There aren’t too many recipes out there that celebrate the cranberry, especially outside of the fall season. We’re not talking dried, juice cocktail, or that jelly cylindrical stuff either. With such vibrant flavors and colors, why are fresh cranberries not utilized more often?
Besides serving it as a traditional side dish on Thanksgiving, there are plenty of ways for you to add cranberries into your recipes. Lemon meringue pie is so popular— why not try swapping out the lemon for this different, deliciously tart fruit? Whether you whip up a new batch or utilize some Turkey Day leftovers, cranberry filling is the star of these cranberry meringue pie bites. Paired with some fresh citrus zest and and warm vanilla bean, this cranberry sauce is tangy and sweet. With a flaky, buttery crust and heavenly meringue, these pie bites are like a taste explosion!
Pie crust adapted from The Homemade Pantry
–1 bag fresh cranberries
–1 cup water
–1 cup granulated sugar
–juice of one orange
–zest of one orange
–1 vanilla bean, split with seed removed
—1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
—2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
—1/3 cup water
—2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
—1/2 teaspoon salt
—3 ounces egg white
—1/3 cup granulated sugar
—1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Place cranberries, sugar, water, vanilla bean seeds, and pod in a medium sauce pan. Heat over medium-high.
2. Heat until water starts to simmer and cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until a majority of the cranberries break down. (about 10 minutes)
4. Stir in the orange juice and zest and simmer on the lowest setting until thickened. (about another 5 minutes)
5. Remove the vanilla bean pods and season with salt to taste.
MINI PIE CRUSTS:
1. Place cubed butter and flour in the bowl of an electric mixer and toss until butter is slightly coated. Place in refrigerator.
2. Combine water, vinegar, and salt in a measuring cup and chill for 10 minutes.
3. Once ingredients are chilled, return them to the bowl of the electric mixer. Mix on low with a paddle attachment until the butter and flour resemble a course meal.
4. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the water. Mix for about 20 seconds or until combined.
5. Turn out on a clean surface and divide into two disks. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray.
7. Using half of the dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4- 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with a small round or fluted cutter (about 3 inches across), or try using a medium 5-petal cutter like we did.
8. Carefully press the cut dough into the wells of the muffin tin. Repeat with remaining dough.
9. Prick each “crust” with a fork and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
11. Bake until slightly golden. (about 10-15 minutes)
1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix on medium until egg whites start to foam.
2. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whip on high until glossy, stick peaks form.
Have you been totally convinced to give cranberries the attention they deserve? Tell us how your pie bites turn out!