Are fruit desserts nobler than chocolate desserts? Do fruit sugar laden desserts actually need to be healthier than cocoa and sugar laden desserts for them not to be fattening, or in this magical and festive time of year, is it enough to just believe? Whatever the case may be, after a holiday feast of butter- salt- and cream-stuffed foods, a fruit dessert is at least more palatable than a chocolate dessert. Even in my own household, rich foods have their limits.
And so long as we are cutting down on the creamy richness of holiday desserts, why not cut down on the sweetness, and increase the odds that your dinner guests are actually able to finish a whole serving of their dessert? Enter the cranberry pecan pie. It is tart and toasty, not heavy, but still complex and flavorful. And did I mention how beautiful it is?
So while there may not be many holidays left this year, with all of this health benefits outlined above, why not make it to nutritiously ring in the new year?
Cranberry Pecan Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup cold water
For Cranberry Filling:
5 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
pinch of salt
zest of 1/2 clementine
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or your fingers to distribute the butter in the flour mixture until the butter is pea-sized. Pour in most of the water, and use a metal spoon to mix until the dough starts to come together. If it looks too dry, add the remaining water. Form the dough into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours. When ready to make the pie, roll out the dough and fit into a standard 9 inch pie pan. Place pie pan with dough in oven until the filling and topping are ready.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the filling, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally. It should take about 7 minutes for the cranberries to start bursting. It will take another 7 minutes or so for the filing to become loose. When the filling is loose but the cranberries are still holding their shape, pour them into a bowl to cool while you make the topping.
To make the topping, place the oats in a food processor and process until they are a powder. Add the pecans and pulse until they are finely ground. Add the sugars, cinnamon, and salt until well-combined. Finally, add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture comes together.
To assemble, pour the filling into the pie crust, and then sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling. Use aluminum foil to cover the exposed pie crust. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, and bake for an additional 10-25 minutes, until the filling begins to bubble through the topping slightly.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, and/or holiday cheer!