Looks Good, Tastes Bad Cranberry Molasses Pie

Sure, it seemed like a good idea. But sometimes the most innocent of recipes can go wrong – horribly wrong.

My husband Dan is a cranberry hoarder. I know that’s kind of a weird thing to hoard, but if you open our freezer, or look in the vegetable bin of the fridge you will currently find five bags of cranberries. And it’s not just because the holidays are over and we over bought.

I try to not dwell on our cranberry supply, but recently I thought I might want to reduce it a bit. Looking through my vintage cook book selection I found a recipe that sounded really good – Cranberry Molasses Pie. The cook book is Brer Rabbit’s Modern Recipes for Modern Living. The book isn’t dated, but my guess is it’s from the 1940s.

The cook book was produced by the Brer Rabbit Molasses company.  Here’s an interesting blog that looks inside the cook book in a bit more detail.  I have to agree with them, that this could be a World War II era cook book since they talk about molasses as providing enough protein for your meatless meals.

I’ve hunted all over the internet trying to discover when the Brer Rabbit brand was introduced. No exact date is given, but it’s sometime around or right after World War I. The molasses was made by the Penick and Ford Company and was just one of their many brands. 

Molasses, of course, has been used in cooking for centuries. Food Time Line has a nice synopsis of the history of molasses and its use in America since Colonial times.  During World War II it was touted as a substitute for scarce sugar.

Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry Molasses Pie

  • 1 quart whole cranberries
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. Brer Rabbit Molasses

Combine all the ingredients and stir

Cook them slowly for 10 minutes on the stove     


Line a 9 inch pie plate with pastry

Fill the pie plate with the cooled cranberry mixture

Arrange lattice of pastry strips on top

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes

Decrease oven temperature to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes

The result – well it looked beautiful. But the taste was just disgusting! Way too much gooey molasses for even me, who loves the stuff.  So into the garbage it all went. Always difficult after spending all that time.       




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