Cranberry Streusel Pie

As I've mentioned many times before, sometimes I just get the baking itch.  That urge to hop in the kitchen and make something totally new.  I realized I had a pie crust left in the fridge after the Pumpkin Pie I made for Thanksgiving, and got to pondering what I could use it for.  Then I had an epiphany...there was a can of whole berry cranberry sauce just waiting in my cabinet, aching to be used.



For the most part, I followed a Cranberry Crumb Pie recipe, but decided to switch out the cream cheese for cottage cheese and opted to throw in some vanilla extract. I made a few other slight changes as well including skipping on the walnuts and adjusting the sugar quantities, but we'll get there.

I started off by spreading some shortening in the pie dish, spreading out the pie crust dough, and baking the crust for a few minutes to crispen it up.


Now, the pie filling and topping works in 3 parts.  Since I decided to utilize creamed cottage cheese as opposed to the cream cheese originally called for, I chose to use my Kitchenaid's whisk attachment to get the job done.  I beat the cottage cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes while I worked with the pie crust to get this ready.


I finished it off the creamy filling by mixing in the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract and mixing until it was combined.


Now on to part 2, the cranberry sauce filling.  To make this, I mixed brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, then stirred in the whole berry cranberry sauce.  Easy!


For the streusel topping, I added 1/2 cup of chilled butter, 2/3 cup flour, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar together in a bowl. I must admit, I made a mistake here and used a bit more butter than the 1/4 cup original called for, so I just doubled the flour and brown sugar to keep the proportions even.  I used a spoon to chop the butter into small pieces while the flour and sugar coated all sides of the chunks.


Now on to the pie building!  I started out by pouring the creamy cottage cheese filling into the pie crust, then I spooned the cranberry filling evenly over it and let it sink in.  To top it off, I sprinkled the struesel on top.  I used about 3/4 of the struesel mixture before I felt there was enough, then popped that pie in the oven.


After baking, this thing looked gorgeous.


One of my favorite things about baking is just coming up with something on a whim and having it turn out amazing.  This was one of those times!  Cranberry sauce by itself has not particularly been one of my favorite holiday dishes, and most things with cranberries tend to be a bit bitter. But this pie...this was sweet, delectable goodness.  The streusel topping gave it a crispy top, and the cranberry and cream filling was wondrous.  My sister-in-law's boyfriend described this as tasting like a cheesecake, and when I brought some into work for one of my cooking-inclined coworkers, I got a great review, especially on the streusel topping.  I. LOVE. BAKING!!!

Cranberry Streusel Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (14 ounces)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup butter

Instructions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spread vegetable shortening into pie dish and lay pie crust inside. Bake for about 8 minutes until slightly browned, then remove from oven and set aside. Lower oven heat to 375 degrees F. Using a blender or mixer with a whisk attachment, blend cottage cheese until creamy. Add in sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract and continue mixing until smooth. In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons brown sugar and cornstarch together, then add in the can of cranberry sauce and stir until combined. In another small bowl, combine butter, flour, and remaining brown sugar and use a spoon to chop butter into small pieces within the mixture until the butter has formed small crumbles. To make the pie, pour the cottage cheese mixture into the pie crust. Next, spoon the cranberry filling evenly throughout the cottage cheese mixture already in the crust. Top by sprinkling the streusel topping over the pie, then bake for 45 minutes, until top is slightly browned. Allow pie to cool completely and store refrigerated.

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