“I took this cranberry pie to a potluck at work and it was a HUGE hit! The recipe is foolproof; I followed your instructions exactly and my curd set up beautifully. And multiple colleagues (many of whom are accomplished bakers) asked me for the recipe!” ~KATIE
cranberry pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas
Of course tradition rules the holidays. We make Pumpkin Pie every year, Pecan Pie too. Always my famous Green Bean Casserole from scratch, and I wouldn’t dream of skipping my Butternut Squash Casserole, not gonna happen. But in our house we challenge ourselves to cook up something new every year. It keeps the holidays from being predictable and boring… enter this amazing cranberry pie. Whatever else you make this holiday season, this is going to be the memory maker!
I’m gaga over cranberries this year, it’s all about how many bags I can cram in my freezer (12 at last count.) You’ll need one bag for your cranberry pie, but be sure to grab extra so you can cook along with me.
cranberry pie table of contents
- cranberry pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas
- what is a cranberry pie?
- cranberry pie ingredients
- gingersnap crumb crust
- But what about that glossy cranberry curd!
- the secrets to a silky cranberry pie filling
- how to garnish a cranberry pie
- the easy way to make sugared cranberries
- cranberry pie faqs
- more fabulous cranberry recipes for the holidays
what is a cranberry pie?
This easy cranberry pie recipe is basically a vibrant homemade cranberry curd filling inside an easy gingersnap crumb crust. The flavors are festive and the colors are eye-popping. It really commands attention on that all too often bland holiday table and you can be pretty much guaranteed your friends and family won’t have had it before.
cranberry pie ingredients
- gingersnap cookies
- any brand of gingersnaps will work.
- walnuts or pecans
- brown sugar
- fresh cranberries,
- frozen cranberries will work just as well.
- lemon juice
gingersnap crumb crust
What makes this crust stand out from the rest, apart from the spicy gingersnaps, is that it has an equal amount of walnuts processed right along with the cookies — so good!
I use my absolute favorite gingersnaps ~ Nyåkers ~ they come in a beautiful tin from Sweden, they’re super thin and crisp, and the flavor is bright and peppery. I love them so much I made a Nyakers Gingersnap Cake! These are the same cookies I used for the crust of my Lemon Cheesecake and my famous Lemon Crunch Bars, too, and would you believe they’re an ingredient in authentic German pot roast?? These gingersnaps in the pretty tin make a great gift if you can keep from eating the cookies first (we never can.) But don’t worry if you don’t have them, any gingersnap cookie will work.
But what about that glossy cranberry curd!
The curd filling for cranberry pie starts with tart fresh pureed cranberries that are mixed with eggs, extra yolks, sugar and lemon juice, and cooked until thick. You might recall I have a Microwave Cranberry Curd recipe on the blog, and that would work, too. The microwave recipe produces a fluffier, lighter curd, and either will be fantastic.
After the curd is cooked, and while it’s still warm, I whisk in some room temperature butter which helps to make it extra glossy. Don’t you just want to dive right in??
the secrets to a silky cranberry pie filling
Making fruit curds is often intimidating, even for experienced cooks, but it’s really not difficult at all. Fruit curd is a thick, smooth, and creamy spread or sauce made from fruit juice, zest, sugar, eggs, and butter. It is cooked gently until thickened, creating a luscious consistency. For this recipe we’re using pureed cranberries to make a thicker, sliceable curd filling for our cranberry pie.
- Have patience and cook your curd over medium heat.
- Don’t stop stirring!
- I swear by my silicone whisk and silicone spoonula for flawless curd making ~ they scrape every inch of the pan for even lump free thickening.
- Take your curd off the heat when you see it start to bubble.
- Always give your curd a final strain through a fine mesh sieve, it makes such a difference!
how to garnish a cranberry pie
I garnish this pie with sugared cranberries for a festive look. I used thyme for a touch of green contrast, but small mint leaves or even rosemary would be great too.
the easy way to make sugared cranberries
I sugar my cranberries the easy way, there’s no need for messy beaten egg whites or a boiled sugar syrup ~ why make extra work for yourself?
- Rinse fresh cranberries.
- Ross the damp cranberries in granulated sugar.
- Let them dry before touching or moving them.
- Then carefully place them on your pie. Try not to handle them too much. If some of the sugar doesn’t adhere in places, that’s fine, don’t stress.
cranberry pie faqs
Yes, but they do add nice flavor. You can, of course, use a different nut like pecans. If you have to leave nuts out, compensate with more crumbs.
