Every month the magazine ‘Taste of Home,’ posts a recipe in their ‘Bakeable’ group encouraging members to try new recipes and baking techniques. October’s challenge is the Citrus Cranberry Pie. This also happens to be the Pie they assigned to the state of WISCONSIN and where the magazine itself is located. I was excited to be able to participate in the challenge while knocking off another state on my list.
I honestly had no idea Wisconsin had such a rich cranberry history. I’m not sure where I thought cranberries were grown, but I didn’t think it was in Wisconsin. The cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America, the other two are concord grapes and blueberries. At one time, Europeans called these antioxidant- rich gems ‘crane berry’ because the flower from the fruit resembled the head of the sandhill crane. First harvested in Berlin, Wisconsin in 1860, cranberries are grown throughout Central and Northern Wisconsin. Today they produce 2/3’s of the nations cranberries, more than 300 million pounds a year. In 2004 The Badger State officially declared the cranberry the state fruit.
I know I’m not the only one who may have thought this, but cranberries do not grow in water. We see the Ocean Spray commercials with folks standing in knee deep water with cranberries floating all around them, I just assumed that’s how they grew. Nope. Cranberries grow in sandy bogs and marshes. The fruit has a small air pocket, so come harvesting time in September and October, the marshes are flooded and the cranberries float to the top for picking. So interesting! If you want to learn even more about Wisconsin’s cranberry history and tour one of these marshes, you can visit Wisconsin’s Cranberry Discovery Center. There’s also a Cranberry Festival every September in Warrens, Wisconsin.
* I Cut the pie dough mummy strips and set up the design on parchment paper. I placed this on a baking sheet and popped it into the freezer for 20 minutes and then lifted the whole design up and set it on top of the pie.
With over 20% of cranberries sold consumed during the holidays, we are in peak season to start adding this delightful berry into all of our festive goodies. The Citrus Cranberry Pie is just the place to begin. This might be my favorite pie so far. The filling is very simple to put together. After combining all the sugar and flour and zest of orange and lemon, the cranberries looked like they were coated in a dusting of snow. So pretty! The hot, bubbly filling created warm, sweet aromas that swirled throughout the air. This pie is the right balance of goodness. The sweetness of the oranges tames the tartness of the cranberries. The flavors perfectly complimenting each other.
Since it’s Halloween week, I turned my pie into a spooky mummy for my family. I will definitely be adding this one to my list of holiday favorites. Thanks for following along on my continuing pie journey.
*Originally published October 30,2019