As soon as the temps drop, most bakers start dreaming of seasonal treats. For many, that means pumpkin pie, and for others, it’s a classic apple pie. But here at our Test Kitchen, we think you can’t beat a tart and citrusy cranberry pie.
Cranberry pie is a must for fall baking. It’s the perfect time to pick up fresh, in-season cranberries, especially if you can source them locally. Plus, watching that irresistibly flaky butter pie pastry rise in the oven is the best on those cozy days when you just want to stay indoors. What really takes this pie to the next level is the finishing touch: whipped cream with a touch of orange zest. This pie is so delicious that it will have you saying, pumpkin pie who?
Cranberry Pie Ingredients
- Double-crust pie dough: Use a store-bought dough, or roll up your sleeves and make your own!
- Cranberries: You’ll need plenty of cranberries to make this recipe—more than 3 cups worth! You can use fresh or frozen.
- Oranges: Cranberry-orange is an iconic holiday flavor combination, and in this recipe we call upon fresh orange segments. The sweetness of the orange helps balance the tartness of the cranberries.
- Citrus zest: Get your Microplane grater ready! This recipe uses orange and lemon zest for color and zing.
Step 1: Make the cranberry filling
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Preheat the oven to 450°F. Toss together all the filling ingredients—cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest, sugar, orange segments, flour, butter and salt—in a large mixing bowl.
Editor’s Tip: In this recipe, you can use either fresh or frozen cranberries. If you’re using frozen, measure them before thawing.
Step 2: Roll out the pie crust
Before you roll out your crust, give your work surface and rolling pin a light dusting of flour to keep the dough from sticking.
Then, using the rolling pin of your choosing, start rolling out the dough into a round. Give the dough a quarter turn every so often, and roll until the crust is about 1/8 inch thick and big enough to set in a 9-inch pie pan with some excess pastry around the edge (you’ll want this for crimping).
Once the crust is rolled out to the right size, nestle it into the pie plate, and fill it with the cranberry mixture.
Editor’s Tip: Need help transferring your pie pastry into your dish? You can drape the crust over the rolling pin, then transfer it to the pan. It makes moving the dough a bit easier.
Step 3: Create the lattice top
To make the lattice, roll out your second disk of pie pastry. Like the first disk, you’ll want it to be a large round, about 1/8 inch thick. Then break out a ruler and either a pastry cutter or a pizza cutter. The pastry cutter will give you those pretty zig-zag edges, but a pizza slicer will work just fine. You can either cut all your strips to be the same width—somewhere around an inch works well—or you can cut half of the strips to be wide and the others to be thin and alternate them. It’s all personal preference.
To form the lattice, place half the strips going one direction across the pie. Then layer the rest going the other direction, and weave them over and under as you go. If your pastry strips break, don’t worry. They can easily be patched together with a few drops of water (or hidden underneath the weave).
When you’re satisfied with the lattice, trim the excess pastry around the edges. Then pinch the crust to seal and finish.
Step 4: Finish with egg wash and sugar
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Next, give the crust a quick egg wash. Whisk up an egg, and brush it over the top of the crust. For a finishing touch, sprinkle with sugar. Either granulated or sanding texture will work. That extra sprinkle will give the crust some extra crunch.
Step 5: Bake
Pop the pie into the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350º. Bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes, until the crust is perfectly golden, covering the pie edge loosely with aluminum foil during the final 15 minutes if needed to prevent overbrowning. Remove the pie from the oven. Remove the foil, and let the pie cool completely on a wire rack. Place the cooled pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Step 6: Make the orange cream
Making whipped cream is easy: Beat the whipping cream until it starts to thicken. Then add the orange zest, sugar and orange extract, and beat until soft peaks form. In just a few minutes, you’ll have the perfect topping to complement this pie.
Step 7: Slice and dollop
To serve, use a sharp paring knife to slice through the pie crust cleanly, then grab your pie server to pry the slices out carefully. Once plated, give each slice a dollop of orange whipped cream.
- Add a few spices: Want to amplify the flavors of this fall pie? You can add 1/2 teaspoon seasonal spices like ground cinnamon or ginger.
- Try almond extract: Almond and cranberry are a match made in heaven. Instead of flavoring your homemade whipped cream with orange extract and zest, try a splash of almond extract instead.
How to Store a Cranberry Pie
This pie isn’t made with excessive dairy or eggs (just a few pats of butter in the filling), so it can be stored at room temperature, best enjoyed within two days. You can also store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about three days.
You can also freeze a pie like this before you bake it. Wrap the unbaked pie tightly, and seal it in a resealable bag or an airtight container. Store in the freezer for up to two months. When you’re ready to bake, don’t defrost it. Just pop it right into the oven, and bake. It may require extra time to bake fully.
Cranberry Pie Tips
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Can you use store-bought pie crust to make cranberry pie?
You can absolutely use store-bought pie crust to make this cranberry pie recipe. It’ll cut down on prep time and will still yield delicious results. Check out our Test Kitchen pros’ favorite premade pie crusts.
How do I make a double-crust dough?
To make your own pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie, mix 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/2 tsp. salt; cut in 1 cup cold butter until crumbly. Gradually add 1/3 to 2/3 cup ice water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
Do you have to defrost frozen cranberries before using them?
Good news: No need to defrost cranberries before using them in this cranberry pie recipe. They can (and should) be measured and used while still chilled.
How do you keep pie crust from burning?
Bookmark this holiday baking tip: You can prevent the edges of your pie crust from overbrowning (or burning) by making a homemade pie crust shield from aluminum foil. This will allow the crust to bake fully while keeping it from charring.