I had stepped away from baking for a bit, and when I came back to it, my life was different. I married my partner in crime, and in a strange twist we started weightlifting together, shifting our diet away from things that aren’t animal protein or vegetables.
On the other hand, I spend one night a week with dear friends watching sci-fi (when available, or whatever ridiculous shows are available instead), drinking wine, eating cheese and ordering the best delivery we can find on Seamless. At some point I decided that civilized gatherings require pie. Sci-fi Pie. This gathering draws between four and eight humans on a average, and the idea of making an entire batch of brownies or a standard size pie was troubling. None of us are kids in our 20s. We want our pie, but we don’t want to be stuck with the 3/4 of an entire pie that would remain if we each had a slice.
I set myself to cutting down my favorite baking recipes into portions that would leave a MAXIMUM of two SMALL slices at the end of the night (one breakfast for me, one for the hostess). Cut-down recipes, so everyone could have a little something but nobody felt there would be dire consequences from this night’s indulgence.
This began in August, with blueberries and peaches busting the seams of the Union Square Greenmarket, so I made my usual pie dough recipe, cut it into four instead of two pucks, and started buying fruit, making pie, and freezing things ahead of time. There was peach pie, nectarine pie, blueberry pie, strawberry crostada and some other things, but this cranberry chess pie was the first thing I wrote down.
(this recipe makes 2 x 6” pies; put one in the freezer)
1-2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped (wear an apron; don’t wear white)
Let cool on a rack 1 hour. Wrap one of these in foil and freeze.