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
I am thinking of making this beautiful pie for Thanksgiving this year…can it be made a day or two ahead of time?
I think so, you would wrap it loosely and carefully in plastic wrap, and don’t add the sugared cranberries until the day of.
Just made this pie and it was a joy to make. I learned alot. The recipe was well written. I’m adding this to my repertoire. Also, it’s gorgeous.
Oh thank you so much Kimberly, I’m gearing up for fall and winter pie season and this is one of my faves. I’m especially happy that the recipe was easy to follow, that’s the whole game here!
I did notice. Pink grapefruit are on my grocery list. I’m inviting neighbors over for what I think will be a delicious surprise! ?
This was a big hit at Christmas! Even those who were not fans of the cranberry had to try it because it was so beautiful! They loved it. I will make it a Christmas tradition. It is not difficult to make, it is stunning on the dessert table and is beyond delicious. Thank you, Sue, for a great recipe!
I’m thrilled Deb, there’s really no higher compliment than that this pie will become part of a holiday tradition, thanks for letting me know 🙂
PS don’t know if you noticed but I’ve since adapted this recipe for pink grapefruit and it came out wonderfully: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/grapefruit-gingersnap-pie-recipe/
This pie is so beautiful! The crust smelled amazing when it came out of the oven and I couldn’t stop licking the curd off the spoon. Mine is chilling in the fridge, where it will remain for two days until Christmas (unfortunately I just need to put it together ahead of time and risk it). Have not made the sugared cranberries yet but will do that soon!
I’m so glad to hear this Carrie, nothing makes me happier than to hear that someone is getting joy from one of my recipes! Every single time I make curd of any sort I spend an hour licking every pan and utensil!!
This was beautiful and delicious! The only issue I had was that the sugar would not stick to the cranberries for garnish. I’m making 2 more this weekend, and I’m short on time, so I was thinking of using pre- made Graham cracker crust. I’m not a big crust person, so doubt I’ll notice a difference, but for crust connoisseurs, is the substitute going to detract from the taste?
If you need to use the pre-made crust, I’m sure it will be fine, don’t stress about it. Crust connoisseurs might notice, but not regular peeps 😉 And as for the cranberries, you can also beat an egg white, dunk the cranberries in it, and then into the sugar.
Sue, I made the pie per instructions and even left chilling more than 4 hours. When I cut the pie, the curd was not firm. On the individual pieces it was running off to the sides. Not sure what I did wrong but I have an idea. Your recipe says to purée. How did you purée the cranberries? I used a blender with a purée function and I wonder if it became too smooth by using this method.
I’m not sure what went wrong, Kristina. The texture of the pie isn’t super firm, but it does hold together. I assume you cooked the cranberries until the mixture was thick? Cranberries have a ton of natural pectin, so that helps keep the curd nice and solid.
Hi!! So excited to try this pie! Currently making it but I do not have a mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Do I have to strain it? If so do you know any household items that might work?
No, I didn’t strain mine, but I used a good strong blender, my Vitamix. I can’t think of anything else you could use in this case if you don’t have cheesecloth or a strainer, so just go with it as is.
I made this pie today and it was beautiful and tasted amazing and everyone loved it. I did not have a mesh strainer either so I put it through a food mill and it worked perfectly. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!
You’re so welcome Stephanie 🙂
I made the curd and crust but made a cheesecake up put in between (baking as I type this). Crossing my fingers for a good result! The curd by itself is so good!
I love your creativity, please let me know how it goes ~ and have a wonderful holiday today Laura.
I also don’t have a mesh strainer so we used a flat splatter guard mesh thing and it worked just fine. It’s lovely without the chewy bits in it!
Perfect! That was an ingenious idea :))
By the way, this was a huge hit at this year’s Thanksgiving! It’s presence has already been requested for next year! I thought that I was making it for everyone else, because I actually don’t like gingersnap cookies. I was totally wrong. That mix of walnuts and cookies is the perfect amount to make a sweet flavorful crust that’s not tangy or too spicy. And it makes the cranberry curd sing! Thank you so much for posting this!
You’re so welcome Jen, I love that this pie is now a part of your Thanksgiving tradition 🙂
Hi, Sue! Beautiful recipe! I’m really excited to make this for Thanksgiving this week. I do have a question, however. Do you think pecans would be a good swap for the walnuts? My boyfriend does not care for them and I’m curious if pecans are a good substitute. Is the walnut flavor very prominent or is it just complimentary to the gingersnaps? Thank you!
Yes, I think they’d be fine, Stephanie, go for it! The nut flavor is just in the background, and contributes to texture, so another nut is going to work as well. Have a wonderful holiday 🙂
I have family with nut allergies. Would I need to do anything differently if I omit the nuts?
Use about 1 1/2 cups crumbs, and 6 Tbsp melted butter to moisten them. It will be like a classic crumb crust.
Sue, my sister and I are making this pie for the first time for Thanksgiving. We are a little confused, lol. Are you saying 1 heaping cup of the CRUSHED ginger snaps and 1 heaping cup of finely chopped walnuts?
Hi Betty ~ you’ll need 5 ounces of gingersnaps, which, when crushed, will be a heaping cup. Then you’ll add a cup of walnuts to the processor. Is that clear? I know recipes can be confusing sometimes.
Thanks Sue. Yes, I did one heaping crushed ginger snaps and one heaping cup of finely chopped nuts, added the brown sugar and melted butter. Patted into the pie plate and waa laa – – – it’s in the oven. 🙂