Janet McCormick: Cranberry hand pies a treat for Thanksgiving

November 12, 2018

I am not a make-ahead-kind-of-cook which means on Thanksgiving my plan is to wake up early and do it all before noon.

I don’t know how the tradition began that we eat at noon on Thanksgiving but it’s the only hour I’ve ever enjoyed the festivities.

Each year I try something new in an attempt to expand the legacy of dishes that are tried and true and make it on the table year after year. This year is no different.

However, I always question what could possibly motivate me to make more work for myself when my crew is a simple bunch perfectly satisfied with the classics like turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and pies.

I assume the sheer challenge of producing new food contenders for the sake of tradition fuels my need to stretch the culinary vision in hopes of raising the bar, heightening the experience and passing the new dishes on to family members entices me to go to this level of cooking.

Or maybe I just want something different to eat.

Whatever the reason I’m auditioning new dishes for the big day. This cranberry hand pie made the cut, for now. Next week’s idea may knock it out of the realm of possibilities. Either way, my family and a few neighborhood friends are enjoying this pseudo competition that is playing out in my head.

Fresh cranberries are in season and with the many recipes out there for jellies, sauces and sweet breads I began wondering how a pie would play out.

The unsugared berries are tart and sweet, and for any good pie to become a classic for the big holidays, it must have those qualities.

These pies are easy to handle and assembly is quick — always a plus in my style of cooking — but the taste is just the right amount of delicious.


1 bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons orange peel

1/4 cup orange juice

3 package prepared pie crust

In a medium sauce pan place the berries, sugar, orange peel and juice. Bring to boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Take the pie crusts and roll out. Quarter each crust and place with a spoonful of berries.

Fold over the crust and secure with a fork. Brush each pie with an egg/water mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve.

Janet McCormick is the owner of Let’s Eat Cafe in downtown Huntington. More of her recipes can be found at http://www.10-minutemeals.com.

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