Nantucket Pie with Fresh Cranberries
You are going to fall in love with this New England dessert for Christmas. Nantucket pie is a simple recipe made with only 7 ingredients. The fresh cranberries, pecans and sponge cake topping create an irresistible and festive holiday dish!
This recipe is close to my heart because after college I lived in Nantucket and worked at a bakery out in Siasconset. While the bakery did not serve Nantucket pie (it was only open during summer months), I was quite familiar with the dessert and the island’s cranberry bog off Milestone Road.
Whether you call it Nantucket pie or cranberry pie, this classic New England dessert is a must-try for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and spiced pecans, and you have a sure-fire hit on your hands! You won’t believe how easy it is to make too.
Why this recipe works
It is much simpler than any other pie (in fact, you could argue it’s more like a cake!) In 5 minutes you can have this dish ready to go in the oven. Just pour the batter on top of the berries and nuts then bake. Also, it’s crustless so you don’t have to worry about making homemade pie crust 😉
- Cranberries: Fresh cranberries are best and easy to find during the holiday season, but you can also use frozen cranberries if that is what you have! Let them defrost and discard juices.
- Nuts: Coarsely chop the pecans for this recipe. You can also use walnuts, which is what the Trader Joe’s version of this pie uses.
- Almond extract: My absolute favorite flavor! If it’s not your cup of tea, vanilla extract is a good substitution.
- Butter: I prefer to add the salt separately so I have more control over the final flavor. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly before using in the recipe.
This recipe is pretty straightforward, however you can play around with it a bit! Try walnuts instead of pecans (or a mix of both). If you don’t like almond extract, vanilla is a perfectly fine substitute. I think a little orange zest would be a nice complement to the pie if you decide to use vanilla extract.
If you want to invert the pie so the cranberries are on top, use a 9-inch springform pan and grease it well before adding the ingredients. After the pie has cooled for 15 minutes, run a knife along the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Place a plate on top and flip the cake over. Remove the bottom of the spring form pan and the cranberries will be on top!
How to make Nantucket pie
- Prepare filling: Place cranberries and pecans in a 9-inch pie plate. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar on top. Set aside.
- Make batter: Use an electric mixer to beat melted butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and almond extract, then stir in flour and salt by hand.
- Assemble: Pour batter over berries and nuts. Spread as evenly as you can (batter is thick).
- Bake pie at 350 F for 45 to 50 minutes. Let the pie cool slightly before slicing and serving warm with vanilla ice cream.
Remember to grease your pie plate or tart pan. The cranberries will bake and get juicy so you want to make sure they don’t stick too much to the pan.
Also, don’t over bake the pie. You want the cake to be soft and tender. A toothpick should have a few crumbs on it when inserted in the center of the pie towards the end of baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, after it has cooled completely, the pie may be frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before bringing to room temperature or reheating.
Unfortunately no, dried cranberries will not work for this dish.
It was likely over-baked. There should still be crumbs on a toothpick when it is inserted into the center of the pie. Check your oven temperature and recalibrate if necessary.
Up next try these festive recipes for the holidays!
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- 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and patted dry
- ¾ cup pecans or walnuts, measured, then roughly chopped
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ¾ cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond extract, or vanilla
- 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Vanilla ice cream for serving
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Grease a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan with butter. Place fresh cranberries into the pie plate in an even layer. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over the top, then sprinkle ½ cup sugar over the berries and nuts. Toss gently until cranberries are coated and set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, mix together the sugar and melted butter until sugar is absorbed. Add the eggs and almond extract, then mix just until combined. Scrape down the bottoms and sides of the bowl if necessary. Stir in flour and salt by hand mixing just until combined.
- Pour the batter over the filling ingredients. The batter will be a little thick, but try to spread it gently (it doesn’t have to cover all the berries and be perfect).
- Bake pie for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Let the pie cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Inspired by Laurie Colwin’s recipe published in Gourmet magazine.
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