The BEST pies MUST start with the BEST crust, one that is tender and flaky as well as flavorful!  One of my keys to that crust is VODKA! It adds the moisture when you need it, but then evaporates during baking leaving a tender flaky crust in its wake.


PIE CRUST (makes 2 9 inch pie crusts)
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon FINE sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons REALLY COLD** unsalted butter, cut into cubes
6 tablespoons REALLY COLD** Crisco stick**, cut into cubes
6-8 tablespoons Vodka

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
  • Using a pastry blender cut in butter and Crisco until mixture is crumbly.
  • Using a fork add Vodka 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture comes together to form a ball.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a ball.
  • Form into 2 disks and wrap in saran.
  • Refrigerate at least an hour.
  • When ready to bake, roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to size and transfer to pie plate.
  • Trim crust and flute edge.
  • Refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Line pie crust with a double layer of foil and fill with beans or pie weights. DO NOT PRICK THE PIE SHELL!
  • Bake on lower rack 15-20 minutes until edges are a light golden brown.
  • Remove weights and foil and bake 5 minutes more.
  • Cool COMPLETELY on wire rack.
  • Reduce heat to 325°.

3 1/2 cups FRESH cranberries
1/2 cup chopped cherry pieces
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 LARGE eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla

  • In a large sauce pan combine, cranberries, cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, orange juice and water. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer, stir occasionally and cook uncovered 7-10 minutes until cranberries have all popped.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, flour and salt until well blended.
  • Gradually whisk in about 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture to temper the eggs.
  • Add back to the cranberry mixture and return to a low heat stirring constantly until a gentle boil. Cook a few minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Cool while preparing the meringue.

4 LARGE egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1/2 cup sugar

  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until foamy.
  • Add the remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time beating on high until sugar is dissolved.
  • Beat until you have stiff glossy peaks.
  • Pour warm filling into pie crust.
  • Spread meringue over filling sealing the edges to the pastry.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until meringue is golden brown
  • COOL COMPLETELY on wire rack for 1 hour.
  • Refrigerate and CHILL at least 4 hours before serving.


  • Cranberries will pop on their own, but if they need a little help, use the back of a spoon and pop them against the side of the pan.
  • After I cut the butter and Crisco into cubes I place them on a small plate in my ice tray until I need them.
  • You can use frozen cranberries and cherries, but be sure to thaw completely and drain well.
  • Pineapple juice can easily be substituted for the orange juice.
  • For BEST results chill beaters and metal mixing bowl in freezer for making the meringue.