Cranberry Walnut Pie

by Andie Mitchell on September 16, 2010

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.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 16, 2010 at 11:53 am

I’m loving your photos. Did you get a new camera–or did you buy the sun and force it to sit directly out your window every day? :)


jen September 16, 2010 at 11:54 am

Hi Andrea!
We met at the HLS (in the photography class). I just posted my first installment of my recap of our trip to Seattle – if you’re interested. :)

I cannot wait to make this pie. I do not like pumpkin or pecan pie so this might be a Thanksgiving winner! It looks fantastic.

I’m looking forward to reading your blog.


Cindy September 16, 2010 at 11:55 am

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!


Erica September 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

The color of this pie is amazing! Thanksgiving worthy for sure.


Shanna, like Banana September 16, 2010 at 1:42 pm

This doesn’t look too hard to make at all! Usually your lovely creations intimidate me, but this is a Must.

And if you really taste that good if I bite you, you better stay away..haha!


biz319 September 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

That looks like heaven on a plate! :D


Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

The way you write about food makes it seem all the tastier!! Seriously, I know i’ve said it before but I LOVE how you write. This recipe looks awesome. Cannot wait to try it :D


Can You Stay for Dinner September 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Thank you Liz, how encouraging!!


homecookedem September 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Hey Andrea! Your pie looks wonderful!


Megan (Braise The Roof) September 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Oh, New England. I girl after my own heart. This pie looks wicked good. ;)


Margaret September 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm

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!


Can You Stay for Dinner September 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm

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!


Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) September 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Ohhh….so yummy! It looks so soft and fluffy. I absolutely love all things cranberries. :D


Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life September 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

The pie looks delish!


Cindy September 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

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!


Can You Stay for Dinner September 17, 2010 at 10:17 am

YAY!!! Isn’t it a bit life changing? It truly is my favorite fall pie and everyone who makes it falls in love with that special combination of flavors. I’m so so happy to hear it was a hit! Thanks, love!


Leah @ Why Deprive? September 17, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Oh my goodness!! This looks SO good!!
Im totally gonna bust this recipe out for my next family dinner. :)


Healthy Coconut September 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm

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.


Mary @ Bites and Bliss September 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

Ohh my goodness that sounds incredible!!


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine September 18, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Nantucket pie sounds like the perfect name for that. I hated cranberries as a kid too, and now I love them- so tart yet sweet! Perfect in a fall dessert :) And it’s such a pretty color too!


cozydelicious September 19, 2010 at 9:06 am

My mother-in-law makes this pie! Except she calls it her cranberry ‘pake’ – as in a cross between a pie and cake!


ahlterra March 3, 2011 at 11:04 pm

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.


Can You Stay for Dinner March 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Walnuts would work just fine! Especially with the almond extract!


Can You Stay for Dinner March 4, 2011 at 7:07 am

Sorry, I meant almonds!

On Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 11:16 PM, Andrea Mitchell wrote:

> Walnuts would work just fine! Especially with the almond extract! >


Tracy November 29, 2012 at 4:24 am

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!


Michelle November 29, 2012 at 5:53 am

Gotta try this one but with no nuts. My son is allergic :( Should still be tasty hopefully.


Mireille November 29, 2012 at 5:59 am

Yes! I was just imaging your cookbook because you have a way with words like Nigella Lawson. Know her? Anyway, you’re a brilliant writer!


Holly November 29, 2012 at 7:09 am

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 November 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

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 :)



Kathleen, Frugal Portland November 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

This looks incredible — do you think I can sub almond flour? I can’t eat regular flour, and I’m hosting a friends dinner party on Saturday. I’d love to include this.


Prak November 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm

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 November 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

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!



Sandy November 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm

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!


Kristi Porter November 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Would love to see you tackle a lighter version of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars!


Lenis February 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

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.


Susan P April 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

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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