Warning: this pie has a tart and tangy filling that might not be sweet enough for some people. That said, I love the tangy quality of this filling and wouldn’t want it to be any other way. By the way, since the filling is cooked before the pie is baked, you can taste it and add a little more sugar if you want. My late friend Joseph Viggiani shared this recipe years ago; I have no idea where he might have found it.
Makes one 9-inch pie
6 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) fresh cranberries, rinsed, picked over and drained
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup turbinado or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice, strained before measuring
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup pecan pieces, coarsely chopped, divided
One 9-inch pie crust made from 1/2 batch Sweet Pastry Dough (below)
Combine the cranberries with the rest of the ingredients except the pecans (and the pie crust) in a large nonreactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often, and cook at an active simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Don’t overcook, or the filling will be hard after the pie is baked. Let cool. Set a rack at the lowest level in the oven and preheat to 375°F. Stir half of the pecans into the filling and pour it into the prepared pie crust. Smooth the surface and scatter the remaining pecans on top. Place the pan in the oven and decrease the temperature to 350°F. Bake until the crust is baked through and the pecans are toasted, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack and serve it at room temperature.
Sweet Pastry Dough
Makes enough dough for two 9-inch pie crusts
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 12 pieces
2 large eggs
Pulse dry ingredients in food processor. Add butter and pulse again until finely mixed. Add eggs and pulse again until dough starts to form a ball. Invert to a floured surface, divide in half, wrap in plastic and chill.
Knead one piece of the chilled dough on a floured surface and form it into a disk. Flour the surface and the dough and roll it to a 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and line up the fold with the diameter of a 9-inch pan; unfold the dough into the pan. Trim excess dough except for about 1/4-inch. Fold the excess dough under at the rim of the pan and flute or press with the tines of a fork.
If you have time, chill the crust for several hours before filling and baking.