconds on high, then use the same cup to measure corn oil.
- While spread melts, beat 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, flaxseed mixture, and 1/4 cup applesauce on medium high for about 2 minutes. The mixture will not be as fluffy as it would be if you'd used eggs, but you can still incorporate some air into the batter for a lighter cake.
- With the mixer on low, stir in coconut spread, flour, and oil into sugar mixture until just combined, then stir in nuts.
- Drop spoonfuls of batter over cranberries, then spread evenly with a spoon. Bake for 55 minutes, until top begins to brown and tester comes out clean. The topping will not be as firm as the classic version, which is why the next step calls for chilling the baked pie.
- Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a least an hour before cutting so topping becomes firm. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Recipe tips and notes:
- Use pecans instead of walnuts for a slightly sweeter, more Southern pie.
- Cranberries freeze well, so grab an extra bag when they are on sale.
- I left out the coconut spread by mistake during one test of this recipe. The result was quite good, but chewy. It's a good low-calorie, low-fat option.
- Thanks to my beloved mother-in-law, Catherine Watson, for permission to base this version on the wonderful cranberry pie she served at so many holiday dinners, and to the Watson family for trying my variations.