So, the other day I had to macerate some blueberries for a lemon cake I made. I opened the freezer to discover two bags of cranberries – I always stock up in November so I can satisfy my cranberry sauce cravings throughout the year. I asked myself, “Self, do you think you can macerate these tart red orbs of tasty goodness?” and Self said she was pretty sure the answer was “no”. I had pondered this once before and searched the world wide web for this information and not one person, it seems, has ever posted anything about this, which means it probably couldn’t be done. But today I was being stubborn and ignored Self’s answer to Myself and tried it anyway.
I did what you need to do in order to macerate fruit; I poured the cranberries into a bowl, mixed them with about a cup and a half of sugar – as they need lots of sugar, cranberries do – covered them and put them in the fridge for a day.
I was neither deterred nor surprised that these bog dwellers had not broken down and produced any sweet, syrupy goodness, so I poured some lemon juice upon them, covered them and let them sit for one more day, and it appears to have worked.
Now, what to do with them? I could make a pie. I could fight with my husband about making said pie, he being quite against my having to turn the oven on in 98 degree weather. I could then ignore him and do what I wanted to. I was not going to throw out my berries and I wasn’t going to just cook them and turn them into sauce because I could have done that already. Silly. But how do I make this pie? I’m not much of a baker of pies. I can make cakes and cookies, all I do is follow the directions exactly and they all turn out perfectly. I know that baking is all about science and I’m not into science and logic and math. I’m all about “what if’s” and “maybes” so inventing a pie was pretty adventurous for me. I expected the worst and hoped for the best.
My favorite, and frankly, the only pie I have ever made is Shaker Lemon Pie. I wondered if I could make a Shaker cranberry pie? The only diff was the fruit, right? I found my recipe and mixed four eggs, 3 tablespoons of flour and 4 tablespoons of melted butter into the bowl of berries. My intent was to add a cap-ful of vanilla, but I forgot 😦 . I then poured most of the concoction into a pre-made frozen pie crust – oh, no, I don’t make my own. I have no problem admitting it either. I put the top crust on, squished in the edges, cut the steam vents and put it in the oven. The lemon pie recipe says to start at 425 for the first half hour and then down to 350 for another so that’s what I did.
After I got the pie out, it looked pretty good – no burning or explosions, which was nice. It was way to hot to taste so I let it sit for a couple of hours, but by then it was too late to eat it and sadly I would have to wait until tomorrow so I covered her with some tin foil and put her in the fridge.
Next day, as I was making lunch for the child, I spied the pie and figured I could have a slice for breakfast. It is fruit, which is good for you and it has eggs in it, so how can this particular dessert for breakfast really be all that bad? Well, I have to say, it was pretty damn good. As you can see, it looks like it didn’t bake all the way through and like the berries separated from egg mixture and went to the top. Hmmm… maybe next time I should smash them up before I put them in the shell? That could work. Also, it probably could have used another 10 minutes in the oven. But all in all for my first pie experiment, I think it came out pretty decent and it hasn’t made me sick, so there’s a thumb’s up.
If any of my much more talented baking/cooking friends have any suggestions on perfecting my pie, please let me know. I know you’re out there and I know at least three of you actually went to school and have knowlege and skill with this stuff.
Next time I think I’ll try a Shaker Orange Pie.