Cranberry Walnut Pie

cranberry walnut pie

I’m from New England. That means that I’m slightly cynical, a little rushed, and if you bite me, I taste like fall.

For thirteen autumns, my mom has baked this pie. Officially, I think it’s “Nantucket Pie.” But because we’re so God blessed creative, we’ve always lovingly called it Cranberry Walnut Pie.

The first fall that mom pulled it from the oven, my brother and I shrugged, told her we were “sorry, but just too full to try it”, and ran to the store for school supplies. (Ring Dings.)

cranberry walnut pie

Truth is, I don’t think either of us had much contact with cranberries. In fact, the only ones I considered worthwhile were jellied in a can. Certainly there was no place for tart berries in baking. There’s chocolate to be had.

cranberry walnut pie

Maybe it was desperation. Maybe that damn Irish guilt. Or that 7/11 was out of Ring Dings. Whatever the reason, we set our better judgment aside and sliced a wedge of pie from the still-hot dish. Mom smiled.

I blacked out for the rest of that night.

cranberry walnut pie

Came to in a sweat with dry mouth and only the faintest memories of euphoria.

Something about cranberries and walnuts and buttery cake and me and mom and the oldest brother from Hansen…and…

It was all too much.

Rich, custard-like flavor, similar to the buttery notes of a well made shortbread. It’s simple yet absolutely stunning in jewel-toned color and crumb. Though considered a pie, it’s more of a moist cake in consistency. Which could explain a lot of the reason why I adore it. The highlight, though, and the real deal sealer, is the addition of almond extract. It makes for the most delicate tip toe between almond macaroon and amaretto.

And then there’s the underbelly of this honey hued cake layer…the tart-sweet pucker of fresh cranberries…the crunch of tanned and toasted walnuts.

Cranberry Walnut Pie was and still is my favorite fall pie. The one pie in the world that I’d save on Thanksgiving, if God forced me to sacrifice the rest of the desserts for the better of all mankind. God, please don’t ever do that. The one I’d leave Daniel for if pressed to choose. Daniel, thanks for the memories.

It’s also the pie that is most beloved and requested each year at Thanksgiving by family, friends, and kindly workers at the post office. I personally like to bake for people who facilitate me receiving presents. A story for another day.

But don’t just take my word for it. Bake it and call me when you awaken from your own black out. I’ll be there with a cold washcloth and black coffee.

Cranberry Walnut Pie

(makes 1, 10″ pie)

  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped (I use a bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries)
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp almond extract (This is an absolute must in the recipe, do not skip it)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter the bottom and up the sides of a 10” pie plate.
  2. Spread the chopped cranberries and walnuts over the bottom of the pie plate. Sprinkle the mixture with ¼ cup of sugar.
  3. Whisk the  flour, salt, and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Beat in melted butter. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth. Stir in the almond extract. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour batter on top of the cranberry/walnut mixture and bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is puffed and just beginning to turn a golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Comments

  1. says

    Your story kills me! I love your stories wrapped around your AMAZING recipes. It’s like food for the soul and for the belly too!

    and now I am making this. I absolutely have everything and it will end my sort of painfull week off perfectly.

    Fall is here and I have been aching to embrace it completely.

    I think I will just have this for dinner. Why the hell not, It’s Thrusday!
    xo

  2. Margaret says

    I don’t really like pie (don’t judge, I know it’s weird..), but next time I see cranberries in the grocery store, I will be making this pie! This.Looks.Amazing!
    Your blog is great!! One of my favorites!

    • says

      Thanks, Margaret! It’s really really kind of you to read and say such nice things. I would never think it odd that you don’t like pies, I would only dislike it if you didn’t like desserts. That’s a whole other problem. But really, this is almondy buttery and scrumptious. I hope you make it someday!

  3. says

    ANDREA…I had to come back and tell yoiu I made your cranberry walnut pie last night, and my husband bout fell out of his chair! He broke into it before I came down from getting the baby ready for bed.
    The whole family loved it and this recipe is going to be a family favorite. PERFECT for the holidays too!

    Thanks for sharing your amazing pie recipe with us!
    xo

  4. says

    This pie is so colorful and appetizing. I think I eat with my eyes and attracted to food with plenty of colors.

    I think that making pies are hard but I’ve never tried it so I shouldn’t say it’s hard without making it first.

  5. says

    I’m allergic to walnuts, but I’m wondering if almonds might be a suitable replacement? Probably, right? I mean it’s not going to be the traditional pie, but at least it won’t make me go to the hospital.

  6. Tracy says

    I don’t know what I want more……a big bowl of that warm pie or for you to take up writing books. You have such a natural way of grasping my attention and making me want to read (and try everything you cook) more!
    Thank you for that!

  7. Holly says

    I’m bringing this pie to our Christmas gathering. Could I pass it off as a sort of coffee cake to have with coffee for Christmas morning?

    • admin says

      Hey Holly,

      Yes, I think it could work as a breakfast cake/bread. It’s not super duper sweet, and it does have a dense, hearty texture that’d be perfect for non-dessert eating :)

      Andie

  8. Prak says

    Hi,
    The recipe calls for 1 1/4 cups of sugar, but the instructions only call for using 1/4 of it to sprinkle on top of the cranberries + walnuts. Is the rest to be mixed in with the flour + salt, or am I missing something. Thanks!

    • admin says

      Hi Prak,
      Sorry, my mistake in writing the recipe- edited now! You add the remaining 1 cup of sugar to the flour mixture. See instructions above. Thanks for pointing it out!

      Andie

  9. Sandy says

    Now I know why I don’t make many desserts. This looked so easy, but not for me! What is an efficient way to chop cranberries that roll all over the place?! Also, my batter did not pour. It was pretty thick. What did I do wrong? Nonetheless, it’s smelling good in the oven!

  10. Lenis says

    Its in the oven right now!! But i did it with almonds instead i dont really love walnuts and noticed someone had asked about swapping for almonds it smells DELICIOUS! Getting together with some friends tomorrow will probably make another one to take.

  11. Susan P says

    I just popped this in the oven and I’m concerned because the cake mixture was not “pourable” but like a brownie batter. I’m hoping it turns out! Will let you know.

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