Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rum-Craisin Sour Cream Pie

The Bat occasionally talks about the raisin pies her aunt used to make, back in the day.  Sadly, I am allergic to grapes, so this legendary treat will never be mine to enjoy. Nevertheless, I was determined to come up with my own variation on this theme – minus the old aunt's methodist aversion to a little "kick" in the fruit.

Granted, raisins tend toward sweetness, and I've never been that much of a fan of excessively sweet foods, so I'd likely not have been fond of old auntie's pie, and have asked for a lemon, instead. I'd eventually have had to compromise.

Tonight, I believe I have found that compromise.  Not overly sweet, and fairly simple, it substitutes dried cranberries for the raisins, which adds a nice tart bite to the otherwise sweet custardy treat.

It takes more than a little prep-time, because the fruit needs to soak in rum for several hours, and the pie is best served chilled. Plus, the custard tends to expand, then resettle a bit, so it needs large ventilation of some fashion, not mere piercing. Since I, personally, hate lattice crusts because they're a lot of work for half the crust, I heartily recommend taking your favorite tiny cookie cutter and making the pie yet a little merrier…

and you can get little cookies out of this, then, too! (see footnote)

Rum-Craisin Sour Cream Pie


2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rum (use any variety you like - either light or dark is fine)
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 crusts for 8-inch pie (top and bottom)

1 pint whipping cream
1 Tablespoon wild honey


(If you want the cranberries to be chewier, and/or if you have no interest in making them slightly rummy, this first stage may be skipped. I recommend "plumping" the fruit, however, as dried cranberries tend to bake up tougher than raisins do.)

To "plump" and tenderize the dried cranberries, in a small microwave-safe mixing bowl or small saucepan on stovetop, combine water and dried cranberries. Bring to nearly boiling, stirring once (in microwave oven, about 1 minute on High). Remove from heat, drain liquids away. Add rum and refrigerate several hours (overnight is best).

When the cranberries have absorbed most of the rum, remove from refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Lay in bottom crust in 8-inch pie pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs thoroughly. Add in sour cream, mix well. Add brown sugar, spices. Finally, stir in cranberries, making sure any remaining liquid does not get into the mixture. Pour into pie shell. Top with lattice crust, or, using a cookie cutter*, make sure the crust has plenty of openings for ventilation and expansion.

Bake 10 minutes at 450º F., then reduce oven temperature to 350º F. Continue to bake another 25 minutes.

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely (refrigeration for at least an hour before serving is advised, if possible). 

Before serving pie, in a chilled bowl combine whipping cream and honey, and mix at high speed. If you wish, slowly add in 1 teaspoonful of rum while mixing (very slowly, in small stream! Dumping the rum in will curdle the cream!). Continue mixing until semi-stiff peaks form (do not overmix, or you will have butter).

Serve cold.

*If you use a cookie cutter to ventilate the top crust, save the cut-outs, lay them on an ungreased cookie sheet, and, using a pastry brush, brush them with a little cream, cranberry juice, or milk, then sprinkle them very lightly with sugar and nutmeg. Or, if you have a little pie filling left in the mixing bowl because you didn't use a rubber spatula to thoroughly empty the bowl,  brush on a little of the custard mixture. Bake in middle of 450º F. oven for 4 minutes. Voilá! cookies! (For the record, I nibbled two before my phone camera setting started up. They're simple, yet nummy.)
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