Quick Cranberry & Pecan Pies
Quick Cranberry & Pecan Pies. (BEN DORGER/Standard-Examiner)

Quick Cranberry & Pecan Pies

Recipe by SHAUNA HAVEY

I believe there should be less preparation and more eating when it comes to pie, especially at the holidays when there's so much to do.  After all, they don't say things are as "easy as pie" for nothing!  These irresistible, pretty little pies are bursting with a perfectly balanced fresh cranberry filling.

Makes 4 mini pies

Ingredients:

1 box store bought pie crusts (2 crusts)

1 16 ounce bag fresh cranberries

1/2 Cup pecan chips

2/3 Cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest from one lemon

4 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 Tablespoon decorative sparkling sugar

Baking Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lay both pie crusts onto a flat surface.  Lay two six ounce ramekins onto each pie crust.  Draw a knife around the outsides of the ramekins, leaving about 2 inches of crust around the perimeter.  Place the circles of dough down into the ramekins, so that all of the insides are covered in crust.  Use a sharp knife to cut around the edges, shaving off any excess crust.

2.  Use a pizza cutter to cut strips out of the remnants of the pie crust dough.  These strips will form the weave pattern for the top crust.

3.  Place 3/4 of the cranberries into a food processor and pulse to chop.  Place these into a large bowl with the remaining whole cranberries. 

4.  Add the pecan chips, sugar, salt and lemon zest.  Mix with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly, then place filing into each crust lined ramekin.  The filling will be heaping over the tops, just press it down gently to fit all the berries inside.  They will sink as they cook down.

5.  Dice half the butter into small chunks and dot the tops of the pies with butter.  Use the strips cut from the pie crust scraps to make a loosely woven top crust.  Press the ends of the strips into the pie crust around the ramekin. 

6.  Melt the remaining butter and brush the pies with it, then dust the tops of the pies with sparkling sugar.

7.  Place pies onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 40 minutes.  Tent the pies with foil for the last ten minutes so the crust does not brown excessively. 

8.  Serve the pies warm or at room temperature.  I love to serve a little cinnamon whipped cream on the top if I'm feeling extra decadent.

Read more recipes from Shauna here