Certainly! While gingersnap crumb crust pairs so well with cranberry, you can experiment with graham crackers or vanilla wafers. Even a chocolate wafer might be an interesting choice!
Great question ~ you could substitute orange juice for the lemon juice, and garnish with orange zest.
Absolutely! You can prepare the gingersnap crumb crust in advance and store it in the refrigerator for a day or two before assembling the pie. This can save time when you’re ready to bake.
This pie is best the day it’s made, but yes, you can make it up to a day in advance. Let it cool completely and then store it in the refrigerator. Be aware that the crust will loose its texture if you make the pie too far in advance.
Yes, they’ll work fine, no need to thaw them.
Parbaking ensures that the crust has the right texture. It allows the crumbs to meld together and form a cohesive base. If you don’t parbake, the crust might remain too loose and crumbly, making it difficult to cut and serve.
That’s a great question and I do think cranberries differ in their level of tartness. You may not have needed all the lemon juice, or your filling may have benefitted from a bit more sugar. One tip is to taste the cranberries while they’re cooking and add a bit more sugar then. Or, if it tastes tart, omit the lemon juice later.
Think of it like pumpkin pie, and serve with either sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Comment Highlights ~ click to read
This pie is so beautiful and tasty…the tart, tangy, and sweet, and texture all meld together beautifully. Whip up some fresh whipping cream with orange zest before serving and you have a world-class dessert! Wish we could upload photos! ~HAPPY
This is my new favorite dessert, I just loved the texture and the tart flavor! ~DANIELLE
VA-VA VOOM is right.. That is SO BEAUTIFUL!! It has every element of YUM for me! OMG! ~ASHLEY
I have to say, this is an incredible pie. It’s my favorite now, and it was such a hit on Thanksgiving, that I now get requests to make this for birthdays! ~S.
I followed recipe as written, came together perfectly, and everyone loved it! ~CLEMENTINE
This pie is a fantastic palate cleanser. If you like key lime pie, you’ll love this. ~BRYAN
I made this for Thanksgiving and amazed everI never ever leave comments, but this pie is sooooooooo good. I can not get over that cranberry curd. It is pure heaven, and looks stunning! ~SYLVIE
It looked lovely elevated on a pedestal dish and was the star of the dessert table. It’s sure to be a reoccurring addition every Thanksgiving! ~JEANNE
I’ve made this several times for my husband’s winter solstice birthday. We love everything about this pie! ~CUSS
Everyone voted it the best dessert on the Christmas table which included my chiffon pumpkin cheesecake! This will definitely be a regular for my holiday baking! Thank you so much for having the best blog ever! ~DARLENE
Love, love, love this recipe. It’s a showstopper on the dessert table. The brightness and color really pop. Trader Joe’s has amazing, really thin ginger snaps that work perfect for the crust. Will make it again for Christmas. Thank you for this! ~HEIDE
Cranberry Gingersnap Pie
- 9 inch pie plate
- blender or food processor
- sugared cranberries
- fresh thyme sprigs or mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.
- Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. (this should be a heaping cup) Add the walnuts, and sugar and process again until everything is finely ground. Add the butter and process briefly to combine.
- Pat the crust into your pie plate, and up the sides. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Put the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Lower the heat and simmer the cranberries, uncovered, for about 15 minutes until they’ve popped and the mixture is quite thick. Let cool slightly and then puree until completely smooth.
- Whisk the puree, the eggs, yolks, salt, lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar together in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, this will take about 10 minutes or so. Stay by the pan the whole time and stir! Note: let the mixture just come up to a bubble, and then remove from heat.
- Push the curd through a mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to get it all through.
- Let the curd cool for a few minutes and then drop the room temperature butter in, bit by bit, while you stir to melt it.
- Pour the curd into the pie crust and smooth out evenly. Chill the pie until it is firm, about 2 hours or so.
- Decorate with sugared cranberries and sprigs of thyme or mint leaves if you like.
- Roll damp cranberries in granulated sugar and let dry.
- Use graham crackers or plain chocolate wafters in place of the gingersnaps for the crust.
- Leave out the walnuts for a nut free crust, just add more crumbs to compensate.
more fabulous cranberry recipes for the holidays
- Fresh Cranberry Muffins
- Cranberry Pumpkin Cornbread
- The BEST Cranberry Orange Bread
- Cranberry Orange Shortbread Cookies
- Maple Cranberry Butter in 15 minutes!
- Easy Mulled Cranberry Jelly