This Cranberry Pie with a gingersnap crumb crust and silky cranberry curd filling is guaranteed to bring a little va-va-voom to your holiday dessert table this year; the recipe is easy to follow and the result is show-stopping!
change it up this year with cranberry pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas
Of course tradition rules the holidays. We make Libby’s Pumpkin Pie every year, also Maple Frangipane Pecan Pie, without fail. But In our house it’s also a tradition that every year we try something new on our holiday menus…enter this amazing cranberry pie. (Oh boy, is this one going to wow you.) I’m gaga over cranberries this year, I can’t stop playing with them ~ they’re my winter equivalent of lemons and they just seem to wake everything up. It’s all about how many bags I can cram in my freezer (12 at last count.)
what is cranberry pie?
This easy cranberry pie recipe is a gingersnap crumb crust filled with a brilliant homemade cranberry curd.
But it’s the glorious flavors (and color!) that make it so special. For the crust I used 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. (These are the same cookies I used for the crust of my famous Lemon Crunch Bars, too) 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.
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!
as good as the gingersnap crust is, cranberry pie is all 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 secret to a silky cranberry curd pie filling
Curd recipes often call for slow cooking over a double boiler…I never bother with that and cook my curds either in the microwave, (have you tried my insanely Easy Microwave Citrus Curd?) or on the stove top.
- The secret to a perfect curd without all that fuss is medium heat
- constant stirring
- and a final straining to remove any lumps
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 would be great too.
how to make sugared cranberries the easy way
Let’s be frank, no one is going to eat your sugared cranberries, they’re just for decoration. So I sugar my cranberries the easy way, there’s no need for messy beaten egg whites or a boiled sugar syrup.
- I take damp cranberries and roll them in granulated sugar. The sugar sticks just fine.
- Let them dry and then place them on your pie. Try not to handle them too much.
tvfgi recommends: Nyåkers Swedish Gingersnaps
Nyåkers comes in the pretty decorated tin, which I always re-use to give holiday cookies or store ornaments, etc. (I can’t bear to throw it away.) These Swedish spice cookies have a cult following, and they make a great gift, just send them straight from Amazon. I send a tin to my Dad every year.
Cranberry Gingersnap Pie
- 9 inch pie plate
- blender or food processor
- 5 ounces gingersnaps
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp butter, melted
- 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp and cut in pieces
- sugared cranberries
- fresh thyme sprigs or mint leaves
- Set 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 if you like.
- Roll damp cranberries in granulated sugar and let dry.
- Any firm curd will work in this pie, so feel free to experiment.
- 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.
Questions and Reviews
Do you have thoughts on whether this could be topped with a meringue? Since the pie isn’t baked, perhaps a meringue topping could be baked separately, and then added on top of the filling once it goes in for the chilling?
Others have suggested this and I think it would be great, you could chill the pie, then add the meringue and run it under the broiler as usual to brown it.
Or one could put the meringue on the pie and use a culinary torch to brown it.
This should perhaps be obvious to me but when do you combine the cranberry puree to the curd? Is the egg/lemon added in with the cranberry for step 5 or combined when you’re adding butter?
That’s right at the start of step 5.
Can I make this a couple of days ahead of time? Just beautiful, the flavors sound great too!
You can make it ahead, but it may develop condensation on the surface, like all custard type pies.
I would love to make this pie for Christmas this year. My mother in aw is allergic to ginger. Would it work if I used a graham cracker crust instead?
I was wondering if you have any suggestions for using this recipe to make mini pies. Do you know about how many it might make, or what I should be watching for to make sure they are not over or under-baked? Thanks.
Sure, you can make this into minis. The pie itself doesn’t bake, so you’re good there. Just bake the crust for, maybe, 8 minutes or so. Just don’t let it get too brown.
I just made four crusts using the recipe in 13x13x4 cm foil pot pie pans. I haven’t made the curd yet, but I’ve made it before and I’m pretty sure there will be enough for the four. I baked the crusts for 12 minutes.
This looks so beautiful and delicious. I want to make it for Christmas this year but I am new to baking. Could I use honey as the sweetener in the curd? Would it set up correctly if I did?
I believe you can Myla, but I haven’t tried it. I would use 1 cup of honey.
Can this pie be frozen and used a few weeks later?
I have what feels like a very silly question. The store didn’t have 12 oz bags of cranberries…. But only 5 pound bags, so I’m getting confused with my math. The last time I tried to convert this size ratio, I did it with straight cup measurements (1.5 cups for 12 oz.) and I think I was very much lacking in the cranberry department. My filling was scant, to say the least. Do you have an estimate on dry cup size ratio versus the 12 ounces in the recipe?
I made this yummy dessert for Thanksgiving. It was scrumptious and a nice addition to our dessert selections. I made a double batch of cranberry curd and placed it in a 9 inch springform pan in lieu of a pie plate. 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!
This pie is very good and Tart! I actually added a tad more sugar to the curd, it was almost bitter before. And how beautiful is the color? Oh, and I like lime instead of lemon, so yea, maybe that added to the tartness….anyway….great new pie.