Walnut Cranberry Pie

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Berry pies are evocative of summer time, and pecan pie is almost always alongside a pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving dessert table.  I make a Honey Crunch Pecan Pie for Thanksgiving every year; it seems rather strange to me to make it for Christmas.  So what to make to followup a fabulous Christmas feast?  I found a new family favorite, just as fun to make as to eat.

A highlight of making this pie with my three~year~old son was making the cranberry 'jam'.  The cranberry layer doesn't take long to cook, and as it does, the cranberries crack and pop.  Placing a screen over the top of the saucepan {not a lid, but a mesh splatter screen} helps ensure no hot cranberries pop out onto little helping hands.  Watching the cranberry and orange juice mixture instantly turn to a jelly consistancey once the cornstarch paste is added is amazing for little eyes, too.  You'll want to let the 'jam' cook a bit longer after this point though, letting some steam off so the liquid evaporates a bit more.  Cook just about one minute longer.  Another note, all of the berries may not pop.  You can remove the unpopped berries or not; there should not be more than a few.  I prefer to leave them in.

This pie was really a nice treat, not exceptionally sweet like a pecan pie but with a similar texture.  The cranberry layer is a beautiful contrast to taste buds with its tartness.  Don't be concerned.  It's not overly tart because of the sugar and orange juice.  Try it and see if it becomes a family holiday favorite at your dessert table!

Walnut Cranberry Pie

1 1/2 c fresh cranberries
6 Tbsp orange juice
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp water

2 eggs
3/4 c dark corn syrup
1/3 c packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp grated orange peel
2 c walnut pieces
Unbaked pie shell {either deep dish or a 9"}

Prepare the filling: In a small dish mix cornstarch and water.  Combine fresh cranberries, oj and white sugar in saucepan; stir.  Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes stirring frequently.  Stir cornstarch paste into cranberry mix and continue to cook until thickened to jam consistency.  Let cool to about room temp.

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a bowl, beat eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter and orange peel. Stir in walnuts.  Spread cooled cranberry filling in bottom of unbaked pie shell; top with walnut mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes; check crust after 20 minutes of baking and top loosely with foil if browned to keep from burning.  Let pie cool to room temperature before serving.

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