Life of Pie, Part II: Cranberry Crackle Tart and Pectin-Free Jam!

Not a mirror image, but still impressive! And most importantly -- tasty!

Not a mirror image, but still impressive! And most importantly — tasty!

Yesterday’s pie recipe was one that I’d be promising you all for a while, but here’s one that I’ve been promising myself for a while! As you know, I belong to an on-line bake-a-long group, baking our way through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi cookbook, and we make a recipe every two weeks. However, early on in the project, I had to miss a week and I’ve been wanting to try that recipe ever since.

This Tuesday was Rewind Tuesday with the Doristas, where we got to make a recipe that we had missed, or hadn’t perfected. Since all the recipes I make are perfect (am ignoring the laughter from the peanut gallery, thank you very much), today I’m making the Cranberry Crackle Tart that everyone else made around Thanksgiving. It’s a cranberry-spotted and meringue-filled tart, with a layer of strawberry jam at the bottom, and it looks tres fancy!

The first step is the dough. Ignore the lumps of brown sugar. Actually, they were deliberate! Er, yes...deliberate!

The first step is the dough. Ignore the lumps of brown sugar. Actually, they were deliberate! Er, yes…deliberate!

And of course it wouldn’t be a Baking Chez Moi recipe at my place if I didn’t have to substitute at least one ingredient, and this recipe was no exception to the rule. I didn’t have any strawberry jam, but that didn’t stop me — I just made my own! What I didn’t have though, and couldn’t make, was white sugar. So I used brown sugar, because sugar = sugar, right? Um…maybe, kinda, sort-ish, as you’ll see!

First things first. The jam! I had some strawberries in the freezer from when I went strawberry picking back at the end of last summer, so I knew I could make some jam. I didn’t have white sugar though, and I didn’t have enough brown sugar for both the tart AND the jam, so I looked around my kitchen. And…honey! I had honey! That would work, right? A quick googling of strawberry honey jam resulted in this recipe, from The Nourishing Home blog.

The second step: le jam! Hostess gifts, here we come!

The second step: le jam! Hostess gifts, here we come!

I wasn’t sure how well the strawberry jam would turn out, but I got to use my new canning funnel for the first time, which made me happy! And the jam turned out pretty well, too. There’s no pectin in it, but the cranberries (!) have natural pectin that helps set up the jam. It isn’t as firm as your standard pectin-filled jam, but I actually prefer it that way. And the mild tartness of the cranberries offsets the sweetness of the honey, so it becomes a more refreshing strawberry jam. I recommend the recipe!

I made the tart dough using brown sugar, and then while the jam set, I blind-baked the pie. The dough actually made both a pie and two little tarts. Dorie says to use the leftover dough to make a turnover, but I like tartlets, so two tartlets it was! Then I spread the freshly made jam in the freshly baked pie shells, and whipped up some meringue…with more brown sugar.

Step three: putting it all together, while looking farm fresh!

Step three: putting it all together, while looking farm fresh!

Once the meringue was spread in the pie, I realized that I had left out the cranberries from the meringue so I a) panicked and b) dropped them on top of the meringue and pushed them in. It looked fine, so I popped them into the oven, and started the timer. Dorie said to bake it for an hour, but after a half hour, they were quite brown on top so I pulled them out. I’m sure that part of the brownness was from the brown sugar, but I wonder if any of the other Doristas who made this tart found that it browned quickly too.

The most important step: eating it all! (So. Good.)

The most important step: eating it all! (So. Good.)

The verdict? I’ll let the words of the DH stand as testament. I told him that I was going to bring in the big pie to my work tomorrow, and plated us each one of the smaller tarts. We sat down and took a bite.

Me: It turned out pretty well, huh? Do you like it?

DH: No, I don’t think it’s very good. Not enough sugar in the crust. 

Me: *crushed* Really? You don’t like it?

DH: *straight face* No, you shouldn’t bring it to work. I’ll make the sacrifice and eat it all myself.

What a prince, ladies and gentleman. A true hero for our times. So yes, was delicious! It’s a nice contrast between tart and sweet, soft and crunchy. I almost wish I wasn’t going to bring it in to work — I sort of want to eat it all myself!

Next Post: Not sure yet. Maybe lasagna? I have ricotta cheese, mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini, and noodles. Maybe I’ll whip up a sauce and layer it all together, then share the recipe with you. Mmm, yes, that’s what I’ll do!

6 thoughts on “Life of Pie, Part II: Cranberry Crackle Tart and Pectin-Free Jam!

  1. jora

    Your upcoming lasagna sounds delicious…As for the tart, I am so impressed that you made your own strawberry jam. I love homemade jam, but don’t make it often enough. Thanks for the recipe suggestion. I love the idea of cranberries and honey in my strawberry jam.

    Reply
    1. Margaret Post author

      Thanks, Jora! The strawberry jam is a great recipe — I’ve already finished a jar! And the lasagna will be this weekend’s (delicious) project. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Strawberry Wine & Cranberry Brownies: BCM gone rogue! Ish. Esque? |

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