Sometimes the best inspiration comes from seasonal produce. I've been seeing tons of fresh cranberries at the shops this time of year, and so I couldn't resist grabbing a few bags to try out something new with them. After all, fresh cranberries are not easy to come by out of season here, so how could I not take advantage...
The crispy autumnal days these last few weeks also led to a massive amount of actual baking in my kitchen. Anything in the oven, with its warmth and aromas, seemed like a much needed comfort while we're transitioning to cooler days. And so this cranberry pie happened and the results made me very happy. It's perfectly tart, yet also perfectly sweet. And spiced just right to feel cozy.
Typically cranberries in baked goods are cut down with other fruit (like apples, etc.) due to their intense tartness and even slight bitterness. But I felt like seeing what happens with just cranberries. I wasn't disappointed. I love the tartness of this pie. There's plenty of sweet there too to take off the edge, but I find the natural tartness delightful.
For the top portion of the crust, I used the acorn cookie cutter I acquired some years back to make these autumnal acorn cookies. But of course any cookie cutter will do. I also rolled tiny dots / balls of dough by hand to fill in some of the "gaps" and add a bit of whimsy. Plus they're fun to eat once the pie is baked :)
For the crust I'll admit I was very naughty and used a good dose of non-dairy butter. I try to shy away from that stuff these days, but once in a blue moon I get a hankering for a buttery, flakey kind of a treat, and this crust is of just that sort. I "stole" it from my blueberry pie recipe from some years back.
If you prefer not to use something like Earth Balance, you can always make your own vegan butter. Or you can try something like coconut oil instead, though I have to say the "butter" really adds a ton of flavor.
If you must have an oil-free crust, you can also steal the crust idea from this crostata (though you'll probably need to quadruple the recipe).
Other than that, it's as easy as pie :) Enjoy!
A tart and sweet gluten-free vegan cranberry pie, perfect for the holidays or autumnal season. This recipe is also refined sugar-free.
- 2 cups of Pamela’s Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see notes for DIY mix*)
- 1 cup non-dairy butter**
- 6 tbsp cold water***
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract (optional****)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 9" pie plate and set aside.
- Process all crust ingredients in a food processor until the mixture begins to form a ball. Remove from processor and shape into a ball. Remove a quarter of the mixture and set aside.
- Reshape the larger portion of the mixture back into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Place it in the pie plate and flatten and shape it to spread it out over the plate along the base and sides of the pie, in an evenly distributed way. Once the crust is formed, press the back of a fork along the inside upper edge of the crust to form a stroked pattern all around the pie. Set aside.
- Mix all filling ingredients together inside a mixing bowl. Then transfer into the prepared pie shell.
- Place the remaining crust dough (leftover in step 2) onto a piece of parchment paper. Cover with another piece and roll out with a rolling pin into a ¼" thickness. Cut out shapes of your choice with cookie cutters (I used something like this for the acorn shape, and then used the remaining tiny bit of dough to roll into tiny balls with my hands for the "dots") and decorate the top of the pie as desired.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 mins. Cool on a rack and enjoy! Or refrigerate for a chilled treat if you prefer.
* I used Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend here because it's my favorite gf flour and comes closest to a proper wheat flour substitute. It's unique in its extra fine blend and the inclusion of sweet sticky rice flour (glutinous rice flour). If you want to recreate a similar mix at home, here's what I recommend to use for this recipe: combine 1¼ cups brown or white rice flour, ½ cup tapioca starch, ½ cup sweet sticky rice flour, ½ teaspoon guar gum. Note that it makes a bit more flour than if you use Pamela's pre-made mix, and that's intentional -- stick to the ratios I noted here for best results. Alternatively, if you're ok with wheat, you can just use 2 cups of regular white wheat flour and you should be good to go.
** I used organic Earth Balance. Note that if you choose to try this recipe out with something else instead, like coconut oil, or perhaps a different non-dairy butter substitute, you might need to add a bit of salt to the crust. I added none as EB is already quite salty.
*** Note that if you use a different flour mix or if you make the diy mix I proposed above in place of the Pamela's mix, you might need to add another tablespoon or two of water if your dough is too dry. The correct consistency of the dough should be soft, moist, and pliable, but not too sticky to handle.
**** The almond extract adds a great flavor to the crust, but it is optional and feel free to leave it out if you're looking for a completely nut-free recipe.
***** If you want the recipe to be coconut-free, feel free to use date sugar, sucanat, or maple sugar. If you're ok with regular sugar, can always use brown sugar as well.
****** Feel free to use tapioca, corn starch, or arrowroot instead if you prefer. Also feel free to increase the amount of starch by an extra tablespoon for a thicker filling. I prefer a slightly more runny and less starchy filling so used only 2 tablespoon for that reason.