Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Fudge Pie

Wanna play Two Truths and a Lie? Okay, here goes:

1) I named my childhood cat Maybelline because it looked like she was wearing eyeliner.
2) I love pie.
3) I've never seen Star Wars.

Think you know which one is the lie?  

Did you guess #3?

If so, please don't judge...because #3 is actually true.  I've lived on this planet for almost 30 years and have never seen Star Wars. It's not that I have anything against Star Wars, I've just never gotten around to it. If you want to invite me over for a Star-Wars specific movie night, I'm free next Friday...

Truth #2 is that I indeed named my childhood cat Maybelline. Maybelline was a special cat, to put it nicely. I think the fact that she was born wearing dark eyeliner was a sign of her evil nature to come. Deep down she was a good cat, though.

That leaves us with the lie being me loving pie.

I don't know what it is specifically that I don't like about pie. There's just something about it that has always demoted it to the bottom of my dessert totem pole.

That said, when it comes to Thanksgiving, you can't argue that pie is the dessert of choice, and this year I wanted to contribute. I've been having a love affair with cranberries lately, and have also been thinking that it's a terrible shame that chocolate doesn't usually have a place on the Thanksgiving menu. So when I came across this Cranberry Fudge Pie on Baking Banter, I knew this was what I would make.

Eating this pie is like, well, not eating pie. It's more like eating a chocolate-cranberry truffle.  Yep.  I think pie - or at least this pie - just moved up on my dessert totem pole.

This pie was very easy to throw together - it's just a graham cracker crust filled with chocolate ganache and pecans, topped with a very basic cranberry sauce.  You even end up with leftover cranberry sauce to eat with your turkey...or to use on a second pie.

Now for another round of Two Truths and a Lie:

1) Cranberry Fudge Pie is my new favorite pie.
2) Number 1 is a lie.
3) I have to go now, so I can eat the last piece of pie.

- Katie

Cranberry Fudge Pie
Adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour
Makes one 9-inch pie (8-10 very rich slices)

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • *One cellophane-wrapped packet of graham crackers (11 whole crackers) will yield this amount of crumbs.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate*
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • *Resist the urge to use bittersweet chocolate; with the acidic tang of the cranberries, it's just too much. 

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries (generous 3 cups)
  • *You'll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2) To make the crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor or bowl. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie pan.
3) Bake the crust for 7 to 8 minutes, until it's set but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
4) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for approximately 90 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you're simply making a basic ganache.
5) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.
6) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.
7) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the sugar, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.
8) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
9) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.
10) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.
11) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

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