I’ve always been rather fond of Christmas, it’s such a beautiful and magical time of the year. However, ever since I was eight I’ve often been particularly sick in the autumn and winter due to so many viruses going around and rather long cases of chronic bronchitis. This means I would often miss out on decorating the tree, and would try to content myself with stringing some lights and garland along my bed. Thankfully the last few years I’ve seemed to have gotten past the twice yearly bronchitis, so I decided to try as hard as I could to participate in decorating the house this December.
This year we are doing a Scandinavian theme for Christmas. I am rather fond of (meaning obsessed) with Sweden and am even learning the language. When I showed my family some Swedish Christmas decor they really loved it, so I jumped on the opportunity to use it this year. For the decorations we are mainly using white and silver, with pops of red and blue. We will also be making some giant paper stars with a paper bag tutorial and some felt tomte, a Swedish gnome. All of this crafting and decorating has required some serious Christmas treats to sustain us, and that is where this cranberry and custard pie comes in.
In my family we are serious fans of both cranberries and pie. Whenever the holidays are around we make jar upon jar of both smooth and whole berry cranberry sauce, and we put it on everything. I also made nine pies for six people this Thanksgiving. And two days later I was being asked to make another pie since we still didn’t get all the flavors we wanted. We have a problem, but if you ask me the problem isn’t all that bad. Because pie is awesome. The pie I was asked to make right after Thanksgiving? A cranberry pie. However, we hadn’t previously made cranberry pies, and none of the recipes were quite what I wanted, so I decided I had to make my own recipe. But first I told the sister who asked for the pie that she would have to wait until after we finished all the other pies.
Finish the other pies we did and by the time we had I came up with a solid plan of what I wanted to make. To complement the tart cranberries I wanted a creamy custard, meringue for a little bit more sweetness and the wonderful texture, and some orange added to the cranberries for more depth of flavor. Not only is this perfect for Christmas, especially with the deep red of the cranberries, but I might just have to make it for Thanksgiving next year as well.
Before I could take a bite I had to get a picture, however it was hard to wait when I gave my mom the first slice and watched her take a bite and could tell by the look on her face the pie turned out as I had hoped. After that I took my pictures as quickly as I could! The first thing I noticed when I took a bite was the flakey crust from my signature pie crust, after that the sweet cloud-like texture from the meringue, the delicious tart cranberries with just a hint of orange, and lastly sweet and creamy custard which blends beautifully into the cranberries, leaving you wanting another bite. Making this pie I wanted to make sure the sweetness level was just right, since cranberries are tart. Thankfully it is sweet enough to please those in my family who are incredibly sensitive to sour and tart foods and yet still tart enough to please me, who is always craving strong flavors and have been known to be addicted to anything sour. I hope you enjoy this cranberry pie, or tranbär paj in Swedish, as much as we have!
- 1 Pie crust
- 1 cup milk or coconut milk
- 3 egg, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
- 1 1/2 TBSP flour or tapioca starch
- 12oz cranberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP sugar
- Roll out crust and place in pie pan. Preheat oven to 350℉.
- In a medium saucepan combine milk, egg yolks, 3/4 cup sugar, butter, and flour. Cook over medium heat whilst stirring with a whisk. Cook until thickened, about seven to ten minutes.
- Pour custard into pie crust and bake until custard starts to turn golden brown on top, 30-35 minutes.
- While the pie bakes combine cranberries, water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and orange zest in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for about eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick.
- In a clean bowl beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form, slowly add remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
- Once pie is removed from oven gently pour cranberries on top, being careful not to mess up the surface of the custard. Once cranberries are on top evenly spread the meringue on top of that, forming little peaks with the spatula.
- Place in oven and bake until the meringue starts to turn golden, six to ten minutes, depending on how you spread the meringue.
- Cool completely before slicing.
- The above optional alterations such as coconut milk or starch are for dairy and gluten free versions. They change the pie slightly, however it's hardly noticeable and it still turns out wonderfully.