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’m curious about if you think coconut sugar would work with this recipe or if it would ruin it. Thoughts? And thank you, I’m very excited to make this!
I think it would work fine in the crust, not sure how it would affect the flavor in the curd, Rebecca.
Got it- thanks so much!
Can you substitute something for the walnuts?
You can substitute other nuts, or just leave them out and add some extra crumbs.
Everyone should make this pie for Thanksgiving. I’ve made it for the last two years and everyone adores it! I plan on making two this year because it goes so quickly. Follow the recipe and it will turn out perfectly!
I see a lot of recipes where the curd is actually baked at 350 for 10 minutes so the curd sets and then it’s refrigerated. Can I do this for this curd?
I can’t say Rupal, I haven’t tried to do it that way, but I imagine you could cook the curd for 10 minutes, as long as your crust doesn’t get too browned.
I made this pie this weekend and it was easy and gorgeous! I think the flavor was better the next day when the tang of the cranberry had mellowed a bit. Will make again soon.
Thanks Mary, this is such a fun pie, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Made this for my first thanksgiving with my in-laws tonight (my wife and I have been together forever, but due to family issues they previously never did thanksgiving. This year we had a baby and everything changed. It was so beautiful and I was so proud. Then I learned I was the only one who likes cranberries! I’m making it again for Thursday!
Oh gosh, what a shame no one else was ‘enlightened’ about cranberries! I’m glad it made you proud, that’s the important thing. And you need to invite more cranberry lovers to your house next year 😉
I did a trial run for TG and made this yesterday – it’s delicious! I need to tweak a couple things I think. My curd didn’t completely form – it was all over the place after I cut a slice and the crust was extremely chewy! Also, I think 1/2 cup of lemon juice is too much as mine was really tart, but maybe I just added too many cranberries. Nonetheless, the flavor of the cranberry and ginger together is AMAZING!! I actually really liked the chewy crust but it was hard to cut. I am so excited to make this again and alter a couple things!! I think it will be a complete hit on TG! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
You’re so smart to do a trial run, and I hope it’s just perfect for you on the big day!
When you purée the cranberries, do you pour them into a food processor or blender?
I usually use a food processor, but the Vitamix or other high speed blender gets them incredibly smooth.
Do you think the crust would be doable with a blender rather than a food processor? I’m thinking it might be possible if done in short pulses…
Yes, and you can even crush everything by hand, I put the crackers in a zip lock baggie and crush with my rolling pin.
Thank you! I’m super excited to try this recipe!
Would this freeze/defrost well? I want to make it for Thanksgiving and wanted to make it a few days in advance since we will be travelling out of town. Thanks!
I haven’t frozen it so I’m sorry that I can’t say for sure, Melissa, but it should freeze ok